Tropical Fruit Farm in La Herradura
Our first stop of the day was a lovely tropical fruit farm in a small town on Spain’s tropical coast called La Herradura. It was beautifully nested on a hillside in front of the gorgeous mountains that are common in this region. We met the farmer and her GORGEOUS dog who showed us around her family’s property. She grew everything from the surprisingly delicious chirimoya to avocados to kumquats to star fruits to dragon fruit to mango to bananas. We talked about different types of avocados (fun fact: there is a smaller circular variety nicknamed “testicles” that are known to be a great aphrodisiac), growing seasons, how they pollinate (or don’t pollinate) each plant respectively, and which ones are the most expensive. After a walk in her trees, we went up to a beautiful patio for the tasting! The BEST part by far. We each had a lovely spread of the aforementioned fruits on our plates paired with a glass of a mix of chirimoya and lemon juice. It was so cool to learn about such a niche climate and the amazing fruits that grow there!
The Caves of Nerja
In my life, I’ve seen a lot of caves. I’ve even worked in one! This cave system was by far the most beautiful that I have visited yet. There are three parts to this system: the part for events and guided tours, the high galleries that require harnessed climbing, and the caves specifically designated for scientific research—all nearly equal in size. We were just in the parts for tours and special events (like concerts and dance performances!), but it was absolutely beautiful. If the caves weren’t dirty from being inhabited, all of the rock inside would be translucent marble, too. It was covered in huge stalactites and stalagmites and had the world’s largest combination of the two—called a column—in the world. We learned a lot, pointed out weird faces and shapes in the rock, and got to hear my friend Bethany sing!
After the caves, we went to the most popular beach in Nerja! We first ate all the paella we could at the famous beach restaurant called “El Chiringuito Ayo” or “Casa Ayo.” It was absolutely amazing, full of delicious flavors, and topped with my favorite: a huge chunk of lemon! Then, with our paella-stuffed bellies, we headed to sunbathe. This beach actually permits topless patrons so my friends and I decided to try it out! Obviously it was a little uncomfortable, but I’ve found that I learn so much abroad when I take myself out of my comfort zone. We saw so many other women doing it and eventually felt abnormally comfortable in our own skin. After we wrapped up at the beach, we headed off to the “Balcony of Europe.” It’s a great lookout right on the ocean. On extremely clear days, it’s possible to see Africa, specifically Morocco, from there! It was a bit foggy, so we couldn’t see much. Seeing as we’ve already been to Morocco itself and that I had a giant 6 euro ice cream cone paid for by school, I wasn’t too bothered. What a fun trip to start off finals season with Arcadia!