Orange County, Spain

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While walking around in Cordoba, Seville and other small towns and villages, if there was an abundance of one thing it was oranges. Every street, alley, pathway and every courtyard or square had orange trees — hundreds and thousands of them. It was as if no other tree existed in these towns, and there was plentiful.

Orange trees are in full bloom during the winter, and everywhere we went in Andalusia, trees were replete with large healthy oranges. An amazing sight to participate in. You could just sit in a square in any of these cities and just admire the trees in the abundant sunshine and the Mediterranean feel that came with it.

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The one thing that bugged us was that no one, not a single human or animal, was plucking off one of those juicy, freely visible, and abundantly available oranges and taking a quick snack. From last afternoon till this morning, we hadn’t seen one person do it.

Either the fines were strict, or people were extremely self-disciplined, or both. We had to try one of these — one orange in thousands wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything.

So when an alley was empty, we quickly plucked one low hanging fruit. We quickly peeled it open before anyone could see, and popped in a slice each.

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And instantly threw it out. It was incredibly sour and bitter. It wasn’t the fines or the self discipline — the obvious never occurred to us — they were inedible. Nature’s fine for stealing one.

We read up later that Andalusian (and Seville) Oranges are a prime export of Spain for the manufacture of orange marmalade, and Spain supplies almost 12,000 tons of oranges each year to Britain for this purpose.