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Photo of man on bike with oranges

Girona is about 250 miles north of Valencia, and Valencia is, of course, the Land of Orange. So is Girona, given the proximity.

It’s May, and Valencias are in season (they’re the only orange that ripens in the summer). Orange trees abound here, but so does the fruit itself. Every market, no matter how small, has a display of oranges out front. We see people on bicycles everywhere with bags of them in baskets.

orange_logoHere in Spain, the largest cell-phone carrier isn’t Verizon or AT&T. It’s Orange.


Our very own electric juicer.

But the best part is the eating. Grab an orange, slice it into “smiles,” and let it explode in your mouth. Better yet, juice it. We’ve stayed in many furnished apartments, but this is the first one that came equipped with an electric juicer. All restaurants here have them too: lob oranges into the basket on top, NBA-style, and  press a button. Juice comes out one side; peels come out the other.

Valencias were hybridized (not originally in Valencia, but in California) for juicing. Nothing else comes close. Picked in the heat of the day, fresh and warm from a juicer, Valencia orange juice is as indulgent as skinny dipping and better for you.

marmaladeAnd then there’s marmalade. There are scores of brands in every store. Bakeries slather pastries with it. Most of it around here is the product of micro-manufacturing: jars with gingham seals and hand-printed labels. I haven’t seen the word “Smuckers” since we arrived. We bought a jar of marmalade the day after we moved to Spain and I spread it on toast (fresh from the bakery — another indulgence) every morning.


Orange tree outside Josep Trueta Hospital in Girona.

So yes, I’m a junkie. Marmalade and juice in the morning. Smiles all day. An occasional screwdriver in the evening. Oranges look good in the tree or in a basket, and taste good no matter what’s done with them or when.

This is The Land of Orange. I’m Tom and I’m an addict. Commit me if it’s deserved, but don’t lock me up without a bag of oranges. Valencias, please.

(Photo credit marmalade: Wikimedia Commons)