Right now almond trees are blossoming in many parts of Spain, an aesthetic experience of large proportions for those who have the opportunity to take a trip to the countryside.
In southern Spain the first almond trees begin blooming in late December. How long they bloom largely depends on the weather. On the Costa del Sol the flowering is already beginning to decline in lower and coastal areas.
We went to take some pictures, and had to travel up a bit in the mountains to get good pictures. We went to Guaro Valle del Guadalhorce which is known for almond and olive groves. The city lies 354 meters above sea level and the height is perfect right now to find flowering almond trees in these areas. Later in the spring, you should go higher up if you want to find almond flowers and in April the blooming is finished.
The almonds are ready to harvest 7-8 months after flowering and we have a tradition of picking an almond annually for our Christmas porridge.
For those who are considering an almond for their Christmas porridge, it may be helpful to know that there are two types of almonds and sometimes on the same tree. The widely grown is sweet almonds, but there are also bitter almonds used in small doses in some pastries. They taste completely different, while in appearance they are completely equal.
Bitter almonds are poisonous and 8-10 bitter almonds can be lethal dose for a child. Many almond farmers pode branches of bitter almonds to the bottom of the tree, to prevent goats from grazing on the tree. Almond Trees have brittle branches thus climbing goats would damage the trees, but they do not like bitter almonds and will leave tree alone.
All photos are taken by the road that runs between Guaro and Coin (A-7100), only a few kilometers outside Guaro. Click on the pictures to see them in larger format (opens in a new window).
For those who are interested in beauty that exists only a small distance from the coast, there are some more pictures to look at here.