If you want to make sure that you and your Significant Other have a suitably romantic time in Seville on Valentine’s Day, here are a few ideas.
It’s ccccc-cold here at the moment – yes, I know it’s southern Spain, and yes, it is sunny, but the air temperature is a tad chilly. What a great excuse to nip back to your hotel room, crank up the heating and have a sneaky…. siesta. A bed in a toasty-warm room, bathed in sunshine – perfect.
If you need a last-minute hotel tip, the Alcoba del Rey is a Moorish-style place, with four-poster beds, rich colours and an Arabian feel. The location’s nothing special, but the interiors will sweep you away to another time and place… And if the bed creates especially meaningful memories, you can take it home; all their furniture, mostly handmade in Morocco, is for sale.
Take your love to a private spot, such as this Mudejar tower-in-a-tower at the 14th-century La Cartuja monastery. You’re almost guaranteed not to be interrupted, let alone seen, as it’s way off the beaten tourist track. (Even with the Ai Weiwei exhibition on, the tower is hidden away in the garden and unlikely to be spotted.)
It has wonderful views over the river and city from the horseshoe-shaped arches with their swishy beaded curtains, an art installation left after a contemporary art festival some years ago.
You can also get great views from an Expo 92 tower on the river, next to the recently reopened Pabellon de Navegacion. Nothing much to look at, but once you’re 65 metres up, you have the whole city spread out beneath you – La Cartuja, the river and the old city. Come in the evening for the soft glow of sunset. Other places with great views, though much busier, are the Setas and of course the Giralda.
For a more historic vibe, Barrio Santa Cruz has lots of spots for lovers, with its maze of narrow, cobbled alleys, secret, hidden squares and flower-filled patios. The Romeo and Juliet balcony in Plaza Alfaro inspired the Bard, according to some – a nice story, but unlikely.
Then there are Maria de Padilla’s baths under the Alcazar palace. She was Pedro the Cruel’s mistress: passionate, secret, illicit love – perfect.
In the Parque Maria Luisa, you’ll find the Glorieta de Becquer, a statue dedicated to the 19th-century romantic poet who was born here in Seville. The three swooning ladies, posed so dramatically, are el amor ilusionado (hopeful love), el amor poseído (possessed love) and el amor perdido (lost love). Round the corner are el amor herido (wounded love) and el amor que hiere (love which wounds), but I’d stick with the first two if I were you.
If the mood takes you, here are some of Becquer’s verses you could recount to your love in this poetic spot, just so to make sure (s)he fully appreciates the strength of your feelings:
“Volveran del amor en tus oidos las palabras ardientes a sonar;
tu corazón, de su profundo sueño tal vez despertará:
pero mudo y absorto y de rodillas, como se adora a Dios ante su altar, como yo te he querido… desengáñate: ¡asi no te querrán!”
“Burning words of love will sound once more in you ears;
perhaps your heart will wake from its deep sleep:
but silent, absorbed and on their knees, as men worship God before his altar,
as I have loved you… don’t fool yourself: they will not love you like that!”
And finally, back to present day: the padlocks. As in other cities around the world, couples put padlocks onto the Triana Bridge to symbolise the force of their love.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Juanlu and Aroa!