February 14, 2010

Spanish valentines

My first view of Seville's Plaza de Espana was in the pages of a 1980s National Geographic. I was so stunned by the beauty of this semi-circular space built for the 1929 Spanish-American Exposition that I put it on my target list of places to see in the world.

It lived up to its magazine image and is one of the most gorgeous public spaces I've ever seen. I loved it.

Lovers love it, too. Beneath the elegant buildings that stand over the sun-splashed plaza, lazy moat with rented boats, strolling families, teenage skateboarders, and bridges with porcelain balustrades, sits an arc of tiled alcoves, one for each of Spain's provinces.

When I visited, couples occupied many of the alcoves. They sat shoulder to shoulder in the ornately tiled, boldly colored alcoves and looked out at the plaza or into each others' eyes.