Sunday, 2 March 2014

Plaza de España y Parque de María Luisa

This, my friends, is the Plaza de España (Spanish Square) - isn't she a beaut! After a week of dreary,grey skies and showers, we were gifted this blue sky Sunday. And what better way to spend it than a stroll in the park? Located in Parque de María Luisa, the Plaza de España was built for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929, when the countries of Latin America and Spain joined forces to celebrate what it meant to be Hispanic.

The Plaza itself is not actually square at all! The buildings form a semi-circle around a great paved expanse with a fountain in the middle, framed by this beautiful artificial river. The curved building is said at its simplest to echo the bullring, an iconic symbol of Spanish culture. At its most complex, the semi-circle is meant to represent an embrace - Spain giving the Americas a hug of eternal friendship *cute*!
 You'll find many an amateur row-boater out on the river! At only 5€ for 35 minutes, I'm sure you'll find me in there re-enacting that classic Bridget Jones scene, at a later date. If you want to take the muscle power out of the romantic gesture, motor boats are also available for 11€, though the ladies will be much more impressed by your oared labour of love (trust me!).
Coincidently, I happened to be visiting on Seville Marathon Day. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the runners taking on 26 miles in 25 degree heat, even if it is the flattest marathon in Europe! As a bonus for spectators and runners a like, there was free entertainment lining the most iconic parts of the route. I very much enjoyed the rock style of Conejo, the band pictured above. Conejo translated means Rabbit - kind of an oxymoron for a band who surely wants to be more edgy that a cute fluffy bunny.

Crossing one of the bridges across the river, brings you in to mosaic territory. 
Around the Plaza are mosaics representing every region of Spain. The floor tiles show a location map of the area and the wall mosaic shows a historical event or interpretation linked to the area. This particular one shows the Balearic Islands (my first Spanish home). Every mosaic seems more beautiful than the next! Each section is flanked at either end by representations of Seville (there are around 6 Seville mosaics in total) showing everything from Roman Seville to famous monuments!
You can enter the buildings and climb on to the balconies to get a birds eye view. Today, the Plaza de España houses some of the regional government departments and administration buildings.
I absolutely love these tiles. Their pearlised sheen just caught the sunlight and sparkled.
Exploring the rest of the park is a must in good weather. The Parque de María Luisa was originally park of the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo. In 1893, they were donated by their owner Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier, and became the wonderful place we know today.
A great way to explore is using these wonderful contraptions. There are various sizes to fit even the biggest of groups and, running on pedal power, they keep you in shape! They are more for novelty value however, as the park is small enough to tackle on foot. I didn't catch the price - the huge queues were obscuring the sign - but I assume, like the boats, they were pretty reasonable.
This cute little bandstand style building and the edges of the lake were surrounded by keen duck feeders (be sure to bring scraps for the Swans!). One excited puppy decided he wanted to take a dip to make friends with a duck - there was quite a commotion as he swam after the duck and his owner swam after him. Best keep dogs on a lead!
Can't beat a lion fountain.
Definite photo ops by the waterfall! It was nice to capture families making memories. 

At the opposite end of the park to the Plaza de España is the Plaza de las Americas. Here you can see three imposing buildings demonstrating the different architectural styles of Spain - Mudéjar, Royal and Gothic. 
The Royal Style.
The Mudéjar style, which now houses the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs. The museum is free to all citizens of the European Union, but is quite a strange collection of objects. The only part of the exhibition worth seeing are the workshop recreations, which show the tools and layout of workshops of Spanish traditional crafts and products. The rest of the collection consists of traditional household objects and lace - not my cup of tea.
The Gothic style building houses the Museum of Archaeology, which I didn't get a chance to look around (will save that one for a rainy day).

I enjoyed my stroll around the Parque de María Luisa - only wish I'd bought a picnic!
Until next time,

With love from Seville x



  1. It really should come down to visit!! Can't beat Andalucía xxx


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