I was going to title this “How to spend a glorious day in Seville”. It would have been very appropriate, So, Maria Luisa Park in Seville it is for one of the top things to do in Seville Spain.
Maria Luisa Park:
This gorgeous and beautiful park is located south of the city center, close to the Guadalquivir river. It used to be part of the gardens of the San Telmo’s Palace until it was donated to the city in 1893 by the Duchess of Montpesier, Maria Luisa Fernandez for use as a public park. It sort of reminds me of the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, therefore, it was not a surprise to see that it was redesigned by Jean-Claude Nicholas Forestier, a French man, in 1911. The crowning glory of the Maria Luisa Park is the Plaza de Espana, which was built for the Ibero-America Expo that was arranged as a way to boost the morale of the people after the loss of the Spanish colonies. The Maria Luisa Park is a half mile long, and about 100 acres in size. It is home to many species of trees, and insects. A visit to the Maria Luisa Park is a must for any Seville itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.
We spent an afternoon in Seville exploring the many parts of the Maria Luisa Park. It is a perfect place to spend an afternoon, even the whole day. There are so many Moorish looking benches to chill out on. It is huge enough that it never seems crowded. There are humongous trees that provide shade for those hot days. The flowers, which bloom for just about 3 weeks before dying, were in full bloom, making everything smell so nice. I think my favorite part was the Fountain of the Lions. As a Leo, l truly appreciated them. The fountain is in an octagonal shape, with four lions with shields guarding it. The tile work is so intricate. It had originally been designed by some famous guy, but unfortunately, was badly vandalized in 1957 and the lions were replaced by copies.
The Maria Luisa Park is also home to several large buildings, in addition to the Plaza de Espana. They include the Archeological Museum of Seville, the Seville Public Library and the Queen’s sewing box, which l took a picture of, as we were driving past, but can’t for the life of me, find it.. :-( . It’s a small hexagonal shaped castle with turrets that just looks wicked nice. My friends say legend has it that the queen wanted a separate place from the palace so that she could “sew” in peace with her friends, and most believe that was where she took her lovers, etc. Scandalous!!! :-). If only walls could talk! ;-) , but l am betting the king had his own peccadilloes.
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There are several statues in the Maria Luisa Park, including one of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, a Spanish poet and writer. I love the figurines of the women sitting on the bench. They remind me of the Lladro porcelain figurines that originated in Valencia, which l love. I admire them from afar though, but are too expensive for my taste :-). I have exactly a collection of one Lladro, which l purchased in Madrid over 22 years ago. I wonder how much it’s worth now. I might be sitting on some major bucks.. :-).
A monument to Miguel Cervantes, he of Don Quixote fame, is also located in the Maria Luisa Park. We did not get that far. The statues of Don Quixote on his horse, and Sancho Panza on his donkey, have however disappeared. I mean, seriously, why would anyone want to steal those?
I discovered two things that day from my friends. One is that the oranges that grow on the trees that are plentiful in Seville and Malaga are bitter and uneatable. They are collected and sold to the U.K mostly where they are used to make orange marmalade. The second is that they favor white pigeons in the park, all the black ones are killed :-(.
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One more place to visit on a Seville vacation! Really, there’s no need to ask “what to do in Seville?” . Just look back at some of the older posts like the plaza de Espana and the Parasol. :-). Are you game?