Like the American chicas in the script, I was recently seduced by Woody Allen’s wonderful celluloid love letter to Asturias, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
It’s a film that can make me smile on the greyest of days. Scarlet Johansson is prozac for the eyes, Rebbecca Hall pragmatic and pretty, Penelope Cruz mad, bad and dangerous to know but who cares, she’s gorgeous. And if Javier Bardem sauntered across to your table with the offer of a trip to Oviedo, lovemaking included, how could you refuse – obviously I mean from a woman’s perspective here.
It was the first time I’d watched the film since I’d visited Asturias and unbeknownst to me then, much of the time I’d been following in the footsteps of Javier, Penelope, Scarlet and Rebecca.
These are some of the locations I shared with Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
La Corrada del Obispo
A romantic restaurant ideal for a romantic proposition, or an invitation to a seduction depending on how you view it. Not only did Juan Antonio try to charm Vicky and Cristina at La Corrada del Obispo, local lass Letizia Ortiz chose it to dine with her special date Felipe. Things went very well and the pair married and Letizia is now also known, appropriately as she was born in Oviedo, as the Princess of Asturias. The mural was painted for the movie and the owners decided to leave it in place after Hollywood moved on.
El Mercado el Fontán
El Mercado el Fontán appears for a split second as Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) shows Vicky (Rebacca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlet Johansson) around Oviedo. The market’s the place for buying some of the famous Asturian blue cheeses like cabrales and the plaza with the town hall is just around the corner. There are great sidrerías (cider bars) in quaint courtyards off the market. Woody Allen chose his angle well, if he’d shot it from the other side he might have got the Rey Jamon in the picture. It might be a top place for buying chorizos but the sight of them piled on top of each other in the window isn’t the most romantic of images. Check this out to see what I mean.
Santa María del Naranco
Vicky and Juan Antonio used the interior of this UNESCO World Heritage Site pre-Romanesque church overlooking Oviedo as a place to have a heart to heart. If you’re neither historian nor architect, there’s not really a lot to see inside so nothing to distract them from a meaningful conversation; although the views of the city from the glassless windows might have caused a ‘sorry, what was that you said?’ moment.
Hotel de la Reconquista – Seduction Number 1
There are a few scenes shot in this historic hotel. The opulent lobby of the Hotel de la Reconquista is where Juan Antonio invited the girls to join him in his room. Only Cristina took him up on the offer. I wish I’d known when I was there that I might be staying in the same room that Scarlet Johansson had puked in.
Palacio de Ferrera – Seduction Number 2
The gardens of the Palacio de Ferrera in Avilés is where Juan Antonio and Vicky were enchanted by the sounds of Spanish guitar, leading to longing stolen looks leading to an al fresco seduction. The door from the gardens back into the hotel doesn’t have a handle and I got stuck garden side when I explored them. Presumably the same thing happened to Vicky and Juan Antonio and that’s why they risked grass stains on their clothes rather than head back to the comfort of the hotel room.
Restaurant Casa Lin
I guess that means I’ll just have to be charmed by Vicky Cristina et al all over again.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+