Hidden Hearts Around the World


Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! In our travels over the past year, we carried on our four-year Gallivance tradition: a photo safari hunting for hearts to celebrate Valentine’s Day with you.

We enjoy it when big ol’ hearts just jump out at us…

Heart Hedge, Celebration, Florida
Heart Hedge, Celebration, Florida

…but we love the challenge of searching for the sneaky, subtle ones.

Squirrel on Heart, Subotica, Serbia
Squirrel on Heart, Subotica, Serbia

We look for hearts in nature, architecture, art … and some very unexpected places. In Plovdiv, Bulgaria we thought the crossed-legs symbol on this portable toilet was so cute, we totally missed the hearts!

Portapot, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Port-a-pot, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Often we’re so busy capturing an interesting image that we don’t even realize we’ve also snapped a heart.

Heart Fence, Sofia, Bulgaria
We were so keen to snap this great interaction, we didn’t realize they were chatting by the Heart Fence in Sofia, Bulgaria

Naturally, using the heart shape as a metaphor for love means that it’s a repeated theme in religious art and as an architectural detail on churches.

Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Church Window, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Church Window, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

There’s a lot going on in this street art mural, but the artist manages to squeeze in the concept of love with a small face tattoo.

Street Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Street Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Studies have suggested that capsicum, the mouth-scorching ingredient in peppers, has been found to lower blood pressure, and this heart-shaped, red pepper is the perfect reminder.

Peppers in Novi Sad, Serbia
Peppers in Novi Sad, Serbia

The number of heart shapes that turn up in architectural accent pieces, must surely indicate that it’s a requisite shape in blacksmith school.

Heart Awning, Kotor, Montenegro
Heart Awning, Kotor, Montenegro

This is a bit of a reach, but this popcorn kiosk was so much fun, that we couldn’t resist.

Heart Smile, Subotica, Serbia
Heart Smile, Subotica, Serbia

Hearts reaching for the Heavens make the perfect gate for this graceful Jewish Synagogue.

Jewish Synagogue 2, Subotica, Serbia
Jewish Synagogue, Subotica, Serbia

Do you have any great photos of hearts? Please include a link in your comment.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, everyone!
Terri & James

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

60 thoughts

    1. I agree Bertie, and this year’s post is good proof that hearts show up in lots of unexpected places. When we went through our photos, we were surprised by how many heart photos we had that we were unaware of. ❤ James

    1. Happy Valentine’s Day, Darlene! I would think with all the beautiful wrought iron in Spain you should be able to find some lovely hearts. Is this holiday also celebrated in Spain? ❤ Terri

      1. Only by the many English people living here. Hubby took me for lunch at The White Rose Tea Shop and then a lovely walk along the sea. A bit of both worlds.

      1. Thanks for the greetings. We are getting very excited (and impatient). We fly to Costa Rica the first week of April for three months to chill and mentally unwind. We will likely have to return to Nova Scotia to finalize our house sale over the summer and then get started in earnest in September. We can’t wait. Happy trails. Tim & Anne

    1. Thanks Nicole. For someone who travels and photographs as much as you do, I’d be surprised if you didn’t have quite a few hearts hiding in your photo library. It’s fun to search and it makes a fun holiday post as well. Have a fun Valentines Day. ❤ James

  1. I always look forward to your hearts post. It is so intriguing and reveals your love of the search around the world and here at home. Happy Valentines Day T & J!

    1. Thanks so much, Sue. It’s funny how it’s become a tradition, and now I look forward to it every year. You and I need to plan a photographic safari around Lexington to hunt some hearts – that would be a blast! Wishing you, Bob, and the Pups a very Happy VD! Love, T ❤

    1. I love it Pam. I’ve seen lot of sandhill cranes, but never from that angle. Very impressive photo indeed. I remember my first sandhill crane. I was on a bike ride going to Cross Creek in central FL. I was just cruising along in the middle of nowhere, and there was a pair about 20ft off the road. They wandered off of course, but I got a great look at them. Pretty cool. ~James

    1. As we said Jeff, when we started looking back through our photos, it was pretty funny how many hearts there were that we hadn’t even noticed. It’s a popular symbol, that’s for sure. ~James

    1. Thanks Liz. It’s gotten to be a fun tradition, and unlike some posts, it’s easy and fun to put together. Happy Valentines Day to you as well. I’m sure there’s some delicious chocolate to be had in your neighborhood. Europeans know how to do chocolate. ~James

  2. You seem to have a special knack for finding the heart – intentional or otherwise – in everywhere you travel ❤

    My favourite is the church window in Plovdiv. It's the look of surprise (?) on the tiny little face at the bottom of the crucifix.

    1. Interesting that you picked that one Joanne. This is one of the photos where we didn’t see the hearts until after the fact. But, I did take the photo for the tiny head, and I have no idea what it means. Of course, I don’t understand lots of religious art that I photograph. ~James

  3. Absolutely fabulous collection of hearts, even the ones you didn’t see at first. Just love this whole post — a testament to your ability to piece things together from so many travel photos. Happy Valentine’s Day to you both!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Rusha. We just love doing this sort of thing. Terri did all the looking through the photo archives, and she’s developed quite an eye for spotting hearts. It really is amazing how much the shape turns up. ~James

    1. Thanks Sue. Our discoveries this year were definitely more subtle – and some were nearly hidden! 🙂 It’s amazing how often the hearts turn up upside-down. So glad you could spot it. So how do you and Dave celebrate Valentine’s Day? ❤ Terri

      1. We were snowshoeing in the mountains. Absolutely silent with stunning vistas and snow piled on top of still trees like giant mushrooms. How about the two of you?

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I encourage you, in your travels and at home, to keep an eye open for hearts. You’ll be amazed to see how many pop up. And the side benefit is that it’s an easy, fun, and automatic Valentine’s Day post every year. That takes care of one day – just 364 to go. 🙂 Love the name of your blog BTW. ~ James

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