Casa Batlló


Imagine a place that bends and curves at every angle like the cascading waves of the Mediterranian Sea. A place where the fireplace is carved like a roasting mushroom and the dining-room light looks down on you like an eye devoured in a whirlpool. Imagine a place where vertical vents open and close like a fish’s gills, where the glass gives you the illusion of swimming underwater and where the loft arches like the spine of a beast. A beast that sits atop this magnificent facade with shingled scales and a bulbous spine. This place breathes life as it mimics the not-so-distant sea and the beauty of nature. It is the masterpiece of the brilliant Antoni Gaudí; Casa Batlló.

Casa Batlló took my breath away as it plunged me into the depths of the Mediterranian Sea. The building is distinguishably unique as you coast down the prestige Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona and feast upon the astonishingly colourful glass and ceramic mosaic tiles. These tiles reflect against the sun and give the illusion of a rippling lake scattered with water lilies. In front of the large windows on the main floor, there are several fine bone-like columns that appear like vines are growing out of the building. These columns are paired with balconies that look like fish-skeleton heads and a rich sandstone surface, which alludes to the house’s local name of casa dels ossos (house of bones).

When you dive through the doors of this UNESCO World Heritage modernist building, you will see that there are hardly any straight lines. Gaudí refrained from using any straight lines in his designs to make his buildings look as natural as possible. Every detail within the building is designed to mimic nature and follow the flow of the sea from the wooden winding staircases to the carefully crafted doors. In the centre of the building, there is a lightwell that begins with navy blue titles where the sun shines the most and gradually descends to lighter shades of blue at the bottom of the lightwell where the sun shines the least.

At the top of this aquatic representation, there is an arched roof with tiles that grade from green on the right side, to a deep blue and violet in the centre, to red and pink on the left side. These tiles have a metallic sheen and stimulate the varying scales of the back of a dragon. In front of the dragon, there is a turret with a blooming cross at the top, which has been speculated to represent the spear of Saint George (the patron saint of Catalonia), who plunged his lance into the back of the dragon.

The original building was made in 1877, but Josep Batlló, a textile industrialist who owned a few factories in the city, bought it in 1900 because of its location in the centre of Passeig de Gràcia. Batlló hired Gaudí in 1904 to redesign the building and only two years later, it became the underwater castle we see today.

Casa Batlló is a magnificent work of creativity and imagination that exemplifies Gaudí’s adoration of nature from the colourful tiles to the rolling walls.


Parc de la Ciutadella


After you cross under Arc de Triomf on Passeig de Lluís Companys in Barcelona and stroll down the lively walkway, the gates to Parc de la Ciutadella materialize. For decades following the creation of the park in the mid-19th century, it was Barcelona’s only green space. The park is about 280,000 m2 and includes a zoo, a parliament building, a small lake, museums and a large fountain designed by Josep Fontserè. The fountain is located at the northern corner of the park near the lake. In the centre of the elaborate two-level fountain is a sculpture of Venus standing on an open clam designed by Venanci Vallmitjana. Other interesting statues in the park include a sculpture of “El desconsol” (distress) in the middle of a pond in front of the parliament building and a giant mammoth across the lake. Parc de la Ciutadella is a carefully planned peaceful space in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Barcelona.

Arc de Triomf


Arc de Triomf is a 30-metre arch that towers over Passeig de Lluís Companys street in Barcelona. It was built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanova as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. This extraordinary arch marks the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella down a walkway of palm trees and pedestrians. The arch features a red brick Moorish-inspired style called neo-Mudejar and stone sculptures from various artists including Josep Reynés, Josep Llimona, Antoni Villanova and Torquat Tassó. The arch features numerous symbolic sculptures that represent agriculture, science, arts, industry and commerce. Among one of the most prominent symbols in the arch are the bats on the two pillars, which was the emblem of King Jaume I, a former king who ruled during a time of prosperity in Barcelona.

Arc de Triomf poses as a civic monument that’s main purpose was to welcome all nations to the Barcelona World Fair. Today the arch serves as an important and beautifully crafted landmark of the city.


Sitges Carnival

Blog, España

Carnival is a time to wear colourful costumes to lose your individuality and experience social unity. The tradition reverses everyday rules and norms and combines elements of circus, costumes, masks, parties and street parades. Carnival is originally a Christian holiday before Lent to overindulge, be gluttonous, satirical and grotesque.

This year the Sitges Carnival ran from Thursday, February 8th to Tuesday, February 13th. The carnival is one of the world’s top 10 carnivals and one of the biggest in Spain. The carnival attracts more than 300,000 people every year and the town becomes a constant party zone for seven days and nights.

The Sitges Carnival is full of colours, costumes, feathers, dancers, theatrical performances, a large gay community and more. There are around 50 floats and 3,000 participants marching through the centre of Sitges to the waterfront. People of all ages and backgrounds travel to enjoy the carnival; there is even a children’s parade during the day. The biggest events during carnival week in Sitges are Rua de la Disbauxa and Rua de l’Extremini.

Carnival begins on Jueves Lardero, or Dijous Gras in Catalan, and is a day of gluttony. The Spanish and Catalan people enjoy the Catalan butifara (sausage) and a Spanish tortilla (omelette) andThe Carnival King arrives. The festival ends on the following Tuesday on the Burial of the Sardine where a sardine is buried to symbolize the abstinence from fish, meat, alcohol and sweets for the following 40 days leading up to Easter.

As Sitges is about a two-hour train ride from Barcelona, I had the pleasure of enjoying this memorable and eventful parade on Sunday, February 11. The parade was bustling with crafty costumes full of colours and feathers, various themes like ancient Egyptians and Willy Wonka, upbeat music and a lively atmosphere. The parade lasted over four hours and was loads of fun. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me, so I only have cellphone-quality picture. Nevertheless, I absolutely enjoyed this exciting experience that I could never have imagined if I only lived in Canada.



Tarragona is located on the Costa Daurada about 100 kilometres from Barcelona. The city was founded in 218 BC and remains the oldest Roman settlement on the Iberian peninsula. The city still displays a wealth of ruins in one of Spain’s most important Roman sites, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. The city houses a total of 11 Roman constructions, the most popular being Les Ferreres Aqueduct, a giant Roman aqueduct;  Passeig Arqueològic, a park featuring Roman walls, sculptures and gardens; the Roman theatre of Tarraco, an ancient Roman theatre; and Circ Romà, a first century CE Roman chariot-racing track and tower. Tarragona serves as a clash between Roman history and beautiful beaches with a lively port that serves as a transporting hub for petroleum.