Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Casa Mila

We started our wonderful Mediterranean cruise in Barcelona. Lucky for us, good friends from Canada were there at the same time, so we arrived a day early to spend time with them. We met our friends at a Starbucks right across the street from Casa Mila, one of Gaudi´s masterpieces. There I was treated to a pumpkin spice latte which made me very happy as I had been lamenting being left out this year. (there are no Starbucks coffee shops where I live.)

Who would have thought in 2015, I would be sitting across the street from an iconic building in Barcelona, sipping a pumpkin spice latte? Should this be a dream, please don´t wake me up!


Casa Mila

Casa Mila designed by Antoni Gaudi

A short taxi ride took us to Park Güell. We had been to Barcelona once before and loved it. But we had not visited Park Güell, so we took the opportunity to explore this fascinating park created in 1900 by Antoni Gaudi. In order to preserve this heritage site, a limited amount of people are allowed into Monument Precinct, the main park area. Our ticket was for 1:30 so we had plenty of time to wander the lush gardens around the park and take in panoramic views from the top of the hill.

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Entrance to the gardens

Gaudi´s Sagrada Família from Park Gruell

Gaudi´s Sagrada Família from Park Gruell


Art and nature


Once inside the Monument Precinct, we were instantly mesmerized. There was so much to take in. The colours and fantastical designs were mind boggling. A combination of greenery and art amazed us at every turn. We sat on the famous ceramic bench, which was surprisingly comfortable. I read later that Gaudi had one of the workers take down his pants and sit on it to make sure it fit the human derrière perfectly.

Brightly coloured mosaic salamanders, whimsical houses fit for elves and fairies, gargoyles, and a mosaic clad ceramic undulating bench held up by 86 columns are just a few of the delights of Park Gruell. Everyone who visits can´t help but turn into an excited child in a fantasy land! (or maybe that was just me)



The ceramic bench

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This mosaic salamander is the most photographed item in Barcelona!



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Hypostyle Room with 86 columns

Inside the Hypostyle Room

Inside the Hypostyle Room

small peices of broken tiles and ceramics, often taken from demolition sites were used to create the mosaics in the park

Small pieces of broken tiles and ceramics, often taken from demolition sites, were used to create the colourful mosaics.


The Monumental Flight of Stairs, the ceramic bench is on top of the Hypostyle building.

Trying out the ceramic bench (with our pants on)

Trying out the ceramic bench (with our pants on)

The last stop of the day before boarding the ship was Gaudi´s Casa Batllo. Another fabulous house designed by the master architect for the Batllo family. The roof top with its fascinating chimneys is something else.

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo


Roof top of Casa Batllo

A bonus to see all this with good friends who brought us a year´s supply of Maple syrup. What a great start to our trip.

More to come…..

All photographs by Darlene and Paul Foster

Being interviewed almost makes me feel like a celebrity of sorts!

Thoughtful Reflections
Hosted by Sylvia L. Ramsey. This blog is a potpourri of information about writing, presenting and authors.

Monday, October 10, 2011Children’s Author, Darlene Foster’s Amanda Series Takes Children on World Adventures
I am a writer of children’s stories, an employment counselor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. I love travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends. My grandson calls me “super-mega-woman-supreme.” I was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where I dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. These dreams have all come true. I now live on the beautiful west coast of British Columbia with my husband Paul and our two black cats, Pumpkin and Monkey.
Tell us about the genre of your work.
I write travel adventure stories for children.
Why did you choose this genre?
I love children and telling stories to children. I read many children’s books myself, and I love to encourage children to read and to learn about the rest of the world, especially places they may not have a chance to visit. I am hoping my books will encourage them to visit these countries some day.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
I have had two books published, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask and Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting. I have also had some short stories for adults published in anthologies.
What ages do you direct your books?
8 – 12 year olds, but some younger and some older readers have read them and enjoyed them.
Tell us about your books.
Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, ireadiwrite Publishing, 2010 ISBN 978-1-926760-36-0
Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting, ireadiwrite Publishing, 2011 ISBN 978-1-926760-55-1
Both books are available as e-books and in print and can be found on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Kobo, OmniLit, Smashwords, Sony Reader Store and other fine book stores.
Do your books have a teaching objective? If so, what is it?
If so, it is very subtle. The descriptions of the people and places may teach children about places outside their realm of familiarity. If that happens, it is a bonus. However, I mainly write for entertainment.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?
Amanda is the name of my second granddaughter who was 12 at the time I started writing the first book. The name just seemed to fit. Other names are ones I had come across in books, articles and in life, which seemed to work. Ali Baba, the camel, of course comes from the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights.
It has turned out to be a very good name, as the children just love Ali Baba. I bring a camel puppet with me when I do readings at bookstores and schools and he is very popular.
How did you develop the character/s of your in each of your books (If you have more that one)?
Amanda just evolved as I wrote and her character develops more with each book.

Is there a unique character or a recurring character if you have more than one published or to be published book?
Amanda and her friend Leah, who she meets in the first book, are both in the second book and will be in the third book (in progress). Part of the theme is their friendship and how it develops. They live in different countries, Amanda in Canada and Leah in England, so they only see each other on holidays in different parts of the world.
What is your favorite thing about your book/s?
My favorite thing about my books is that I get to relive my travel experiences through the eyes of a 12 year old.
Is your book illustrated? If so, would you tell us by whom, and if you worked with an illustrator, can you discuss that experience?
I chose not to have the book illustrated because I wanted the readers to imagine the scenes themselves and maybe look things up if they were curious enough.
How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?
You have to think, talk and act like a modern twelve year old, which is not very hard for me, as I have never really grown up and hang around with kids a lot.
Are there any problems in getting children’s’ books published?
It took me 5 years to get my first book Amanda in Arabia published. I sent it out to about two dozen traditional publishers who sent me very nice rejection letters. In fact, the letters got nicer all the time. I eventually decided to have the book e-published by a local e-publisher. I had some success with the e-book so my publisher decided to print publish it. My publisher, ireadiwritePublishing, has published the second book as well.
Why and when did you begin writing?
I had my first story published in The Winnipeg Free Press when I was twelve years old. I will not say how long ago that was but I have been writing ever since in one way or another. I did not get serious about it until about ten years ago when I returned from a trip from the United Arab Emirates and felt compelled to write a story about it.
What is your writing schedule?
I try to write two hours a night after I come home from work and have had dinner with my husband.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
I am working on Amanda in England- The Missing Novel, book three of the series. I am also working on a picture book called Pig on Trial, a medieval tale.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and get published?
Never give up. If you believe in your story, just keep writing and keep sending it out. Also, do not be afraid to try something new. I am so glad I decided to start with e-publishing. Finally – it is never too late to start writing. If you have a story itching to be told, just sit down and write it!
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
The more you write the better you get at it. Enter contests, send submissions to anthologies, keep a blog etc. Just keep writing.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I work as a full time Facilitator and Coach for an Employment Program and I tutor English as a Second Language to school age children. I am also an avid reader myself. We are fortunate to live near a beach so I go for long walks on the beach, find a log, read for a while and walk back.
I get some good ideas while I am walking as well.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
I believe strongly in following your dreams and not letting roadblocks stand in your way. Every time a dream comes true is a “Made it“ moment for me. Of course having my first book published was a big one!


Casa Mila

Amanda isn’t the only one who traveled to Spain, Darlene did too.

Posted by Thoughtful Reflections

Darlene said…
Thank you Sylvia for interviewing me. It was fun! I look forward to reading about other authors on your blog.

copyright Sylvia L. Ramsey, February 26, 2011. All rights reserved..

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