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Welcome to Spain - where it all started for the Candelarias.

Casa Batllo - Barcelona

Yesterday my family and I, just missing Tiffany this time, landed in Barcelona España. We are here to finalize details on our new addition to our Candelaria Design Tours – Spain! We will still be doing our Italy Tour with our 15th tour set for this coming September finishing in Venice. But we thought it was time to branch out and so now we will be offering Spain. Our June 2017 trip is SOLD OUT. So do not hesitate to get your spot reserved for the 2018 trip most likely set for June also.


Ok so why Spain???? Well it turns out that the Candelaria family originated nearly 400 years ago from Spain when one of my ancestors left Oviedo, Spain for Mexico and then his ancestors eventually made their way to the Albuquerque area of New Mexico and was one of the first or a handful of families who initially settled there in the early 1700’s. So Spain means a lot to me! We will be fortunate to spend some time this coming weekend in Oviedo and so my girls will see one side of where they originated from.

Casa Batllo - Barcelona


Spain is also significant to me in this is the country where I caught the travel bug. You see in 1990 my good friend and high school classmate, Laurie Clauson, insisted I come with her to visit the family and friends from her times as an exchange student here. I was in the recovery mode from marriage number one and was really searching for what my life was about. I was 30 years old.

Rooftop chimneys at Casa Batllo


Grand Salon at Casa Batllo


Laurie, convinced me to join her and she showed me Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Oviedo (which at the time I had no idea my ancestors originated from there) and my favorite, the little fishing village of Luanco on the far north coast of Spain and the home of Laurie’s friends and adopted family. That trip changed my life for many reasons. I discovered this most magnificent country, I connected with my ancestry in a way I would later more fully understand, I realized there was a whole world out there to explore, it opened my eyes to the endless opportunities in design and architecture, it awakened my passion for cooking and food. Well that pretty much sums me up now some 27 years later. It’s interesting that that trip really marked the moment I awoke….I feel I am at another awakening now as I close in on my 60’s and move into a new stage of my life.

Rooftop chimneys at Casa Mila - Barcelona


I have returned to Spain on a number of occasions since that first trip and my love for Spain continues to grow. I realize now though I have not been here since 2004 – way to long…..! I am so happy to be back, and I am typing this blog from the 25th floor of the Hotel Arts overlooking the entire city of Barcelona. Spectacular.

City view of Barcelona from the Hotel Arts


I remember my first trip to Barcelona all by myself. Really my first trip abroad without anyone but me…..a very intimidating but also very freeing experience as it gave me the confidence that I could really do anything and that there is nothing that makes you feel more alive than stepping completely out of your comfort zone. An experience that ever since has served me well with many aspects of my life.

Casa Mila - Barcelona

Lightwell at Casa Batllo - Barcelona


Lightwell at the Casa Batllo - Barcelona

I recall walking the streets of Barcelona, and taking in the sights all alone, with no one to reflect or discuss my observations and discoveries. I remember thinking to myself, “how wonderful it would be to be here with someone I love and explore it that way!” Well some 27 years later here I am, with the love of my life, my Isabel, and two of my three girls, Isabella and Sophia. I cannot tell you how excited I am and how special this trip is for me and my life.

My family in Barcelona


Life is interesting how it all plays out. I have learned that you just need to keep going and make the most of each day. This is it – this could be the last day. I have been on that edge a few times in life and these near ends have reminded me that this is it – there is not TEVO in life – no replays. Thanks for reading my blog and being a part of my life. I know if you are reading this you must be someone special to me. Enjoy our journey……

Casa Mila

Cas Mila rooftop