"I recently attended the SpainLifestyle class called 'Understanding Spanish Royal Renaissance Architecture'... Having seen a large number of buildings of this era, 1500s and 1600s, it was enlightening to hear how the styles evolved and why. The explanations of the decoration and design of the buildings by the different architects has given me a better knowledge. The lecture was full of information and a real sense of that time.
The lecture has prompted further research into various points mentioned for example... how saints are represented in art.
I have said it before... I like Karla's natural everyday language when teaching. It makes the information easier to retain.
I most definitely recommend Karla and SpainLifestyle.com to my friends".
"In this class, I learned lot about the painter, his life and work. I love his paintings; most of them are so colourful, vibrant, lively - with beautiful scenery. As I lived in Jávea for 14 years I appreciate the places Sorolla loved (me too!!), and painted, almost all of them those close to or by the sea. I concluded by the way he painted and lived that he must have been a happy person! I just love Karla's liveliness, directness, and huge knowledge. I Absolutely recommend her classes!!!"
"Not understanding Dali's paintings at all, I learned there was a code; language to understanding the man, therefore his paintings. What an experience! Karla Darocas taught, as usual, in her casual style of speaking, while pouring forth a fountain of information. I have recommended her to many people already"
"I have been to Karla's lectures on Dali before. He is a complex man, as are his paintings, and as always I learnt even more. The pleasure of being able to appreciate his art is beyond price. Karla Darocas's teaching style is relaxed but so much information and research is shared.
Most certainly I recommend Karla Darocas's teaching and events to others"
"Oh, what two wonderful presentations about Dalí. I learned so much about his life, his problems with his father, but - most importantly - his work. When I now look at one of Dalí's paintings my understanding and perception will be totally different than they were before. Great lectures. I always like Karka deep knowledge & her humour. I always recommend her to others!"
"I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Karla's first book on the history and architecture of Jávea. It reads as Karla lectures, with enthusiasm, knowledge and fun. This is a must for anyone interested in knowing more of how Jávea has changed over time. I have ordered more to give as Christmas presents and what a fabulous addition to be put into rental properties. I love the knowledge I have gained from reading this book. A great read."
"I have been here almost 30 years and was absolutely delighted to have more in depth information on the history of Javea. A great presentation and written in a style very clear and precise! Thank you Karla for such a very interesting book!
Congratulations, loved it!!!"
- Diana Santiago, Javea
"In a recent Field Trip with Karla I learned how beautiful Gandía is, and how many 'treasures' there are - culturally, historically, architecturally. The Gandia Palace was a gem, which I really enjoyed visiting. And Karla, as always, guided us with explanations and comments, pointing out the very precious details. Another trip worth taking with Karla as she is an outstanding teacher!! Her clarity, her passion, her knowledge. I always recommend Karla Darocas to others"
"Just wanted to thank you again for the very informative guide of Javea yesterday. We both really enjoyed it.
I was telling our friends last night about the architecture of the church and how it came about regarding relations of Queen Isabella. Also, how Isabella had her own architectural style and what the symbols meant around the door of the church.
And, about how there was a convent where the Mercat is now and how it came about and about mother superior Gallart and how she died at the lookout tower.
Also about the “broke” period and the civic arches, etc...
"Many of Goya's works are well known, and learning why or in what circumstances he painted them was interesting and informative.
But what was most interesting for me was his outlook on life around him, his feelings for the absurdity of events happening at the time like the hypocrisy of religion and superstition, nobility, the inquisition... And his ability to "showing" what was going on - whether it be everyday scenes for tapestries or more political reactions to the French invaders.
Karla is a treasure chest of anecdotes and details which give added interest to her subject. I truly recommend her lectures."
"Now I am a LOT more knowledgeable about Goya and the history of his time, his life, his painting style and his feelings. Really got to know the man and his work. Two hours flew by as usual. After learning about the various masters I can go into the Prado Museum in Madrid with more confidence and purpose!
Karla has amazng knowledge and her ability to include humour and fascinating titbites, together with her personality makes for a lively and interesting lecture. I would definitely recommend her."
"I can highly recommend this walk, it was amazing to hear and see all about the history and architecture of this unique town that we call home. Karla has an incredible knowledge and passion, thank you so much."
Thank you Karla for a very informative lecture on Teruel prior to our departure. Karla is a wealth of information and her presentations are well-detailed and well-explained. Having gone to this lecture prior to our visit enabled us to appreciate the beauty, architecture and history of this wonderful city. It makes a huge difference when visiting some of this unique historical cities/towns in Spain having prior knowledge of their history.
Thank you Karla for expanding our knowledge.
"I learned so much about the social and economic history of this part of Spain and how the architectural styles developed and were implemented using existing buildings over the centuries. Karla brought it all to life. I loved Karla's talks because they are so animated and enthusiastic and full of interesting and amusing anecdotes. I definitely recommend her."
"It was a nice and sunny Saturday in March when we set off with Fine Arts Historican Karla Darocas for a field trip to Grandia as a group of adult education students.
As always, Karla thoroughly prepared for this excursion with a lecture on Gandía first.
A group ride share was organised and after picking up several members ‘en route’ we arrived in Gandia, a town in th southern part of the Valencian province, which was buzzing with the preparations for the Falla Fiestas on March 19th.
We visited the Santa Clara museum, where we were the only visitors. We strolled around enjoying the explanations by Karla about the religious works of art roughly from the 15th till the 17th centuries. There was Gregorian music playing in the atmosphere that made the visit extra special. All this heritage had been kept by the nuns of Santa Clara’s Monastery since the 1400's and only shared with the public in 1915 in this museum, which was the medieval hospital.
Needless to say, the famous Spanish Borja family who were patrons of the arts, were presented in paintings and murals as well.
Gandía sits on the shores of the Serpis river, now dry as a bone, but still a grand sight to view from the mirador.
After a quick cafe con leche accompanied by the parade of children, men and women dressed in the traditional Valencian costumes with bands playing the typical music that many of us have heard in these regions when fiestas are celebrated, we went on a pleasant walk to the Palau Ducal dels Borja.
This is where Francisco de Borja, the great grandson of Pope Alexandre VI, was born and raised. Long after his death, he became Saint Francisco de Borja and his great grandson Pascual de Borja brought the beauty of Italian baroque to the palace by building a series of rooms that celebrated in art and design the canonization of Francisco.
Our group lunch was catered by friendly couple at their charming Restaurant called EL GUSTO. It was a great end to an uplifting and educational day. Great stuff!"
"Steve and I joined Karla on her Javea Walk on 1st March. Having been to many of Karla's lectures and so very familiar with her wide ranging knowledge, we were still amazed at how much there was to learn about this small area of Javea.
Karla's delivery as always tempered with humour and small details.
We highly recommend these walks to anyone interested in where we are living or just staying on holiday."
"Karla brought to life the Old Town of Jávea, areas that I have been to many times but knew little about. I learned a lot about the history and culture of Javea and I will return to some of the places she introduced me to. Karla has a very unique way of explaining things and I love her relaxed style. I can highly recommend this walk. Karla's teaching style involves paying attention to detail and her ability to explain things in an informative way."
"Wonderful to learn how a series of races such as Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews and Christians became the dominant culture with each lasting for a few centuries. Each having their own style for religious buildings often based on religious mythology, often adapting and extending existing buildings using roman materials. Very interested to hear that Christians did not wash (for some reason) whereas for Arabs and Romans it was an important ritual.
Attended presentation because we are planning to visit Toledo. I like Karla's visual aids and relatively small group."
"Extremely interesting talk - made sense of a lot of the places I had visited in Toledo last year. Clarified and contextualised in Karla's usual enthusiastic and informative way. Karla's talks are always accessible and enjoyable. Can't wait to re-visit Toledo with the deeper understanding of the history of the city and it's buildings gained from this talk. Karla's teaching is enthusiastic and packed with information."
"Having lived in Javea for a number of years, I wanted to learn about the old town of Javea. I now walk the streets looking up not just eye level. Karla has opened my eyes to the beautiful buildings and history of the lovely town I live in.
I have already sent neighbours on the walk, who loved it as much as me. Karla’s treaching is filled with extensive knowledge and passion about Spain. Also she injects humour. Most definitely I would recommend Karla.
"Today's lecture on Toledo was really good. I went to Madrid last year but today's lecture makes me want to visit Toledo. Mum wants to go with my dad too.
Mum gets nervous if she thinks information will be too high Brow!! But we like the way Karla gives the information in normal terms. We find it very light hearted but really interesting."
"I am very keen to learn more about all aspects of this beautiful country that I live in. Karla's inimitable style (which I love) inspires me to look more into the subjects. I have also learnt how to interpret visual details of buildings, paintings, architecture and the historical progress of development through the ages.
Karla's teaching style is so easy to understand and relate to."
"We did Karla's Javea walk today. She peeled away the skins of the town and took it back to exploring the history of the architecture, religious art and social and economic history. Every stone tells a story. I was swept away by her talk....and because it was SO packed with colourful history and information I would LOVE to hear it again. She has just 5 people in the group....the history and architectural stories come spilling out. The talk was mesmerizing and her stories really came alive .. particularly the expulsion of the Moors. I just wish I had taken some notes. Absolutely fascinating. So lucky to have her doing this with passion. Certainly NOT a standard " Tour".
"From murder holes, bullet ridden buildings, the pouring of burning oil onto attacking marauders and the Christian Conquest to the economic expansion due to the production of raisins, the attraction of this area to royalty and artists with their palaces and lush courtyards, we set forth with Karla in search of all the clues that still exist.
Our small group strode through the narrow streets searching for these remains of a bygone era like a small army with Karla at our helm. She kept us spellbound with her tales and knowledge.
Wow, what a morning!
Karla has a friendly and casual teaching style. Without a doubt I recommend her to all my friends."
"I thoroughly recommend these great informal photo walks around Moraira under Karla's expert guidance - you'll learn the best ways to shoot all the 'famous' landmarks and places of beauty and improve your photography skills! I would say that looking up and looking 'outside the box' stood out for me, so you can get shots that most other people maybe wouldn't look for. And of course learning about light compensation for when the sun is shining brightly and auto isn't good enough! Karla's teaching style was direct, friendly and thorough and the whole session was nice and informal."
"I bought my Nikon camera some years ago and have been struggling with the various dials on it ever since. After Karla's photo workshop I feel so much more confident using it. We learnt about how to control the aperture to let in more or less light, which controls were best for action shots and which for close ups and we learnt about composition, perspective and narrative. A great morning and of course with the wonderful countryside and beach Moraig of the Cumbre."
* Chris Wood, Javea
"Really enjoyed the JAVEA WALK with Karla on Friday. I definitely learned lots as I’ve walked around these streets numerous times without knowing the history. Really informative and Karla is a wonderful guide. She definitely tried to keep us on schedule!! I know Anna really enjoyed it as well. I don’t know how Karla retains all the knowledge that she has. Anyway if I can come back from a tour and take and remember a few historical points I’m happy. Karla is an inspiration. Here are some photos that I took." * Patricia... Canadian snowbird in Moraira
"I did not know that "Sultana" was actually a brand name invented in Jávea nor did I know what those Christmas shortbread sweets you see in all the shops in December are really made of. These were just two of the fascinating facts about Jávea's history and culture I learnt on Karla's fantastic historical walk of Jávea old town. Buildings I have walked past for years and not really looked at - all had interesting stories to tell. Jávea has been prized as a jewel by different sections of Spain and even different countries for centuries. If you look down at the floor in the tourist office you are actually looking into open graves that are hundreds of years old. It was interesting also hearing about the various wealthy families that had their palaces and businesses in Jávea hundreds of years ago - names that you still hear locally today. The walk finally settled the question of what caused the damage to the outside walls of the church - cannon fire in the 1800's and gunfire from the civil war. If you live in Jávea or are just passing through you really have to go on this walk."
El Greco lecture. Loved it!! I could really sense the " mystery" behind some of the paintings. Loved the colours! I had forgotten that blue stood for purity and red associated with christ. Also, I was fascinated at the "boyish" quality of the youth and of some of the men El Greco painted, even Jesus. There were a LOT of surprises. I Love Karla's lectures!!!
"Great walk with Karla this morning. I learned so much about the old town and its history. The fact that I've been in the tourist office many times but never noticed the glass floor really impressed me. I didn't bring it up at the time but wondered why the statue of Loreta by Franco's monument was facing towards the church and not out to sea, if it was there for protection. Thoroughly recommend it"
"I have been visiting Jávea and surrounding areas as a tourist for a decade. I moved to Gata De Gorgos permanently 2 months ago & wanted to find out about my new home & surrounding areas. Jávea is a favourite place of mine & I would recommend Karla’s Javea Walk to anyone new to the area or anyone who wants to find out more. The tour was informative, engaging & has inspired me to return/find out more. Karla is passionate & this shone through in this tour & was much appreciated. She is informative, engaging & made whatever being discussed come to life.
Yes, yes & yes I recommend Karla."