Figueres and Girona (June 3, 2013)

Dali, Dali, Dali! also a little bit of Girona. I, um, might have taken a few pictures.
A reminder: click any image to see a much bigger more details version!

It seems like the all-night karaoke-rave downstairs was a Saturday-only thing which is fortunate (though we were so wiped Saturday we didn’t even care). And the shower has amazing water pressure even if the enclosure is tiny, so I’m declaring myself extremely pleased with our flat.

Eric is unfortunately running a fever, and wasn’t sure he’d be up to making the trip to Figueres today, but he’s decided to give it a go and I’m very grateful (since I can’t drive myself, sadly. Driving stick needs to go on my list of survival skills again – I did it once, more than a decade ago, so I think I could do it in an emergency, but it wouldn’t be pretty, or safe. And certainly not something I want to take in a foreign and hilly city.



(this image mostly taken because of this photo from 2009, which is also a tomato and a plum.

We left the flat and went around the corner to check out the market. We emerged shortly after, victoriously laden with duck ham, 3 cheeses (a creamy-but-firm catalan goat cheese, a manchego, and a very unfortunate morbier. I like me some fresh young morbier but this was unfortunately neither and was too rank for either of our tastes), a loaf of bread, a half-kilo of tiny red plums, a half-kilo of cherries, 2 enormous figs, some lovely cherry tomatoes, some toasted hazelnuts, some dried apricots. In conclusion: I could live on good bread, cheese, and stone fruit pretty much forever.

Then we went to Barcelona-Sants to check on our train tickets for Friday, and pick up our rental car. We established that the route we want you can only buy tickets day-of, and that the schedule was when we expected, so we should be safe. And despite having safely left our passports and drivers license in the flat, the agent took pity on us and rented us the car on the strength of the passport photocopy, as long as we took responsibility for anything that happened since we were missing our documents. A quick stop back at the flat to pick up said documentation and we were off to Figueres!


train overpasses in Spain are pretty!

The drive was uneventful, and while we were running much later than I’d hoped, I was very glad to be getting there at all. And the museum was in fact all that and a bag of fluorescent giraffes.


..baguette??


Yes, baguette. No, I don’t know why either.

I know not everyone has this response to surrealism, but a lot of it hits me square in the feels. (Mind you, I can’t really identify WHICH feels, but it’s eliciting very strong ones!) A lot of the online reviews complained that Dali’s most famous work wasn’t at the museum… fuck his famous works, I just want to lick his brain. (He’d probably be into that.)

  

I think painting is probably the medium I find him least compelling in…


(That having been said, I fucking love this.)

…but his assemblages and sculptures are much harder to convey in print.

Which also means this photo-essay will probably not have much impact on anyone else, but maybe it will help me remember.


Dali was obsessed with not being limited to any one medium. And Gala was everywhere as his muse. These were a few of the small metalwork/jewelry pieces in his vault, where he is buried.


The central dome of the great hall. Which also contained this painting:


The photo of which is very indebted to LIghtRoom5’s ability to re-square photos taken at an upward-looking angle.


I also adored the sculptures around the edge of the dome, 50 feet above us, where they can’t actually be admired in detail, just there for More Awesomeness. Click and you’ll see.

 
The detailed figures on the right were maybe 2″-3″ tall.


This one really needs to be enlarged. The details in the skull, his expression, the keyboard in the assemblage…


Gala really was everywhere.

 
These struck me as very proto-steampunk.

There was a long line to climb this:

…to look through the camel and see this:

…I’m really not sure if any of them noticed that this was hanging on the ceiling above them:

  
Fierce urinal. Rawr.


She was awesome and disturbing. The tentacle (which was probably 8′-12′ long, curled around and around) was entirely made of spoons.

 
It was tragically almost impossible to get a good photo of this. It was a knight in repose, whose armor was made of circuitboards. And gem-encrusted plated circuitboards. I always forget how far into the 20th century Dali was still active.

I didn’t take even photographs of the innumerable obscene drawings/engravings lining all the hallways.


(Except this one.)

But the whole theater (the building designed by Dali, who designated a theater instead of a museum) reminded me of a cross between the Cloud Club, Fenway house, and Sleep No More (all of which I think would be flattered by the comparison).

Bringing all the food from the market meant when we ran out of brain glucose after the Theatre-Museum, and before the Jewelry museum, we were able to refuel from tasty healthy things.


I loved both the jeweled arms, and the hands holding the tiny jewel-encrusted polyhedrons.


This was my favorite thing in the Jewelry Museum. The colors! The Art Nouveau! The intersection of organic and geometric!

 
The caterpillars! THE BLUE!


Corset ring!


It was a good thing the gift shop didn’t have appealing reproductions of either of these, or I would have been in trouble.

So yes: absolutely worth the drive.

We poked our noses in the gift shops around the museum, didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without, sadly, and decided the rest of Figueres didn’t look compelling (since at this point we’d missed admission to the local Castle, and also to Gala’s museum/tomb). So I directed us back towards Girona, with the hope that we might get there in time to see the Jewish history museum (Girona being a center of 13th century Jewish cabbalistic thought).

On the way to Girona, we passed by an incredibly bright red field, and I expressed a desire to pick a bouquet of poppies. So Eric pulled over to the side and I ran through the field (or rather, into the ditch), and picked a bunch of poppies that wilted almost immediately. It was still glorious.


Fortuitous/artistic overexposure!


And then Eric had to go across the street and take a picture himself.

When we got to Girona (and navigated crazy ancient-city-style parking) unfortunately, most places (despite some online claims to the contrary) are still on offseason hours, and the museum had closed half an hour before we got there.


They have a gorgeous riverwalk.

But we spent several awesome hours climbing around the tiny hill streets that reminded me strongly of Dubrovnik.


Time (and time-keeping devices!) march on, and wait for no man (or technology).


GIANT FOOT!


…I have no idea what’s going on here.


Really no idea. I can’t tell if it’s ecstatic, obscene, spiritual, or maybe all three.

And eventually we went to a Basque-style tapas place (meaning: tapas for dinner all the nights we’ve been here so far, which I am not objecting to!) Their tapas were pre-plated cold dishes filling an entire bar — you’d take your plate up, and grab skewers or small plates of things and bring them back to the table, and at the end they’d count the skewers and plates and total you up at E1.50/plate — kind of like dim sum or kaiten sushi. We had some lovely smoked salmon, and Iberican ham, and mussels, and a skewer with a qual egg and pickled things and an anchovy, and artichoke bits, and garlicky mushrooms, and finished it off with a tiny creme catalan and some crispy-chocolate-rolls-around-whipped-cream things. Lovely, and economical at once.
And now we are home, and Eric is still running a fever, so he may stay home to sleep tomorrow, and I may go explore the city by myself, we’ll see.


I’ve never seen street art/graffiti done like this before, scratched into soot-darkened concrete.