Thanks Ryanair, one Dirham each way to Girona ensured the little break I was taking started off cheaply. Had no idea of itinerary (just how I like it) so on arrival got the hire car and roared around Girona with no concept or plan (just how I like it) and then discovered no room at the inn wherever I checked (not quite how I like it). It was getting late at this stage so head for the hills I thought, although what hills and in what direction didnt seem to matter.
Saw a sign for Figueres 35k so thought that will do and not long later arrived eventually into the Ramblas or main square, looking for parking I turned left and almost jumped out of my seat as I was confronted by the most bizarre sight. For those who have been here you will know it is the Dali Museum, which the great man designed and eventually was buried within, but I was totally unprepared for the sight. More like a cake made by Delia Smith after a pint of Absinthe, it consisted of bright red walls studded with plastercast brioche or local bread, one level up nude gold mannequins struck absurd poses whilst the roof had row after row of giant eggs.
Soon it became all clear this was the birthplace of the fabled nutter/genius and I was in the heart of the Dali Triangle so called because his main house was also around here at Port LLigat and a castle bought for the missus/muse Gala was down the road at Pubol. My holiday was now taking on some kind of purpose, to get an insight into this fabulously talented individual.
My first observation which would not be too obvious to many Dali acolytes is that his talent although influenced by the incredible Emporda landscape was definitely defined by.....the wind! This is no ordinary wind or Levante as we knew it on the Costa de Luz where I used to live on the Atlantic west coast of Spain. There it literally turned people mad/bonkers/doolally regularly especially after a few weeks of constant howling, consequently Tarifa on tip of S. Spain has a somewhat dubious reputation for very creative suicides. In the Emporda region of Catalunya though it was more intense which would have had a definite effect on the light, cloud formation, rock shapes and bent and denuded trees not to mention the inside of Salvadors brain as the wind whistled Dixie at full blast.
Indeed in the time he was growing up here people leaving the bars in the Ramblas after a few sherberts were given two bricks, one for each pocket to weight them down from the wind as they stumbled home at a 45 degree angle, I kid you not!!
Anyway this town had touches of the great man everywhere you looked sometimes inadvertantly for instance the tame hiccuping pigeon walking in circles outside the museum, just coincidence I know but also the strangely lifelike trees around town with their knobbly boney branches like skeletal fingers grasping at the sky have figured in lots of his works. And dont get me started on the Town Hall clock which overlooked the Emporium Cafe, still there, where he whiled away days writing a draft for Le Chien Andalou, a Surrealist classic movie. He must have felt time slipping, dripping, tripping and ticking/tocking away as he scribbled away obtusely especially if he was dabbling in the Absinthe that seems to feature behind the bars here. Now that and the wind would explain everything methinks.
Needless to say the museum is everything you would expect and somewhat more, I would urge anyone to visit to see the mix of kitsch, surrealism, high art, junk all dressed up, messed up and in the end serving its main purpose which is to entertain and enthrall in equal measure. Many surprises around every corner including his exquistely designed jewellery which showed another hitherto unrecognised side to his talent especially one piece that had a beating heart ruby centrepiece, yes moving jewellery folks now theres a notion. How about a necklace that waves at passers by Salvador or rotating earrings, the list is endless or maybe not hey, maybe its the wind effect and I've only been here a day!!