Monday, March 30, 2015

Figueres, Spain: Ferme La Porte

Our last view of the Mediterranean Sea at L'Escala
John has a brick in his pannier called the Lonely Planet Guide to France.  It weighs a good pound and a half, but it is quite useful for reading about things to see when first arriving in a new region. We found the equivalent guide for Spain that was just a few years old at a thrift store before we left, and since we were only going to be in Spain for a short period, we ripped out the pages for the area we would pass through.  No use having John carry two bricks. 

The description for the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres captured our interest.  The Picasso museum in Barcelona had a special exhibit of Dali’s works, and it was weird enough for us to want to see more.  So we decided to detour a bit to take an afternoon to visit the museum.

Interior courtyard at the Dali Museum.
The museum is housed in a former theater from the 14th century that was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War.  Salvador Dali was born in Figueres in 1904, and by the time he purchased the building in 1961 he was well known and rich.  He spent the last part of his creative life transforming it.  If all you know about Dali is melting clocks, then a visit to this museum will make you appreciate his crazy genius.  Every angle, corridor, stairwell had some kind of surprise -- paintings, sketches, mirrors, jewelry, and sculptures that expressed his vision in multi-dimensions.  Even the exterior was art.
One of a series of sketches by Dali -- kind of a fairy tale look, but the subject is definitely not for kids.

The Mae West room -- the lips are a couch, the eyes are paintings, but peer through the looking glass and she comes into focus!

Eggs are a frequent symbol in Dali's work, but I am still trying to figure out the meaning.
According to the remnant of our guide there was a campground on the outskirts of town that opens in January.  Arriving at the locked gate with a closed sign, we were surprised, but that is what happens when you buy old used books.  We slipped past the barricade and took a look around, and the water faucets worked fine.  We could set up our tent in between a couple of the permanent trailers unseen.  So we were settling in when a vehicle pulled up.  It turned out to be the property owner, making a drive-through before opening the campground the next day. 

He did not speak English, but he tried French, Spanish, and Catalon, of which John chose French to piece together a conversation.  Our bikes were our passport as travelers, and if he was angry that we trespassed he did not express it.  He just wanted to make sure we took our trash and shut off the water and left the place as we found it.  He kept talking and we kept nodding.  He showed us the bathrooms were open and we looked inside and we nodded.  And he kept talking and we kept nodding and he looked back at the open bathroom door and we kept nodding, and then realized he was repeating “ferma la porta, ferma la porta”.  Of course, of course, close the door!
Our little tent at the scene of the trespass.
We assured him we would be gone by 8am the next day, and maybe he was not so sure we understood all his directions, because he came by promptly the next morning. But all was good, -- John asked him if he could pay, and yes ,10 euros would be fine, and the money was exchanged.  We smiled and thanked him and John shook his hand and he gave me a kiss on both cheeks.  And we closed the door on our way out.
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Frogworld said...

Amazing place, this Dali Museum! Just took a bizarre "Visite Virtuelle" from following the museum link in your blog post. Each picture opens to a 360 view of the place, even can see the strange ceiling art. Now I don't have to go there! Thanks. Bonnie

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