We had just spent 3 days in Barcelona and decided that it would be worth taking the rail up to the sleepy Catalonian town of Figueres. What’s in Figueres? None other than the one of two major museums dedicated to the works of Salvador Dali. Also, Figueres is Dali’s hometown. I happen to be a huge Dali fan and my wife happens to be a fan of adventure, so she was more than onboard with the plan to visit this little town.
Our adventure started early on a Sunday morning, where we grabbed a small breakfast croissant, two cortados, and caught a high-speed train from the Barcelona-Sants station. An hour and a half later and we were now firmly in Catalonian territory and headed towards the center of Figueres.
As we made our way towards the museum, we were enamored by the sleepy Sunday stroll. Shops were closed, streets were empty, and no children could be found in the park. It actually had a very surreal feeling- something not lost on us as we ventured towards this surrealist artists tomb/museum.
Regardless, we loved our walk and took our time getting to the museum. We had picked up a ham sandwich along our previous travels and shared bites as we admired the architecture and landscaping along the route.
The Dali Theatre and Museum
If you’re a fan of Dali, as I am, then you might already know that there are two major museums dedicated to the works of Salvador Dali. One is in St Petersburg, Florida, established by Reynolds and Eleanor Morse in 1982. The museum is most notable for its surrealist architecture and for its massive collection. In fact, this museum houses more masterpieces than any other collection in the world, even more so than the collection in Figueres, Spain.
The second major museum is the one built and designed by Salvador Dali himself, The Dali Theatre and Museum. The museum is notably Dali’s final piece of work and was intended by the artist to be a surrealist experience from start to finish. Throughout the museum, it is obvious that Dali had a role in every aspect of the build. From the site selection, the old theater in the center of his hometown in Spain, to the very crypt that Dali is buried in, beneath the theaters stage.
The museums collection features a vast array of Dali’s works; from paintings, sculptures, linotypes, and photographs. There is even a collection of works by artists that Dali collected over the years, featuring works by; El Greco, Duchamp, and Bougereau.
My Love for Dali
I have been a long time fan and admirer of the works of Salvador Dali. My fascination with his artwork all stems from an old coffee table book that I came across in my Great Grandfather’s adobe home. My great Grandfather had many books in his home, in fact there was more real estate devoted to his books than there was for anything else.
One day during a visit to his home I found a book with some really trippy looking art. Let it be known that my Great Grandfather had a lot of inappropriate books for a 10 year old to be looking at, he had quite a healthy appetite for pulp fiction novelas and comics. So I was already thinking that I wasn’t supposed to be looking at whatever this was. Still, like a moth to flame, I was drawn in.
It wouldn’t be until my late teenage years that I’d reconnect with the works of Salvador Dali. Again through coffee table books, only this time while rummaging through thrift store jungles. Tying to appear worldly and sophisticated, I bought them and placed them on the shelves of my basement bedroom apartment. I would’t truly appreciate Dali’s work until the Summer that I discovered Marijuana.
In all seriousness, I would find myself spending hours reading excerpts about his work, fascinated by the peculiar title that he’d name them, and losing myself in the surreal nature of his subjects. I loved dissecting the image, both in artistic technicality as well as breaking down what Dali was trying to say. Now, as an adult, I’m not sure I am anywhere closer to understanding what the hell these paintings mean any more than I did as a young man- though I do understand his devotion to his muse, Gala.
Lunch in Figueres
Following our visit to the Dali museum, we were famished- So it was with completely open arms that we made our way towards a Michelin rated restaurant right by the museum, Bocam.
The staff was more than welcoming and must have seen that we looked hungry and tired, because they graciously accepted us despite starting to turn overpart of the dining room for dinner. The meal was amazing, as one would expect, and left us beyond satisfied.
Our lunch started with a Mushroom Lasagna with Parmesan cream. When I say this was one of the creamiest, dreamiest things I’ve ever tasted, I mean it was CREAMY! so good. We followed that up with a Salmon Tartar on a Brioche bun and a grilled Sea bass with seasonal veggies. We paired that with a bottle of Gerisena Blanc Ampolla.
Following lunch we had time to kill, so we decided to explore the town a little bit. Without meaning to, we ended up at La Plaza Rambla, where we sat down and enjoyed the sunshine while sipping on Campari and Espresso.
Eventually the day came to a close and we took the short train ride back home, where we found a pizzeria that served American Craft beer! To make it feel even more like home, the TV played an episode of Friends. It was a perfect end to our time in Northern Spain before heading down to Cordoba in the Andalucia region.
Hello! My name is Damian.
This is my blog and these are my travels! I have been lucky enough to see so many great wonders of the world- and still so many left to see! I’d love to hear from you, even if it’s just to give me an idea on where to travel to next. Feel free to drop me a line any time you’d like.