Monday, August 9, 2010

Garrigas, Dali's House, and the Costa Brava

A few weeks ago I had the chance to go up the Costa Brava and stay at my friend Pau's parents' weekend home in the small town of Garrigas, Spain. The Costa Brava is the name of the Spanish coast as you go north from Barcelona all the way up to the French border. Garrigas is located inland a bit from the coast and is tiny village with what looks like about a hundred houses in the middle of all farms.

The drive along the coast is super scenic and full of small towns and great views like this:

...and this...

...and, finally, this:

We spent Saturday evening after the ride up to Garrigas at Pau's aunt's house eating the most amazing cold soup his dad made for us and drinking all his aunt's wine. After dinner, we all hung out on her roof deck and checked out the stars. It was a great evening.

The next morning, almost all the way up the coast, not too far from the French border, we arrived at Cadaques. The town itself is a nice place to hang out but it's really known as the home of one of its most famous residents, Salvador Dali. His home is open for tours and is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. It's full of stuff he collected over the years and even has some of his original artwork on display. Here's a view of the house:

The first room you enter on the tour is the Hall of the Bear. I'm not quite sure why it's named that but I posed for a picture in front of this lamp while waiting there:

Dali, in a quest for a minimalist lifestyle, started out with the home being something like a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage. Over the years, he added on one room at time. It didn't seem that his minimalist experiment was much of a success as it's now a big house. Here's his workshop where he painted. There are two original paintings on display:

Dali was definitely detail-oriented. This is a shot of the seating area just in front of the bedroom. He installed this mirror at an angle so that he could see the sunrise from his bed:

The inside of the house, like I mentioned, is full of his collection of "stuff". It reminds me of why I don't want a lot of "stuff" anymore. It's honestly kinda' crazy and somewhat looks like a yard sale waiting to happen. On the outside, the house in some ways reminded me of Cesar Manrique's house I visited in Lanzarote. It features lots of details, cool stone work, and bright white paint everywhere. I especially like this small window that looks out from a patio over the sea:

For some reason, Dali had an egg thing going on at the house. This out building is called the Pigeon Loft and has a big egg on top and branches sticking out of the side. It was artistic to say the least...

On the back side of the house is a large swimming pool area. It's full of crazy sculptures, silly furniture, and fountains. As with the rest of the house, it had a 70s hipster (or porn star) feel too it. :-)

This is large sculpture Dali made on the hillside next to the house. It's called Christ of the Rubbish and is made out of the finest materials available to Dali at the time of its creation:

After heading out from Cadaques, we stopped in the small town of Castellfollit de la Roca. The entire village is built on top of a giant rock "finger" that drops off on both sides. It's situated between two rivers and is about three buildings wide. It is impressive looking to say the least. In this photo, note the church all the way on the left end of the town:

This photo was taken from the bell tower of the church and shows some of the town and one of the rock walls.

We also stopped in several other small towns during the fun-filled weekend, including Figueres and Besalu, but unfortunately I don't have any good photos to share. It was a super-so-fun weekend. Thanks to Pau and his wife Pili for the hospitality and, once again, to Diana for sharing her friends with me. Thanks!!!

On the way home, we stopped to play a game that Pau grew up playing. He said something about it being a summertime Catalan tradition, the rules of which have been handed down for generations. Here we can see Pau playing the game with Pili:

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