Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday May 16, 2015

Another busy day. Up early and to the train station for a high speed train ride to Figures, the hometown of Salvador Dali. We visited the Dali Theater-Museum with our favorite guide, Jessica who earlier in the week guided us through the Picasso Museum and the Gothic Quarter. 

When we got to Figures the Tramontana wind was a-blowin. These dry, cold winds come down from the Pyrenees and race through this part of Spain. Dali blamed the wind for his perceived mental instability.

The museum is immediately recognizable as it includes a geodesic dome on the roof, a cornice of giant eggs and loafs of the local bread stuck to the outside walls.

Inside things only get stranger. There is a Cadillac with a smashed window that rains inside it when you insert money. 

There is a woman with a loaf of bread on her head and a giant pixelated image of Abraham Lincoln, lots of double images (paintings which illustrate two images simultaneously), many attempts to depict the "fourth dimension" and then, of course, the famous melting clock.

I am making fun which of course is easy to do because Dali is so outrageous but for those of you who think he is nothing but outrageousness here is an example of one of his more realistic paintings.

After the Dali museum it was back on the train for the trip to Girona. This lovely town is quite old and includes Roman artifacts, original city walls, Romanesque and Gothic churches as well as traditional narrow, cobbled "streets" (really alleyways).

Note the Pyrenees in the background 

Russell touching the original Roman walls

Today they were having their annual flower festival in Girona which meant that there were installations of flower art located throughout the town. Of course it also meant that the town was quite crowded but with locals not tourists (such as ourselves). 

Jessica, our guide, asked me what I thought about my visit to Spain and I am afraid I had nothing very profound to share with her. I have to say though that I am worried about this part of Spain. It has so much to offer and so many interesting things to see that I can certainly understand why there are so many visitors. But of course with visitors come problems as the tourist industry will and I suspect already is gradually suffocating other businesses.  The tension is beginning to show. Yesterday at the food market we visited I went to take a photo of a display of chickens that were plucked but still had their heads on, something that I had never seen before. I was told "No photos" by the brusque vendor and walked off wondering to myself why no photos. Our cooking teacher later explained that some of the the vendors in the market don't like the tourists because all they want to do is snap pictures and clog the aisles making life difficult for their regular customers. Of course I can see their point but I also know that this market is truly something special and from a tourist's perspective well worth seeing. It is also located twenty five paces off the main tourist drag, The Ramblas. So what to do? Fortunately, it appears that the locals have not yet abandoned this market despite the number of tourists but how long can that be expected to continue? I guess the most profound thought that I've had with regards to this visit to Barcelona is one that occurred to me fairly early on in our visit and that is: "Is Barcelona being loved to death?" I don't have the answer and I suspect that Barcelona will not be the only place about which I ask that question this summer.

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