A Travellerspoint blog


Let's Visit Salvador Dali's Home

George Reporting..

sunny 72 °F
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Salvador Dali has always been an intriguing artist to me. Growing up, I remember him being somewhat scary and his artwork perplexing and disconcerting. As I evolved into an artist myself, I came to appreciate what he was attempting to do for art and the 'artist'. Dali was to 'crazy artist' as Dean Martin was to 'boozy crooner'. They both created personas that heightened their art and set them apart. Dali was never a phony because he knew the artist should be as free as possible. He was also a 'griefer' who spoke, painted (and acted) to truthfully for most people to bear. Whatever you think of his personality, his artistry was unmistakably unique and ground-breaking. I had always been influenced by his work but really didn't know how much so until I came here to Cadeques, Spain.

So lets pay a visit to Senor Dali at his casa in Port Lligat. You may tell him he is a 'great artist' but he'll probably say, "That's true... but you're still stupid!"

Begin with enjoying coffee and a croissant or perhaps a slice of pizza at the Dali statue located on the beach in the center of Cadaques.

Stroll up and over the crooked, stone street that leads to Port Lligat and look for Dali's white house among all the other white houses. Hint: Look for the house with the two silver heads on the roof.

Quietly amble up the steps leading to his front door.

Knock or bang loudly (depending upon your artistic temperament) at the front door because no doorbell is apparent. If so moved, shout "Hey Gala? Is Sally home!??!"

You would see this welcoming face.

Then you are welcomed (maybe) into this first room which was actually the only room in the house when Dali bought it as a young, struggling artist after being kicked out by his father.

After finding success, Dali expanded his one room house. Now you could be insulted and vexed in his new living room.

OR you could visit him in his studio.

Here was one of the last pieces Dali worked on. Apparently he was painting Bruce Jenner. It just shows you how ahead of his time Dali was.

As Dali made more money, he added several rooms accessible via strange hallways like this one.

One hallways will lead you to the serenity of his patio. Try to find the Michelin man if you can.

Or stroll through the large, terraced olive groves adjacent to the house.

Dali might ask you if you'd like a drink. If you say "Yes", don't be surprised if he knocks you into the pool.

There are strange rooms that double as art pieces every where on the property. This one is NOT the WC!

Here is Burning Man's father Sleeping Man.

Exit Dali's home and search for your pride/sanity in the waters just outside the house.

The End.

Posted by woa 12:42 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Game of Hide and Seek

George Reporting

sunny 75 °F
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I awoke this morning in Cadeques thinking about my childhood. I don't know why exactly. Perhaps it was the sliver of morning light that stole into our 2nd story hotel room that reminded me that something beautiful and hidden awaited outside? As I drew the curtains, a typical Cadeques Spring morning revealed itself to me. Suddenly, I was recalling some feelings I had as a child. Feelings like the wonder of nature and the giddy mysteries that exist outside filled with fortunes awaiting to be discovered under some rocks or near a tree. My childhood imaginations created amazing adventures whenever the sky was clear, the sun was warm and the air was fresh with the smell of poetry.
I ventured out into the early morning alone, slowly creeping along the craggy, undulating 'lanes'(they are too narrow to truly be called 'streets'). I surfed the wave-like paths and touched every plant along the way as if I were a plastic bag pushed along in every direction by a quietly courageous wind. The more I explored, the more I sunk deeper into the notion of what childhood was like.
I returned back to the room and scooped up my wife for an early morning breakfast over-looking the boat filled harbor. As we ate, my eyes stared at the shoreline that disappeared then reappeared the farther I looked into the beyond. We decide to take an impromptu hike along the left shore banks to discover what this lovely town had to offer. After about an hour, I realized that this was quite possibly the most beautiful walk/hike I had ever done. In addition, I realized something new about why I was traveling so much this year.
Thinking back as a young child, I remembered how much I enjoyed playing 'Hide and Seek' with myself. I think I was usually trying to hide from anyone, people mostly, and I was also seeking something at the same time. I always felt there was some kind of treasure lurking just around the corner but in actuality it was the golden illumination of mystery that exists in your mind when your a child first experiencing the outside world on your own.
They say the first, powerful experiences you have as a child shape your entire life. History says Salvador Dali used to visit Cadeques frequently as a child. When you spend time walking along the Costa Brava shoreline, you begin to feel like you are on some strange, beautiful planet where bizarre forms and shapes jut out towards you from every direction. It's a planet where straight lines barely exist and where every path, lane, street and house seems to bend in weird ways like an expressionist painting. The clear Mediterranean waters are inviting but somewhat scary as patches of darkness are scattered underwater like big shadow-monsters. Even human built structures seem to have their own personalities and faces. The pockmarked sea rocks peer back at you, at certain points, like haunted skull/faces!

Because the winter weather here is a harsh cabal of howling winds, all the trees and shrubs contort outwardly in a shocking manner
as if performing a Moe Howard impersonation.

It was fascinating for me to imagine a young Salvador Dali hiking these very same trails and seeing the very same things. As an adult, my imagination was taking off with every step and I wondered what this would have looked like to me as a child.
Which brings me back to one of the reasons I am traveling this much. I've come to realize that I am trying to capture those aspects of childhood that were so meaningful then. Travel is my attempt to recapture the wonder, mystery and discovery in exploring the world for the first time.
One loses all that as you get older and come to see the world in that harsh light of reality that eventually destroys all your childhood illusions.
I always felt more comfortable on my own, away from the crowd, discovering some new hidden beauty around a new corner or a the water's edge. I now understand that that is my initial understanding of the world and one of the important ways I stay sane amid the insanity of human reality.
Dali returned to Cadeques as an adult and bought a few homes here. No doubt it was an escape back to the comfort of his childhood where he felt kinship with the strange, weird landscape that exists here. Moreover, I can even see how Gaudi and other Spanish artists felt comfortable working with the chaotic forms and shapes of the windswept Spanish Costa Brava.
Recreating your childhood, is that what it all comes down to?
For what reason am I trying to recreate my childhood? Fear of getting older? Fear of anxiety? Fear of losing my imagination? Fear of not living enough or fear of living too much?
Fear of death?
Fear of living too long?
Fear of death?
I've said that. *

  • Props to Raymond Carver for that last part.

Posted by woa 06:44 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Not enough time


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First view of the Mediterranean from our train:

A few days is not enough time to see all we wanted to see in beautiful Barcelona. It's a big city. We plan to come back in June following a cruise.

The Gaudi Sagrada Familia

Lunch in the park near the Arc de Triumph:

Barcelona Cathedral

Park Güell, one of the major works of Gaudí in Barcelona

The home Gaudi lived in for 20 years in Park Güell

Joan Miró Park

The Montjüic Park is a large area with so much to see, including amazing views! (http://www.whatbarcelona.com/montjuic-park-barcelona.html)

We had a nice dinner at a restaurant on top of the former bullfight arena (which has a mall inside) building

See you again in June Barcelona after our Mediterranean cruise. Onward to Turin, Italy today to the Holy Shroud of Turin!

Posted by woa 01:31 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Where Fools, Tourists and Pilgrims Tread

George Reporting...

sunny 85 °F
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The bus arrives in Valencia and we need to walk only 100 feet to our hotel. I've started to look for accommodations closer to train/bus stations so that it isn't such a chore to drag our bags. Fortunately we stay at the very nice Hotel Turia which overlooks the former Turia river-turned-greenpark.

Checking in/unpacking bags/setting up wifi is now a fast process and within 20 mins we are out the door again to try and catch a bike tour that leaves in 30 mins. Without reservations there is a good chance we won't be able to do a tour today but it's fun to roll the dice from time to time. Luckily, we were able to snag the last TWO bikes for the tour and we are off. The 10 person bike tour is led by Chantal who looks remarkably (from a certain angle) like my sister Sylvia. Should I be surprised to see people in Spain who look like relatives? Anyway, I immediately like Chantal and can't stop looking at her and think about my dear sister. At the start of the tour, Chantal asks each one of us what we've already seen in Valencia. Most people have already been here at least a day and have seen quite a bit. When she gets to us, we can only tell her that we've been in Valencia less than an hour and have seen nada. So off we all go. Enjoy the bike pics from the 3 hour tour which includes scenes that can be seen in the new George Clooney movie 'Tomorrow Land'. Too bad this tour doesn't come with a butt massage at the end because we both needed it!
Wiped out from the days bus and bike adventures, we somehow find something to eat close to midnight. The next day is filled with blue sky and sun but in came the hottest day of the year in Valencia. The official temperature was 113 degrees but we still went out anyway determined to see the main highlights in Valencia and (surprise) a trip to see the Holy Grail which Andrea discovered is right here in Valencia. Along the way, we see some amazing sights.
Some years ago we went in search of the grail and wrote about it. (click here). Frankly, I had no idea that Valencia was the home of the cup of Jesus and so we were on a mission to walk through the desert-like heat to find the grail. Andrea learned that we only need to find the 'Almudin' museum which hosts a fine, fine exhibition about the grail. It isn't easy to find the Almudin in this heat and we stop at any shade we can find for a respite. After a few twists and turns we find the building which has nowhere on it the name 'Almudin'. We decide to ask a lady, who looks like a local, where the Almudin is and she looks at us and basically gestures that we are standing right in front if it. She must of thought us fools. Anyway, the Almudun soon reopens. In Spain, places open for a few hours in the morning and then close in mid day only to reopen again around 3pm. The Almudin is wonderful, free and would be worth paying to go to in any event. Everything is in either Spanish or English and you are thrown into the mystery of the grail as you transverse its history right up to the time a priest dropped it and broke it. He soon became ill and died because he was so affected by this accident. Imagine making yourself sick and dying over a broken cup? Ah but this is no ordinary cup! Keep your free Almudin ticket because it will allow you free entry to go see the grail which is located inside the astonishing Catedral of Valencia, located 3 blocks from the Almudin. As we walk to enter the Cathedral, a strong hot wind nearly fells us. "Was this the breath of God", I thought? We enter and like two weary, hot pilgrims, we slowly make our way into the chamber holding the grail. These pics are a shallow example of what I was feeling as I viewed the cup held by Jesus at the Last Supper.

We leave and venture out to explore more of lovely Valencia and stay cool by drinking either beer/sangria or eating gelato. We finally make it back to our hotel and enjoy some nice chinese food. "Chinese food?? What about Paella??", you might wonder. Well, paella will happen manana and sometimes we just like to eat stuff we know we like! lol

The next day is filled yet with more adventure. I was able to email my way onto a tour run by a guy named Mike. His tour is exceptional in that it takes you out of the city of Valencia and into the beautiful nature areas that many people (including local Spaniards) are unaware of. His tour is really the only one that takes you to the clear water springs about an hour outside of the city. His tour is so rare, a young prince (who shall not be named) took it not too long ago. This wonderful tour includes the opportunity to swim in cenote-like waters which was discovered only about 40 years ago. Surrounding it are incredible cliffs and scenery and so much clean, clear gushing water that would make any Californian drool. Speaking of California, much of the scenery we saw looked a lot like California park land. It would be just like driving through the CA Sierra Nevadas except there would be, you know, hundreds year old ruins and castles here and there. Again here, there is phenomenal amounts of fresh water gushing out of places and you need only stick your water bottle under a pipe that's been flowing for centuries to get refilled. I suppose Spain had several centuries to figure out how to access nearly limitless amounts of fresh water. But here too they have had to deal with rain-free years but somehow fresh water is seemingly very much available.

I promised our tour guide I wouldn't reveal too much about the secret locations he takes us to, which includes an excellent restaurant complete with wine drunken from the bladder of a goat!, but these pics might give a clue.
We return around 6pm and rest up before going out for a plate of paellla. (There, you happy now?) I've never had paella before but am told that it was invented here in Valencia. Okay, so I have my first paella in Valencia. I guess it's a little like buying your first light bulb from Thomas Edison or drinking your first martini in San Francisco.
So now it is on to Barcelona via train! Valencia, I would love to see you again!

The pics below are courtesy of Mike's tour.

Posted by woa 15:10 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

The Knights of Your Travel Dreams

George Reporting..

sunny 85 °F
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"Take me to Portugal
take me to Spain.
Take me, Spanish Caravan.
Yes I know you can." -The Doors

The Spanish bus (ALSA) carries us through Spanish lands. Past hills and mountains past gorse strewn highways and past white homes and small towns that appear out of nowhere.

Our bus driver, I've decided, is a knight driving the shining armor bus guiding us to our next destination like the Knights Templar of old who used to guide pilgrims to the Holy Land. Bus drivers, airline pilots, boat captains, and those orange clad sentinels standing at the train platforms making sure you are getting on the correct train, are the knights of your travel dreams. They work to make sure you achieve your travel goals even though
they probably just consider it their 'job'. But in reality, without these people and all the others you come across who assist you in some way, are special types who help you along your path. I always say "thank you" to them in the most sincere way I can. I've decided to be more like them except without the expectation of being paid for it.
I remember the time we were strolling along the garden paths in front of the Lisbon Bullfighting ring named Campo Pequeno when I hear a sharp groan from an older woman who had just fallen hard nearby as if felled by an invisible bull. I rushed over and helped her up. As she brushed off the gravel from her hands, she kept saying, "Abrigado, abrigado", one of the few words I knew in Portuguese. She was okay and off she continued on her path of life. I was left with a strange feeling like I just pole vaulted for the world record in the Decathlon. There were other people around but I was the only one who cared enough to help this lady. For an instant, I expected the pole vault medal to be handed to me but then I thought how shallow and self-centered it was of me to think I deserved something for this act. Instead, I felt the need to retrain my mind to understand how I was really feeling and what I should expect from it.

I thought back to the other times I reached out to others on this trip offering some kind of help. In some cases, the help is rejected or unneeded. In others, people reached out to me and I was unable to help because I couldn't understand the language. The latter happened in nearly every country we visited where somebody would come up to me seeming to ask for direction to a station or town. From the expression in their face and eyes, I could tell they seemed a bit lost but I could only offer, " Nien sprechen sie deutsch" or "No Fahler Portuguese y Espanol". A few times, I was able to help those who were holding maps, but those were in English speaking countries.
Also, I help without really trying. When I walk by people waiting at a bus/train station, they begin to clutch their backpacks and handbags, more tightly. They are checking to see they have their important belongings and generally become more aware of their surroundings as if
I signal to them that those things should be done just now. "Good", I think to myself. These people should be reminded to watch their stuff because there are people out there trying to rip you off. I haven't met any yet and I hope they don't either because it would put the kibosh on their trip.

What a great job it would be to just help travelers get from place to another? Although they are paid, I am admiring more and more the station attendants who patrol the various train/plane/ship platforms like sentinels guarding the crossroads of everybody's travel Dreams.
They (and those like them) are offering help so we can continue our quest, continue our pilgrimage, seek our next unknown destination, fulfill our travel dreams. etc. etc.

What a wonderful way to go through life, to just be able to say everyday, "Let me help."

Posted by woa 14:18 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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