Following in the Footsteps of Dali Around Girona
Figueres, Spain. Salvador Dali was considered to be either a genius or a madman because of the creativity and imagination of his art in which he portrayed a surreal world of confusion and beauty.
A journey around the Spanish Costa Brava and its hinterland quickly shows that the area can be just as interesting and surreal as its most famous son.
“Dali wasn’t as eccentric as everyone thinks. He really only did mad things once he had the public’s attention,” explains 71-year-old Luis Duran, who first met the artist when he was still a child.
Dali used to to come the hotel belonging to Duran’s father in Figueres, a small town in the province of Girona, once a week for a meal. “He acted completely normally when he was alone with his wife Gala,” says Duran. “However, if he came with guests then he would get up to mad antics.”
It is hard to believe Duran’s claim that Dali was not an egomaniac after a visit to the spectacular Dali Theater Museum, a former municipal theater that houses the single largest and most diverse collection of works by the artist.
The old theater was bombed in the Spanish Civil War but in 1960 Dali and the mayor of Figueres decided to rebuild it as a museum.
The small coastal fishing village of Cadaques in the Alt Emporda comarca lies around 35 kilometers away from Figueres and is considered one of the most picturesque spots on the Costa Brava. Dali often visited Cadaques in his childhood, and later kept a home in Port Lligat, a small village on a bay next to the town.
There is a wonderful walking trail from Dali’s house to the Cap de Creus national park, the last outlet of the Pyrenees and the most easterly point of the Iberian Peninsula, where the artist used to love swimming.
The next stop after magical Cap de Creus is the Gala Dali Castle in Pubol. Dali bought the medieval building in 1969 because he had always promised Gala that he would one day make her the queen of a castle. Dali himself only lived there for a short period while Gala is buried there.
The castle is an exuberant creative effort by Dali. The lovely gardens outside the castle are home to spindly elephant sculptures. A visitor walking around the interior of the castle cannot help but be continually aware of Dali’s artistic genius.