At home, I love taking day trips to various places within about two hours of driving– places like San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Monterey, or even Santa Cruz. In Spain, we drove to check out some cool attractions that were within an hour or two of driving. We of course visited Barcelona multiple times to see what it held, but two other places really captivated me as well.
A town teeming with culture and history, Figueres is most famous for being the birthplace of Spanish artist Salvador Dali.
A few of us took one of the cars from the villa to Figueres, the drive being about two hours long (if I remember correctly, that is… I was sleeping the entire way). The objective was to spend a few hours in the Dali museum and find a good place for lunch afterwards.
The building that is currently the major Dali museum was originally a theater, existing when Dali was a child. During the Spanish Civil War, it was burned to the ground, but the mayor of the town decided to rebuild it to showcase Dali’s work. Dali designed the museum himself, and his style is evident in all aspects of it.
I knew what building we were looking for immediately.
The ruby-red outside was covered in odd knobby objects which I originally assumed were meant to be cauliflowers. (My mom told me later that they’re actually modeled after pieces of bread, since Dali had a fascination with both bread and eggs. We saw lots of eggs in his art.)
This was by far the most unusual museum I have ever seen.
The stairs twisted every way, art pieces lining the walls of varying material from wood to concrete to old bricks. In the main room, a large dome in the ceiling allowed natural light to stream in, illuminating the largest mural in the museum.
My favorite pieces in the museum were definitely the sketches and cartoon-ish characters in the very first hallway we explored. Maybe it’s because the varying levels of detail within just one piece reminded me a bit of how I tend to do my own sketches, maybe it’s because the level of skill in those ink strokes is something I hope to achieve… either way, I thoroughly enjoyed admiring each sketch individually.
This place indirectly taught me about uniqueness; I’ve never seen a museum like this before, one that’s so out there and unapologetically different from the standard idea of what a museum should look like.
And it’s for its differences that I loved it so much.
A multi-peaked mountain a little ways from Barcelona, Montserrat provided some seriously breathtaking views.
We drove on those curvy roads for about an hour before we reached the head of a trail that led to a monastery. The architecture was stunning, with golden arches reaching towards the sky.
My favorite part of Montserrat by far though was hiking up the trails to see the view over the valleys. We took a tram up to the head of the trails (these mountains are really tall) and from there just went up.
Montserrat was peaceful. Yes, there were tons of other people bustling around to get places, making noises in their own ways, but my mind was not racing for once– instead, it was simply walking, absorbed in the music playing out of my earphones and enjoying the views.