There were two things Mo had stressed he wanted to see when we headed for Barcelona: everything Gaudi and the Dali museum. Gaudi, I had totally under control, but the Dali museum would mean sacrificing time in BCN and heading away from the city on a day trip. I too love Dali but wasn’t completely convinced that we should sacrifice a chunk of our time to see this crazy artists collection of works. However, I hadn’t ruled it out, I just kept it on the back burner thinking it would be a decision to make once we were there.
After a few days of exploring the city, during our Sandemans walking Gaudi tour, our guide Elena, dropped in that although she was devoted to the life and works of Gaudi – her all-time favourite exhibitions are the ones on show at Dali’s museum – and that she encouraged us all to not leave Barcelona without seeing it.
Decision made. A quick logistical chat with Elena and we decided we would definitely spend our last full day in Figueres.
There are lots of day trip tours out there to see Dali’s famous works, most include a morning in Girona (meant to be amazing) but most of them were in the region of 80euros per person, bit steep for a day coach trip and Mo and I couldn’t really justify spending nearly 200euros on travelling with a last minute group.
We decided to make our own way there by train. There are two train services that can take you to Figueres – the high speed and the local. Both of these you can catch from Barcelona-Sants station. The high speed train at 40euros pp takes just 50minutes whereas the local train at 24euros is double the time but half the price.
We decided to go for the cost effective option, I was looking forward to a couple of hours of window gazing and this way IF we had time we could always pop out for a stroll in Girona if we felt up to it.
The Dali Theatre-museum
When you arrive at Figueres, there’s a tourist information point at the train station, I only had to approach the desk and the gentleman pulled out a map and drew the route to the Theatre-museum before I even had the chance to open my mouth. Obviously an incredibly popular attraction. If you’re worried about not finding it, don’t be. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk away, it’s sign posted everywhere and if all else fails, follow the other tourists who are more than likely headed to the same place.
The sculptures start to appear as you make your way to the entrance.
I’m not going to lie, it was Saturday afternoon and there was a large crowd gathering outside the entrance however the queue to buy tickets and get inside moved very quickly, we weren’t waiting long at all. The entrance to the museum is 12euros, this includes a ticket to the Dali jewels exhibition which you can not afford to miss out on! (I repeat do NOT miss this).
The museum is FABULOUS. It’s called the Theatre-museum not because Dali was theatrical in the way he approached everything (which I believe he was), but as it is built up on the remains of the former Municipal Theatre of Figueres. It is now considered to be the last great work of Salvador Dalí. Everything that you see in the museum was designed by the artist, designed to take visitors on a journey through his mind (which can sometimes be quite a scary space).
So interesting, so different, so utterly insane. A collection of art like no other I have seen before, Dali really was ahead of his time in his thought path and abilities. Paintings, sketches, sculptures, holograms, science, tapestries, furniture, you name it – Salvadors done it.
Here are a couple of teaser pictures, but I didn’t want to put too many on as you really have to visit to do his work any justice. (IF you do want to look at my full gallery of pics I’ve got them all on my flickr page).
Dali jewels, or Dali-Joies, was something I didn’t know he had done and was a collection of hands-down the most beautiful jewellery I have ever seen (and I grew up in Saudi Arabia where gold and jewels are everywhere).
It wasn’t just the jewellery that was mind-blowing, it was the prep work and the ability of the jewellers from Carlos Alemany studios, to recreate Dalis vision to perfection. And it was all his vision, even down to the materials – he went as far as to take into account the symbolic meaning of the precious stones and metals he used (this man takes perfectionist to a whole new level).
After our jaw-dropping visit to the jewels exhibit, we found ourselves caught up in a rain shower. Not quite ready to deal with the downpour, we scuffled into the restaurant opposite to grab a quick bite to eat. Having parked ourselves in a place right opposite the museum I expected two things: the food to be expensive and for it to not be very good. Both assumptions thankfully turned out to be false.
The menu really did cater to all tastes (another warning sign that the food might be questionable). There was Spanish, Italian, meats, fish all sorts of different dishes on offer. Mo had been craving a pizza so his mind was set and I decided on a few tapas options: cod fritters, chili prawns, patatas bravas (of course).
The food was really good! I was pleasantly surprised. Cod fritters were delicious, I would get them again and again. Oh and at the start of the meal they placed two gravy boats on the table, one with pickles and one with a garlic aioli. I devoured both. I have a super soft spot for garlic infused mayo and this was the closest one to perfection I just could not stop myself. Needless to say it wasn’t the best move on my part as it didn’t make me ideal company for the remainder of the day (not that I cared, it was too good to leave any behind, poor Mo).
Once the rain had subsided Mo and I strolled back through town to the train station, unfortunately we couldn’t stick around too long as we had plans back in Barcelona that evening. We did stop to admire some of the local points of interest:
All in all it scares me to think that we almost didn’t make a trip out to Figueres, especially as the Theatre-Museum is probably the most amazing museum I have ever visited (did you get that? EVER).
I loved Dali as a painter, but I never appreciated his greatness as a visionary. When I visited Barcelona last year I returned home with a complete obsession in the life and works of Antoni Gaudi. Although this passion hasn’t disappeared, I now have the added pleasure of indulging in learning more about Senor Salvador.
How amazing that all this inspiration can be found within such a small area. Catalonia really is an Artists dream destination. Can’t wait to see what other artistic discovery awaits the next time I visit…
Anyone else visited an attraction that has sparked a passion? or simply inspired you to want to learn more?