Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homage to Catalonia 2

Left Girona and headed east towards Begur and the coast. Begur is an undistinguished town devoted to relieving tourists of their money before they carry on to the coast. It's full of shops selling tat and overpriced restaurants - despite its spectacular location is hardly worth a visit. It does however, like most villages and towns in Catalonia, have a 24-hour manned municipal car park that costs only 30 cent an hour.

On to Fornells, a small harbour with a tiny beach - mostly occupied by the Catalan and French middle classes with a sprinkling of upper crust Brits. We stay in a nearby hotel and read to the sound of the lapping sea. Nice.

Next stop Figueres where the plan is to visit the Dali museum. We walked around this fly-blown unattractive city for over an hour without encountering a reasonable restaurant or bar. The Dali museum however made the visit worthwhile. Apart from a range of his paintings and drawings, he presided over the entire design of the building, which is a work of art in itself, or a grand folly maybe. You have to chuckle at the sight of a building decorated with croutons and topped with eggs. The old buffoon is buried in the crypt but he provides plenty to amuse us as we wend our way down there. Artistically the highlight for me was his pen and ink drawings but there was a fair sprinkling of his surrealist masterpieces worth seeing also. Gala's charms are featured regularly of course. There were plenty of curiosities including a holograph of Dali and the giant Mae West face - best viewed through a reducing lens set up on a platform above.

The road from Figueres to Cadaques is remarkable for the number of roundabouts that inhibit your progress. These devices have their place but someone in the Catalan local government has gone mad - it's as if all roads must be granted equal status and the idea of a main road is some corrupt Castillian notion. Cadaques is now of course a tourist resort and not the sleepy fishing village beloved of Picasso. It's still worth a visit though for its beautiful setting.