We decided upon leaving Girona to have a Dali Day. Less than half an hour from the city is the tiny village of Púbol where in 1969 Salvador Dali bought a small medieval castle and restored it as a gift for his wife, Gala which she accepted on the condition that he would only visit her when specifically invited. Her reason being passion wanes with familiarity, unless the courting rituals are withheld! Ha! Ha!
The journey although short was pretty and the wildflowers in the fields were breathtaking.
The castle was cosy, neither dark, vast nor cold and although full of kitsch, not as wacky as you would expect. It is mysterious, romantic and considerably beautiful. The kitchen a bit basic so obviously Gala didn´t do much cooking but the whole place felt lived in. I have never thought of Gala as a great beauty, although she was not averse to “getting her kit off” but she did wear some rather stunning dresses, even those that Salvador designed the fabrics for were rather glam.
No one’s backyard is complete without a giant skeleton of an elephant and of course, these are reminiscent of the sculptures in the grounds of the Finca in Chayofa – now I wonder who copied whom?
And their mode of transport changed between a horse and carriage a Cadillac and a Datsun. I remember a neighbour having one of those and the same colour!
When Gala died in 1982 Dali prepared a tomb for her and for himself and although she is buried there, he isn´t. On her death Dali left their home in Port Lligat and lived permanently at the castle until a fire broke out in the middle of the night and he was badly injured and moved back to Figueres, which is his last resting place.
This all sounds a bit maudlin but the reality is that the whole place is joy filled and exudes the personalities of Dali and Gala. The Gala Dalí Castle opened to the public in 1996 and at just €6 (OAP rate) think it is about €8 normal rate is well worth a half-day visit.
By the time we left the Castle leaden clouds had moved across the sky, there was a strong wind that slapped a lock of hair onto my cheek and it was cold. Our next stop was the hillside town of Cadeques that on a nice day would have been attractive with its whitewashed houses with blue shutters.
Getting there brought to mind the words of a Beatles song ‘A long and winding road’. Although it isn´t far from Pubol the road is treacherous and we had a terrible fright when a motorcycle on the wrong side of the road nearly ended up under our wheels. I bet his trousers would be brown by the time he climbed off his bike!
Although Cadaques is where Dali spent much of his youth and childhood and where he would return years later with Gala when they married, any signs that mentioned him or Port Lligat were noticeable by their absence.
We did a oncer around the town and finally found a car park. I shoved my hands further into my pockets as the cold had sunk into my bones and we decided to walk. We found a small museum that told us to see the house at Port Lligat you needed an appointment as only a small number of people were allowed each day. As it was already gone 3.00pm and the only way of getting there was to walk over the peninsula we realised that we were going to be unlucky. Ah well perhaps another time and on a nicer day. Instead we had a mooch around the few stalls that were holding the equivalent of a car boot for artistic and literary folk – in all honesty they were filled with expensive rubbish and likely to stay that way.
Eventually after a hot drink we hit that same long road to make a return journey this time continuing on to Figueres. Jim and I have already visited the Dalí Theatre and Museum and spent a wonderful day there but on this occasion our hotel room and a hot bath was what we were looking forward to.