Saturday, June 18, 2016

Day 7 Palomas and Dali!

Next stop was Palomas, our first port in Spain, specifically the Catalonia region, and the Costa Brava, the Spanish Riviera.  We've only been to Spain once before, Barcelona, and we are now convinced to take a couple week land tour.  We love it!  Palomas has wide, sandy beaches, parks, beautiful azure sky and water.

We boarded a bus, with our Catalan guide Girard, and traveled to Girona, a town up in the hills, about 60 miles northwest, a Roman and medieval fortress that housed a large Jewish community.  Girard was a knowledgeable guide, who spoke generously...he told us of the current political situation, how Catalonia would like to secede from Spain, unemployment (30-40% throughout the country), and that Cypress trees are planted to welcome guests!  We saw olive trees, lots of pottery/ceramics, grapes.  Girona sits on the Onyar River, and is famous for its brightly painted "hanging houses".  

Houses hanging over the river.
Raphael Maso, a famous architect of the early 20th century Noucentisme movement, was born in the white house, and it is now a museum dedicated to him.  As I understand, he and others of his style were anti modern...they rejected Gaudi, Miro, Dali, and opted for a more classical art form.  
The white Maso house.
We saw blocks of his architectural style, very symmetric, clean lines.  The streets were so narrow, it was hard to take pictures.

As you enter the city, you see the Cathedral on the right, and Sant Pere, a Benedictine church/monastery on the left.  

There are 86 steps to the top of this Catherdral, an example of Catalan Gothic style.  It is massive.

The monastery is equally impressive.

Part of the monastery now houses the Girona Museum of Archaeology. 
Everywhere you looked, old Romanesque and Medieval, mixed in with new.

We then entered the Jewish ghetto, or The Call, as it is known.
This stone shows the site of a Mezuzah (the real block is in the Jewish Museum, which you'll see later). 
The streets were narrow, with many steps and archways.  The population grew from the 900s until 1492...along came Torquemada.  Population gone.  Yes, this was one of the sites where the Spanish Inquisition took its toll.

Many of the buildings are now restaurants, some homes.
We visited the Jewish Museum, and were impressed with how well the history of the Jewish population in Girona was told. There was a beautiful garden that spanned through some original buildings from the 10th century.

I wanted to ask the meaning of the windchimes, never got around to it...sort of looks like dripping blood to me...yet it is beautiful.
Sculpture of Jewish life.

A home doorway stone that housed a Mezuzah.

I thought this was a Torah cover, Robert thinks it's a Scroll of Esther, Megillah.  He knows more than I.
Gravestones from destroyed burial grounds.

The Mikveh...because the purpose was to cleanse, it was necessary to have some sort of constant water flow, so it's not uncommon to see them in cascading succession.
Entrance to Mikveh.
Empty Mikveh.

With water.
One of the leaders of the Kabbalah movement was from Girona, a very famous man,    Moshe ben Nahman, also know as Nahmanides.

Beautiful mystical artwork.

Everyday life.

As today, Jews were doctors.  A 13th century treatment chart.

As if what we had already seen wasn't enough, our next stop was in Figueres, to have lunch and visit the Salvatore Dali Theater Museum.  Dali personally chose the site and every piece of answer from Dali, as to why he chose Figueres:
"Where, if not in my own town, should the most extravagant and solid of my work endure, where if not here? The Municipal Theatre, or what remained of it, struck me as very appropriate, and for three reasons: first, because I am an eminently theatrical painter; second, because the theatre stands right opposite the church where I was baptised; and third, because it was precisely in the hall of the vestibule of the theatre where I hosted my first exhibition." 
Everything has a meaning.
The dome is the center of the theater.
Yes, that is ceramic bread on the walls.
One of many sculptures outside the Museum.  We ate at the restaurant across the street.

As we enter into the Museum, there is a car, with a statue of Gala, his wife, on the hood, with a huge shower head above.  During WWII, Dali and Gala fled to Florida, where they toured in this car.  When he returned to Spain, they only brought this car, and one of his paintings, which he hand carried.


Working shower. 

Walls surrounding car/shower.

This is the painting he brought from the US...the bread symbolizes life, and it sits precariously on the table...will it fall?  


Through the window, you see the stage with original curtains, the red velvet representing blood, the pain of life.

It is exhausting to be in this museum...all the symbolism...maybe if I were 21 again, staying up all night, pondering "what is the meaning of life"...glad we went, but once is enough.
The upside down drawers represent stuff you're supposed to get rid of before you ascend to heaven.
 This was the stage backdrop.

 When you look at this, it is Lincoln...when you photograph, look through a camera, it is Gala.  The smaller it is, the more it looks like Lincoln.  Illusion.

From his bedroom, a painting above his bed:
Bedroom furniture.
 Not quite the Sistine Chapel, yet entertaining.

Cousin Bob, pondering corn row haired, tarantula eyed, naked backsided, toilet seat toothed mouth he's about to enter.
An outfit Dali designed for Christian Dior.
An homage to May West.
 Outside again, with air to breath!  I really did like it, it was crowded and tiring.

Back to our ship in Palamos, tired yet happy!  Next stop, Majorca!

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