If I am to be completely honest, I had no idea who Gaudí was before going to Barcelona. I was happily surprised to see many of his amazing buildings and learn about it him during my trip, but the main reason I chose to go to Barcelona for the remaining 4 days of winter vacation, was to see the Dalí Theatre Museum. I have always been a huge fan of Dalí since I learned about him in high school. My hometown of Tampa, is only a 25 minute drive to the Dalí museum in St.Petersburg Florida. I would often go on weekends with friends on weekends or when there was an exhibit.
My final month in Korea I received a newsletter from the museum saying that there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit beginning the week I was to arrive back home. I enthusiastically kidnapped Giulio to come with me to see the exhibit and show him my favorite artist. He hates art. And let’s just say that he wasn’t ready for Kahlo or Dalí, considering the nature of the artists works.
Fast-forward one year later to me booking my ticket to his hometown of Figueres, near Girona, up in the Northeastern coast of Spain. There are many options on how get to Figures from Barcelona. If you google search you’ll see that the cheapest option is a bus, which also takes the longest amount of time. I decided that in order to save time I would take the train from Barcelona Sans Station. I left Barcelona at 9am and arrived in Figures at around 10.The museum can be easily spotted and the town is quite small so you can follow the signs and look for a giant glass dome. I arrived just at opening time for the Dali theatre museum and admired the very fascinating statue that greets you in the plaza in which the museum is located.
I want my museum to be a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be [a] totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream.:1 (Wikipedia)
— Salvador Dalí
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a teacher it’s that you can’t give work that a student isn’t ready for. For example, you can’t give a low-level Spanish speaker a copy of Don Quixote. They aren’t ready for it. Let me just say that I am an amateur lover of Dali and I enjoy his work, but I was not ready for this museum. There were so many cooky things that were so abstract there was no way I could find meaning in them. The pieces in Tampa almost look like child play in comparison. Although I felt overwhelmed, I really enjoyed walking around the complex. It’s crazy to think that he’s buried in a crypt in the building and helped design it. His exact vision for the place is definitely achieved.
I was a bit disappointed to see that 2 of my favorite large pieces were not displayed here, but rather in the Dali museum in St.Pete that I’d mentioned earlier. In this museum they display them as copies, but at least they are included! That makes me feel way more proud of my hometown, knowing that the originals are housed there.
A few more of my favorite parts of the museum were Dali’s version of the Sistine Chapel, the Marilyn Monroe, and the wall of mustaches.
After perusing the museum I walked outside to the Jewels by Dali exhibit. This was by far my favorite part of the entire experience. His jewelry is breathtaking. I had never seen anything like it, nor did I know that he made jewelry.
Other than seeing Dali’s home and the museums there isn’t much else to do in Figueres. You could spent about half day here and I’d say it would be more than enough. That being said, rather than go back immediately to Barcelona I looked for somewhere to get some lunch. I found a pretty great tapa place and ordered Paella of all things. It didn’t disappoint but the waiter warned me that I shouldn’t order paella outside of Valencia or the south of Spain.
After lunch I walked around Figueres and happened to pass a watch store that had a huge sale. It said all of their watches were 50% off and more. Being the American female that I am, I can’t say no to a sale. I took this opportunity to buy myself a silicone watch for work, one for Giulio for our 2 year anniversary, and for his brother as a request since it can withstand the grueling shipyard environment. I was on the fence with my decisions, but eventually the woman convinced me.
Incoming rant about something totally unrelated
On the train home I realized that the woman had given me the wrong sizes in all 3 of the watches. I wanted to kick myself in head because I did notice that the discounts didn’t match the price written. That should have a been a big red flag, but I ignored it. I noticed that there was another ICE watch store in Barcelona and I decided to, calmly, go there with the receipt of the watches I had just bought hours before. As soon as I walked in with my bag the mans face became hard. I told him I bought these watches and the woman gave me the wrong sizes and that it was very important I get the correct sizes because I never spend that kind of money on anything, but I wanted to splurge for once. The guy told me “No, there’s nothing I can do for you sorry.”The man was rude and told me he couldn’t do it, but it was that he didn’t want to. I left the store hurt with the mans attitude and did what any sensible American would do.
I called corporate.
I told them what had happened and that the man refused to change the watch and she said she would speak with them. By the time I got a response from her it was the next day I was in Park Guell enjoying my last day in Barcelona. She told me the manager would change it for me no problem. I quickly left Park Guell and arrived at the store and the man looked pissed. He was like “I don’t know what you told corporate, but that woman in Figueres always does this. She sells tourists wrong sizes only to get the profit and then they come here trying to return them.” On the way out I said thank you for changing the watches and he said to his mother “Oh, don’t worry. This lovely girl is going to write 5 stars on our store on google and say nice things about us.” Meaning he was blackmailing me into writing them a good review even after all he put me through.
I ended up writing him the review against my own will while sitting in front of an impressive cathedral. I spent my last few hours in Barcelona walking around the city and seeing all it had to offer. Although I was still in a pretty bad mood, and I’d experienced quite a bit of bad luck with rude locals, I didn’t let that ruin my trip.
Barcelona is a BEAUTIFUL and unique city and it is definitely a place everyone should put on their bucket list.