Last night my father appeared again. We haven't seen each other since we wandered around the neon alleys of Athens. I suggest we go to Cadaqués to visit the house of Salvador Dali.
The next morning we dress in sky blue to get into a surrealist mood. I wear a mini-dress from the 60s with shiny black shoes. My father wears a cotton button-down shirt with blue trousers and suede brogues. On the train in Barcelona, we nibble a picnic of focaccia, carrots, and tea. Two trains and a car-ride later we arrive in the seaside town where Dali lived with his wife Gala.
Dali's house consists of several fisherman dwellings combined together, overlooking the Mediterranean. As expected, it's decorated with imaginative touches: local swans preserved for eternity and suspended from the ceiling, a large glass snail clock, the head of a rhinoceros flanked by wings above a matching stone table with white benches, fake books used to disguise a radiator...
Dali's garden is equally intriguing. Several gigantic eggs decorate the landscape. Next to a long swimming pool there is a bright pink vinyl sofa in the shape of lips, where visitors gleefully pose.
We amble down a hill into town in search of food. Most of the restaurants are closed at this hour. Just when crabbiness is closing in I spot one of my favorite words: GALETTES. We sit at a small table facing the sea. My father orders a beer and tuna cooked in vermouth served in a tin with the letters MF on the front. I enjoy a massive crepe filled with the fluffiest cheese soufflé in the world. The texture is light and psychedelic. It's like biting into sea foam, except the flavor is creamy not salty.
Across the road, a tall woman leads a horse to a wooden bench. She hops on the bench, jumps on the horse and rides away.
After lunch we walk to the shore. Summer has gone but the sun is strong today. I undress and swim in the chilly water, among long silver fish.
We catch a bus through the countryside. As the sun paints the sky rose we pass a small city set on numerous canals. Every house has a boat out front. I imagine on a map the city is shaped like an octopus, each tentacle representing a canal. My father tells me stories about my grandfather, how he was a great dancer, and my grandmother, who met him on a dancefloor in San Francisco. We talk all the way back to Figueres.
|Here I am in Figueres|
MARGO'S QUICK GUIDE TO CADAQUES
-FOOD: Guer Bakery has delicious little cakes to take on the train. Try the rum cake and the Sacher Torte. For lunch/ dinner enjoy the crepes and tapas at Versatil on Plaça del Passeig, 3.
-Plan your trip several days in advance. You can only get into Dali's house by making a reservation at least 2-3 days before. If for some reason you just turn up, if you're extremely persuasive you can get on the waiting list for that day.
-How to get there: Ideally go by car. Or: from Barcelona you can take a fast train or a cheaper slow train to Figueres. Then you can catch a bus to Cadaqués, which takes 1-2 hours. The bus only goes a few times a day and is often late. Or you can take a taxi in Figueres for 40-60 euros. From the town of Cadaqués it's about a 15 minute walk up a hill to Dali's House. The Dali Museum is in Figueres so if you have time, you might prefer that to Dali's house. Or stay overnight and see both.