Melting Into The Master’s Landscapes Of Spain And France

It is hard to believe it has been a week; time has moved so strangely, at times whizzing by and at times slowly yawning itself out. But in all of the moments of feeling like I have been in a time warp, it seems most apparent now that this week is drawing to a close and tomorrow I will turn my sights toward a different continent and country – oh Morocco here I come.

As my friends departed Spain last week I took leave of the bustling city of Barcelona and turned towards the slower pace and quieter feel of smaller towns. In planning the trip with this week between my friends and the yoga retreat (my two solids) I had many variations on how this week would play out; a trip to Granada and then a boat to Tangiers and a train through Morocco? A flight to another country all together? But with my work load I decided that what I needed was slow speed and nature’s healing beauty. It didn´t take long for me to put it together, not far from Barcelona by bus and train was where Dali lived and I had always wanted to see his house and where Matisse had lived. Both being artists I greatly admire I thought enough culture–I need to go and see the places that inspired the work,  see the light and landscapes for myself!

I took the bus out of Barcelona through stunning countryside of old towns with forts on small hills, flags blowing proudly in the wind and sun. Grape vineyards stretching into distances and the vines laying heavy with deep rich purple fruit. I made my way to the coast and then leaving some less attractive towns behind climbed the steep hills on narrow switch back roads as the landscape became more barren and dotted with olive trees and a lonesome pine, we then descended and at the base of these hills was one of the most stunning sights I could imagine or have seen – Cadaques is everything you have ever wanted in a relaxing dream.It is a gentle white washed town nestled at the base of hills and along a peaceful bay of the Mediterranean. It is known as the place Dali visited as a child and later built a house nearby with Gala. The town is almost all pedestrian with only a few cars and motorbikes, it reminded me of my dreams of what Greek Islands must be like – still and beautiful white walls, green and brown hills, and a brilliant aquamarine sea – okay it might be what I hope a corner of heaven is like.

I spent two blissful days soaking in sun, walking the steep streets and ducking in shops, I breathed in the air that smelled deep of pine and olive trees. The church bell would chime the hour and its half and it only mattered to show the passing of time that drifted from a reality. I walked the 1.25km to Dali´s house in Port Lligat and kyacked in the bay of Cadaques past rocks and out to a light house. The entire setting feels like a Dali art piece and I don´t mean in the surreal way, I mean you can very literally see in the land and sea where ¨Dream Caused By The Flight Of A Bee Around A Pomegranate¨ came from. The setting still breaths of Dali and some of the artist residents even take on a bizarre Dali look to them. I simply loved what I found in this small town more than I ever had an idea I might, I want to go back, and I already know in my dreams I will.

The next stop was for more Dali but not in such a stunning town. I headed inland to the city of Figueres to see the Teatre-Museu Dali in the town of his birth.  The museum was stunning, like nothing I have seen, truly a place as unique as the artist who created it. I have been a fan of Dali since 2000 when I did a play called Lobster Alice about Dali and I was infused with his crazy creativity. The idea of seeing this place for myself has always been with me. As for the town, sigh, all travel isn´t a marvel and this town certainly falls in this category. I spent less then 24 hours in this town and it was about 20 hours too long. It could have been the fever I came down with, the bones and muscles that ached, or the fact that to get water I had to walk some 20 min through the most down trodden and dejected place I have seen in a long time (and I am including Kibera in Kenya). Ok, enough! Go to the Teatre-Museu Dali for a mind blowing experience and then get out of Figueres for all it is worth.

The next day I took the first train I could across the French boarder to the small town of Collioure. Matisse said ¨There is no sky in France as blue as in Collioure¨, and indeed the town echoes of this artist in every colorful street and view. The city has been so painted that it almost feels like you have slipped into an impressionist canvas in a museum; in fact throughout the town they have small frames that capture what the painting would be. I wandered more streets, looked in shops and walked around the daily market. I hiked up to the windmill and felt like Don Quixote! I hiked on up into the hills to the fort St Elme. Then I indulged in a little French pastry as reward. Everywhere I looked I saw the inception of art and the light of what captured these masters.

I made my way back to Barcelona to close out the week and turn toward new ports. I did the necessary and mundane that take on new heights in foreign places – laundry and such. Today I went to a final Gaudi monument and walked past Casa Batllo and up to La Pedrera, what a stunning view to crown this trip! What genius, what inspiration, what lasting legacy, and what views!! I lunched at Mercat de la Boqueria.

The week alone was many things, at times lovely, at times lonely, always changing and ebbing with the tide. It gave me a lot of time to think and look. It gave me no more insight but it did give me views rich and plentiful and for now that pleases me more than anything.

Tomorrow will be an entirely new world, always a new day full of possibility.

Sending you all my warm sun kissed love,


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09 2012

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