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Two Continents, Double the Dalí

Dali Queen Esther

We arrived at the Salvador Dalí Theatre Museum in the Spanish city of Figueres by way of St. Petersburg, Florida—three years and thousands of miles later.

Before being introduced to Dalí’s work in the Sunshine State in 2011, neither Brian nor I was all that familiar with him beyond his curled, signature mustache and Surrealist paintings. In fact, as we discovered at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, there was much more to this multi-dimensional artist than a melting clock.

A single Surrealist painting purchased by art-loving newlyweds Reynolds and Eleanor Morse in 1941 was the first piece in the Dalí treasure trove they amassed and which eventually became the basis for the St. Petersburg museum. Dali’s paintings are presented chronologically, spanning 45 years, from Impressionism and Cubism to Surrealism and a classic period that focused on religion and science. He also dabbled in film and photography, created sculptures, and designed jewelry, clothes, furniture, and sets for plays and ballet. We left the museum intrigued by the wonderfully offbeat sensibility that conjured images like a fast-moving still life, the artist Vermeer’s ghost doubling as a table, and bicycle-riding skeletons balancing rocks on their heads.

That was the warm-up act.

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Girona, City of Gardens (and Stairs)

Girona Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu Spire

It’s easy to see why the Catalonian city of Girona has endured 25 sieges and fallen to enemy forces on seven different occasions. It’s a place you really do want all for yourself. And on our first night in town, we had exactly that.

The day-trippers had all gone for the day. Girona is just an hour’s train ride from Barcelona, making it a quick-hit destination for many. They were mostly leaving just as we arrived. 

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Unusual Parishioners

Geese at Barcelona Cathedral

For the past five centuries, the Barcelona Cathedral has housed an unusual guest within its cloisters. As a matter of tradition, the church maintains a gaggle of 13 geese in honor of Barcelona’s patron saint Eulalia, who according to legend died at the age of 13 after enduring 13 different tortures at the hands of roman soldiers. 

Gaudí’s Barcelona: Gaudy or Gorgeous?

Guadi Barcelona La Sagrada Familia

The facade of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona wouldn’t be as colorful without Antoni Gaudí. Hailed as a visionary by some and a madman by others, the innovative architect left his mark across the city, from lampposts in the Plaza Real–one of his earliest commissions–to his last, still-unfinished work, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.

Gaudí threw classic architectural rules out the window. At the forefront of the 19th-century Modernisme style, he drew inspiration from nature and organic forms. He combined vibrant colors, curved lines, and Moorish and Gothic elements with a healthy dose of creativity. Trees, flowers, fruit, and seashells fired his imagination and so did more dramatic images like dragons and skulls.

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Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados

Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, Valencia

Dome of Valencia’s Basilica of the Virgin of the Helpless

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