There’s a wind in Costa Brava called the tramontana. It is filled with a breezy and electrical presence that gets inside the brain and unlocks barriers to dark and mysterious places. To some it possesses addictive qualities and they miss its howling presence when they move to pastures new.
They say the tramontana makes you ‘slightly mad, Ted’ as Father Dougal might say. It may even be the mysterious source of inspiration for the region’s visionary geniuses such as Ferran Adriá and Figueres’ most famous son, Salvador Dalí.
First a bit of advice, it’s probably not wise to start experimenting with LSD before taking a trip to Figueres. Salvador Dalí claimed other worlds existed inside the one we love and know and the epicentre of one of these was directly under the dome of the Dalí Theatre-Museum. Drop a tab of acid before you enter this mind-altering realm and you probably ain’t coming back.
Dalí’s work possesses a magnetic madness that delivers something that might not always make sense but is more often than not filled with mischievous fun. I’ve been enthralled by his work since childhood – I didn’t understand then and still don’t but images of grotesque elephants appeal to minds that haven’t yet been shaped by society’s conventions as well as those of knowledgeable experts who know about these sort of things.
Entering the Dalí Theatre-Museum is akin to stepping through the doors of the artistic equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Whatever wild flights of fancy you may have conjured up in your head, the sur-reality of the Dalí Theatre-Museum will exceed expectations. Simply open your mind and expect to enter another world.
The Car-naval overloads the senses with walls filled with what could be Oscar’s girlfriends; the Cadillac with its monsoon of an interior; Gala’s boat and imposing bronze nude sculpture. Drag yourself away from this tsunami of an imagination that knew no boundaries to the central patio and Dalí’s messing with your head moves up a gear as the painting of Gala Nude Watching the Sea becomes a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. In the Mae West room there’s a Being John Malkovich vibe whilst the best way to absorb the art in the Palace of the Wind is to lie on the floor under giant feet and enjoy, if that’s the right word, an out of body experience.
And so it goes on; each room a fantastical funfair with an appeal that casts a net beyond those who don’t grimace at the very mention of the word ‘culture’.
Emerging from the Dalí Theatre-Museum is a bit like waking up from a dream with a head swimming with random memories that are bizarre in the cold light of day but which made perfect sense in the depths of dreamland. And just like a dream, there’s a compelling desire to close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported back again to another world… a magical world that exists within ours.
Entrance to the Dalí Theatre-Museum is €12; Opening times vary at different times of the year but turn up between 10am and 6pm and you should be fine; Location – look for the building with the giant eggs.
My visit to the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres was kindly arranged by Costa Brava Tourism but the thoughts are all my own and no drugs were involved except a post Dalí experience glass of wine… or two… or three.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites plus lots of other things. Follow Jack on Google+