On a Quest to discover Dali & Gala, tracing their footsteps through Pubol, Port Lligat and Figueres

by Sylvia

Gala Dali
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Inspiration for style after 40 can be found in many places and on my holiday to Spain I found it in Dali. Dali was a true citizen of Catalonia, Spain, where I travelled to this year. He was born in Figueres, spent some time in Barcelona, but lived most of his time in Port Lligat, close to Cadaques. In addition he restored a castle in Pubol for his muze, wife and love of his life Gala.

It seemed like a great theme for our journey throughout this Spanish state and I discovered a lot about Dali in the process.

Pubol

Dali's castle in Pobol

Our journey to discover Dali and Gala started in Pubol, which turned out to be a true treasure. Not just the castle itself but the little town as well. Nothing seems to have changed here for ages.

Dali's living room in Pobol castle

The castle itself is a special house that sits on top of a hill next to the town’s church. Both Dali and Gali renovated it with much love and devotion and walking through it, you can get a good sense of their personalities and how they lived. We also got a glimpse of the many dresses Gala wore to her functions. A special statue which combines giraffe legs and an elephant head stood in the garden.

Dali's painting spot in Pobol castle

Gala's dresses

Intrigued, I was very interested to find out more about his life and the woman that he spent most of his life with. Gala’s real name was  Elena Ivanovna Diakonova and was born in Russia. She was initially married to Paul Eluard but left him for Dali. They settled in their house in Port LLigat. She influenced many of his works as well as being the subject in some.

Port Lligat

Port Lligat Dali house

To visit his house in Port LLigat, we travelled all the way to the far East point of Spain to the town Cadaques. A cute fisher’s village where I wore a new skirt I bought in Amsterdam.

Red flower skirt

This is where Dali’s family had a second house and where he spent most of his summers. After a dispute with his father though, Dali was thrown out of the house after which he purchased a little cottage in Port Lligat.

Dali house port Lligat

Dali’s eventual house in Port Lligat did not disappoint. It’s a unique house that started with just a tiny space. It slowly grew as Dali’s fame (and the number of benefactors) increased and he was able to extend it to the beautiful house full of little corners and rooms that is today. He lived here until 1982 when Gala died. Like the castle of Pubol, it’s the sort of house that you would dream to live in. The amazing view over the bay of Port Lligat isn’t bad either!

Dali's bedroom

Figueres

So now we knew where Dali spent most of his time, and how he decorated his houses. But we still had not seen much of the art that he is famous for. Luckily there is the Dali Museum and Theatre in Figueres, the place where he was born and died.

Dali painting

Apparently when Dali was asked if he could donate some paintings to the city, he offered to build a whole museum instead. For that purpose he was given the old theatre of Figueres, which Dali completely transformed into a museum that has his name written all over it. As always there are quirky details and out-of-this-world rooms, like his famous face room of Mae West. The court yard is a spectacle with an old car in the middle and many Oscar lookalikes surrounding it.

courtyard of Dali's museum in Figueres

at the Dali museum in Figueres

It was fun to have a theme to a trip and follow someone in his footsteps. Certainly when that person is as intriguing and inspiring as Dali. I ended up buying a book to learn more about the art works and his life. He made some amazing art and I love his out-of-the-box thinking. I’m sure he upset a whole lot of people as well, but that seemed to be all part of the surrealism movement that he was a part of. His devotion to Gala was strong all his life, although I read on his wiki page that he had dalliances with other women as well. Gala did not seem to mind much. She knew that she was always his true love. When she died, Dali was heartbroken and could barely function. He moved into the castle he bought for her and almost got himself killed (suicide is suspected but not confirmed) when his bedroom went up in fire.

His last days were spent in Figueres where he also got buried in a specially designed tomb in the museum. Funny detail though, is that noone is 100% sure if he is actually there. In Gala’s castle there is a tomb too where she is buried. There are 2 tombs next to oneanother, so earlier I already presumed that Dali was there too. According to our museum guide though his ‘official’ tomb is in his museum. However, some people whisper that he was secretly transferred to Pubol after his death to be with Gala. I guess we will never know for sure….

What we are left with is the enormous amount of art that Dali left behind and his beautiful houses and museum of course!

Are you a fan of Dali’s art?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ulla-Marie

Art is a wonderful source of inspiration.

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Sylvia

Absolutely!

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Heather Fonseca

Interesting! I love Europe. It seems like every time I go I learn about some part of history, or an artist or monarch, that I knew nothing of before. Love your Dali themed wanderings!

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Sylvia

I feel the same way. You always learn something interesting about a person or history! But that usually happens when I visit other countries too….

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Aleya Bamdad

I love Dali. He’s one of my all time favorite artists. The museum is amazing.

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Sylvia

I loved it too. Wouldn’t mind going back there again!

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Greetje

I learned about Dali when I was sixteen. Thought he was quite weird in his paintings. Although I saw, even at that early age, that they fitted very well in the time (end sixties, beginning seventies). I was a bit too young to understand art properly.
But because of that early mindset, I chose for Gaudi when I was in Barcelona and visited all the building that Gaudi designed. Also a very astonishing experience.

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Sylvia

Gaudi is amazing too, but I visited all his buildings and park during a previous visit to Barcelona. Of course we still went to see his amazing Sagrada Famailia, but the queue to get in was so long that we had to give that a miss this time…

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