Your advantages with Rodamon:
- East: Dalí and the Costa Brava
- Our Catalonia
- West: Pyrenees and Romanesque art
Salvador Dalí has a worldwide presence. How Catalan he is and how much the landscape of the Empordà region is present in his work becomes clear in the so-called Dalí-triangle.
We begin in Dalí´s home town, Figueres, with a visit to the museum which he designed when he was still alive. It is housed in the gutted city theatre and recognisable from afar by the large eggs on its facade. We dive into his universe and the place where he spent the last months of his life.
We continue across the coastal mountains to Cadaqués, a place which was miraculously spared by the construction boom of the 70´s. Here we enter the private world of this unusual couple: Gala and Salvador Dalí. Their house, which grew organically like a beehive over decades in the bay of Portlligat, is a unique mixture of high art and kitsch.
Next to the nearby lighthouse on the easternmost tip of Spain we offer a walk through the coastal landscape, ravaged by wind and water. The unusual stone formations inspired the paranoid fantasies of the artist.
The following morning we drive through the “Cap de Creus” nature reserve and visit the pre-Romanesque convent Sant Pere de Rodes, built an imposing 500 meters above sea level.
Through the mellow agricultural landscape of the Empordà with its fortified medieval villages we approach the castle of Púbol, Gala´s realm. Dalí was only received there by his wife and muse after writing to solicit an invitation, and he found this game marvellous. He completely designed the interior, created elephants with spiders legs for the garden and prepared Gala´s eternal resting place in the crypt.
At the end of the day we return to the sea. Do you fancy a short walk on the Camins de Ronda, the old pirate paths on the Costa Brava? Or would you rather ponder the impressions of the day in a Chiringuito, a bar in one the rocky bays?
- Dalí said “the lower jaw is the philosophical organ of man”. An invitation to discover the cuisine of this region, for example Mar i Muntanya, dishes which include seafood and meat at the same time.
- In the border town of Portbou history comes alive. Refugees from the Spanish Civil War and later people fleeing from the Nazi regime passed through here. Walter Benjamin took his own life here in 1940. The sense of hopelessness is captured when entering the walk-in sculpture Passatges by Dani Karavan.
- Empordà leitet sich vom griechischen Emporion, übersetzt Marktplatz ab. Die gleichnamige griechisch-römische Hafenstadt verdeutlicht die Bedeutung des Handels lange vor Christi Geburt. Ihre Bewohner haben den Blick auf das tiefe Meeresblau am sanft geschwungenen Golf von Rosas sicher genauso genossen wie wir heute.
- Empordà is derived from the Greek word Emporion which means marketplace. The Greco-Roman harbour town with the same name illustrates the importance of trade long before the birth of Christ. Its residents must have enjoyed the view of the deep blue sea of the gently sweeping Golf of Rosas just as we do today.
- Inland, the Garrotxa entices us, a volcanic landscape with 36 volcanic cones and a very specific culinary tradition, Volcanic Cuisine. The Catalans especially love coming to this region in the autumn, a landscape characterized by its beech groves. A stroll on the Santa Margarida Vulcan or a visit to Santa Pau offers the opportunity to combine nature with culinary delights.
- The Llac de Banyoles is the largest freshwater lake in Spain. From the plane lined, idyllic waterside promenade, the views of the Pyrenees on the horizon and the rowers on the lake vye for your attention. A few kilometres away you can visit Besalú, an important medieval county town which encompasses an imposing Romanesque bridge with its five arches and fortified tower, and the only preserved Jewish ritual bathhouse in Spain, Mikveh. Try the delicious Fuets, air-dried pork sausages and the herbal liqueur Ratafía.
We show you the highlights which have made Catalonia famous and we take you via scenic routes to our favoured places in the surrounding regions.
These excursions will bring you closer to the history and the monuments of our adopted Catalan home. You will also have time to enjoy Montse´s regional cooking and absorb the Catalan atmosphere during our strolls.
Castles and monasteries were seats of power and cultural centres during the early Middle Ages, for example in Mur, where ecclesiastical and political power meld together in a beautifully located dual purpose building. The story of Lord Arnau Mir de Tost teaches us much about everyday life in the unstable border region, the Marca Hispanica. Highlight of the day is a walk through the gorge of Mont-Rebei on paths which are chiselled into the face of the rock.
In the afternoon we reach the valley Vall de Boí, where there is a concentration of preserved Romanesque churches in a small area. All of them were built with money from forays against the Moors. In Erill la Vall we look at the davallament, the moving 1000 year old sculpture of the Deposition from the Cross, comprised of life-size wooden figures.
After an overnight stay in a stylish traditional country hotel we set off on foot to the two main churches dating back to the 12th century, Santa Maria and Sant Climent, where the Byzantine creator of the world looks sternly down on us from the dome of the apse. In Sant Juan we learn that Romanesque churches were painted inside and outside, in this instance with a surprising fresco of fantasy animals and jugglers.
The culmination of our tour is an excursion into the Parc Nacional d’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, the only national park of Catalonia.
- Visit Lleida with its Gothic church high above the city on your return journey.
- On the 28th and 30th of July an accordion festival takes place in Arsèguel which “wakes up” the normally sleepy stone village. Musicians gather from all over the world to participate. The Church condemned this instrument 100 years ago, calling it “The Devils´s Bellows” since its modern music tempted couples to dance close together.
- La Seu d’Urguell takes its name from its function as a diocesan town. Seu means cathedral: in this case one of the few preserved Romanesque cathedrals. Saturday is market day, the ideal day to watch local activities. Do you fancy a break or an exciting challenge? The white water course of the Olympics in 1992 is located in the town park.
- Andorra lies only a few kilometres north of La Seu d’Urguell. The Catalan bishop and the French president are its heads of state. In the Casa de la Vall, the former parliament building in the capital Andorra-la-Vella, we learn more about the unusual political genesis of this principality. Admirers of Romanesque Art are fortunate in finding very original and not overly restored churches in this region.