“At the age of 6, I wanted to become a chef. At 7, I wanted to be Napoleon. From then on, my greatest ambition was to become Salvador Dali”
N o, no, no. No museums.
But Eloise, this is a Salvador Dali museum. He was totally nuts. You’re going to love it. Even your brothers think he is really cool.
Eloise arches an eyebrow. Are you sure about the brothers?
OK, let’s go.
And so, off we went to the Teatre-Museu Dali in Figueres, Spain while en route to the seaside village of Cadaques on the Costa Brava. I knew going into it that this was a ridiculously crowded place famous for attracting hordes of Dali devotees willing to wait hours to get into “the largest surrealistic object in the world”. But it was 9:30 in the morning (the museum opens at 9:00 in summer), we were stuck in Figueres until 2:00 in the afternoon waiting for Granny to arrive by train and I was hopeful we might get away with it.
Even at 9:30 there was a good 10 minute wait. While Jeff stood in line, I went over to the Tourist Office on the square as they were advertising City Tours of Dali’s Figueres (including entrance to the museum) for six euros more than the cost of the museum alone. I asked if taking the tour was a good way to avoid waiting in line and the woman at the Tourist Office assured me it was. If you want to see this museum and can’t arrive close to the opening time, signing up for the City Tour plus Dalis Museum at the Tourist Office seems to be a good option.
Once we got inside the Salvador Dali monument, the fun began. “Eloise loved the crazy installation of a Cadillac with strange people inside which seemed to invite bad behaviour from all the fascinated children who where climbing all over the car’s running board to get a better look. The guards didn’t seem to mind. There were all kinds of weird, perverse things to admire like the Bug Lady pictured above. There’s plenty of kinky and provocative stuff to keep the parents amused as well. Hey, Dali’s even buried in the basement. All in all, the Theatra-Musee Dali is a fun, theatrical experience. How good the art is, I leave to the critics. The gift shop, a very important criteria for Eloise, was excellent with a wide range of beguilingly surreal products that were fairly priced.
Emerging about an hour later, we had a chance to wander around Figueres which is a surprisingly attractive small city. We had a relaxing lunch of tapas near the station, picked up Grandma and began to make our way to Cadaques where Dali lived and worked from 1930 to 1982.
Addendum - Dali’s house in Port Lligat, above Cadaques, is also a museum which all my children, small and grown, love to visit. There is a stuffed bear in the front hall and a terrific psychedelic swimming pool with little matadors. You must make an appointment several days in advance but the experience is so amazing it is worth the additional effort.
Figueres Tourist Offices
Placa del Sol
Placa Gala i Salvado Dali (July 1 – September 15)
Place de L’Estacio, 7 (July 1 – September 15)
Tel: 972 50 31 55
Fax: 972 67 31 66
Placa Gala I Salvador Dali, 5
Tel: 972 67 7500
January – February/ November – December 10:30-17:45
March, April, May, June, October 9:30-17:45
July – September 9 – 19:45
Casa-Museu Salvador Dali
17488 Port Lligat (Cadaques)
Tel: 972 25 10 15
Fax: 972 25 10 83
By appointment only