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Saturday, August 20, 2011

You went where?

Figueres! We went to Figueres! And no, we never heard of it, either. We were way the hell back in the planning stage of our trip, when all we had arranged was the cruise, and we were looking at what to do before and after. We don't do this Olivia-style because we prefer to be a lot more independent. Joyce, especially, is prone to wandering off spontaneously, something she never does at home.

So we were watching the travel channel and guess what! A show about Barcelona came on, and they started talking about Dali and Gaudi and Sagrada Familia. We love art. We have been to the Dali Museum here in St. Pete. We actually have Dali's work hanging on our walls. And so they say, as we are watching this program, "If you go to Barcelona, you must take a day trip to Figueres, to tour the Dali Home and Musem."

So we watched this show, and we saw it, and we also saw a lot of work by Antonin Gaudi, who was clearly an insane genius, and Joyce said, "Well! We have to allow extra time for that!"

Of course. So I found a wonderful site called viator.com that arranges local day trips from afar, so you don't have to bribe the concierge or wait overnight in lines for big attractions. And we got our day trip to Figueres that way, and added a day for that and another for Gaudi's work. I mean, otherwise, we would have landed in Barcelona one day, and sailed the next. We didn't know Jill about Barcelona. Now I can reveal it's yet ANOTHER big ol' whopping European secret. You should go. Everyone should go.

From Barcelona to Figueres and back by bus, this bus:



is a very long trip, so they make it longer by throwing in Girona on the way. Like Figueres wouldn't exist if not for Dali, Girona wouldn't exist except for Figueres, because this is where we stop for a tour and lunch. So, we had never been to Girona, either, and you had to go there if you wanted to see the Dali Museum, so we went there.

Girona is a really pretty little town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. We entered on a level place, and it was all uphill after that.




We lost Joyce after several flights of steps masquerading as streets, but not very convincingly. We knew they were steps. You can't fool us! She handed over the camera and disappeared, I thought perhaps in search of beer, but I learned otherwise later.

On the way to the top, we saw many picturesque, medieval things. Here are some of them. This is a pretty little river or canal which isn't navigable, but apparently attracts wading birds.


Here's the legendary Witch of Girona. Click to enlarge the picture, scroll right and cock your head to the right. See? She's a gargoyle. Apparently she was mean to children and was turned into this. Childfree people are always made into villains. Anyway, I like her. She probably wasn't really as mean as she was intolerant of their nonsense.


And here's a bronze memorial to the rebuilding of the cathedral. It's a half-person (probably an architect) half-unfinished church (with an open nave).



This is the very top. I climbed over the broken city walls to take this picture.



When we got back down, Joyce was waiting on a main square they evidently told her we'd pass through. She had spent the entire time trying to cash travelers' checks (which are MONEY) into Euros. She visited every bank within walking distance. There's been some issue with counterfeiting, so no one would do it. Luckily our hotel did it for us when we got back to Barcelona.

We ended up here for lunch, and then drove about half an hour to Figueres, which deserves a whole entry of its own.



You may be wondering why the spacing has changed all of a sudden. I haven't got the foggiest God-damned idea.

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