Figueres: Salvador Dali and Sant Ferran Fortress

December 2, 2015: Today, we will cross into Spain. We spent last night in a parking lot near Cerbère, a small French city a stone’s throw away from the Spanish border. There are lots of hiking paths around here, and I wanted to walk around some more before we left. My map showed a bunch of caves around here and I wanted to find one. Turns out they are all on the water and are reachable only by boat. Sucks.

I’ve recently been forced to recognize my slow transition to full Lumberjack status. This morning, this fact was particularly difficult to ignore:

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Soon we were packed and heading across the border! As we approached it, we saw the old customs house and border control booth that haven’t been used since the early 1990’s (even though the Schengen agreement was technically signed in 1985). Philipp said he saw someone who was apparently very behind the times actually stop at the booth and almost caused a giant accident.

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Spain at last!

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Our first stop was Figueres, the birthplace of the famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The streets here are narrow as hell:

Figueres

The museum with his work that can be visited here looks like this:

Figueres

Very appropriate.

I would have loved to check out the inside, but it was already almost 4pm when we got there, and we didn’t want to stay the night. I saw a pretty sick Dali installation in the Met in New York City a few years ago, so I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with that for now.

We drove to a different part of Figueres to Sant Ferran castle, or Castillo de San Fernando, one of the very biggest military fortresses in all of Europe. Built in 1753 from stone and brick, the fortress takes up 32 hectares, has a perimeter of 3120m and can support 6,000 troops. After being used for some time as a prison, the fortress is now open to tourists. (Wikipedia)

We parked at the front gate and took a long walk atop of the outer wall (all those 3120 meters). The sun was just setting, and the surrounding countryside was glowing pink and gold.

Figueres, Sant Ferrant Castle

Figueres, Sant Ferrant Castle

Figueres, Sant Ferrant Castle

Figueres, Sant Ferrant Castle

There were a lot of local residents jogging (has to be one of the coolest jogging routes ever) and when we got a glimpse of the inner courtyard we could see that there was a movie being filmed— lots of campers and catering and film and set equipment.

Figueres, Sant Ferrant Castle

 

We made it back to the bus and traveled on to Besalú, which is said to be the Catalonian city. We arrived, parked just outside the old city, and ate dinner. I made tomato soup with carrots and tortellini; turned out better than I thought. Then, we took a nachtspaziergang, an evening walk, through the old city. This place is really special and probably ought to have its own post, so I guess I’ll save the photos for then 🙂

We finished off the evening with some ants on a log, and then fell into bed.

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