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Travel : Banyoles, Besalu,Cadaques Figueres, Spain, Sept. 9th 2017


Continuation of the trip to Barcelona (here) and to Girona (here)


Date: Saturday Sept 9th/2017

Places: North West Catalonia

Girona to:  Banyoles,  Besalu, Figueres , Cadaques

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The day was dedicated to exploring the North West Catalonia’s special surroundings.



It has been cloudy for the past 2 days with the sun periodically playing “Pick A Bu”‎.

Alas that indecisiveness eventually culminated today into a dumpy experience.


Banyoles

On the way to Figueres, the first rain-drops landed on our car’s windshield, upon arrival at at a summer vacation village named Banyoles.  (photos)


The place's claim to fame derives from its areal natural Lake, used also by swimmers during Barcelona’s Olympic games.


The village didn’t excite us at all, nor did we feel like swimming in the lake at such

unwelcoming weather. On a good weather day, the experience may have been nicer..




Besalu,

The surrounding of this best preserved pastoral‎ Romanesque medieval town are most charming.


Just before the sky firmly made up its mind and started pouring buckets of showers on us, we manged to have an enormously enjoyable visit to the enchanting medieval town of Bosalo, known for its landmark  Viejo bridge



It was originally a defensive fortification with two striking towers guarding the entrance to the town, and also a toll bridge, built and rebuilt at various points throughout the 11th to the 14th C. This imposing structure links the two sides of the Fluvià river with impressive arches undulating across the water.


Besalu’s Jewish history

Even this small town is as proud, as are many other Spanish towns, to reclaim its Jewish heritage, as is evident by advertising the historical facts on its lost Jewish community, its Synagogue’s ruined, or Mikve bathe, by streets’ postings, in official maps and in promo brochures.



A mikvah was discovered in 1964 on the site of an old dye manufacture


The presence of Jews in Besalú is attested in a document from 1229 in which Jaume I the Conqueror refers to them money-lenders.

The excavations which were carried out between December 2002 and March 2005, show that the remains of the synagogue are clearly identifiable.  There are also notary documents, from the regional archives of Olot, which complemented these findings.



Within the building structure of the synagogue, there are different rooms which clearly had specific purposes. There is the prayer room, the gallery for women which is at a higher level and is separated from the men’s room. The men’s room would have been where gatherings took place to resolve not only religious issues, but issues regarding the community and taxes. In the courtyard there would have been various weddings and festivals. There is also a school, where classes would have been brought to both girls and boys, when they were young teenagers.



Figueres Salvador Dali’s Theater Museum



Upon arrival at Figures, we found a refuge from the heavy rain sheet-loads inside the

Dali Theater-Museum. 34 972 677 500, reservesa@fundaciodali.org


Though I had a de-ja-vu of visiting this amazing old Theater Museum about 30 years ago, I could not remember a thing, and all on display looked new to me… this memory loss is one of the few advantages of aging…as my enjoyment was as great...


Figueres is the birthplace of the artist.

Salvador Dali displayed at 17th his first exhibit in this theater, which later became the most important project of his life when turning it to his museum. Dali’s Bio - the artist


Zionist connection..

I also was amazed to discover on the top floor of the museum, series of biblical and Zionist-themed paintings named “Alia” produced in 1967, as tribute to Zionism and the state of Israel.



Lunch Break

The picnic’s basket we packed for the day’s lunch to be eaten at an attractive beach spot, was shared, instead inside the car, by road side, as it was raining cats and dogs all the way from when we left the Dali Museum and going up North to our next destination. Well .. the food was as tasty..




Emporium (Ampurias)

It is an ancient coastal city on the Costa Brava's shore, founded by Greeks traders


Though we planned to make it to the out-door Greek antiquities of Emporium, the unfriendly weather discouraged us, so we directly proceeded to the next spot.


Once a thriving historical Market town, this Greek colony which was founded by the Greeks of Foci. 575 BC. also called Neapolis, thrived for some 300 years until the Second Punic War. Ruins of its own places of worship, salt factories and irrigation, art, palaces for the wealthy and what would have been stone shanties for the poor, are faded memories





Cadaques - Enchanting sea town +Dali’s House Museum

www,salvador-dali.org  34 972 251 015 pll@fundaciidali.org


Obviously it was not a day for the beach, however we drove up to this most attractive  former fishing village, on the edge Cap de Creus peninsula, for  its rocky coast, beautiful beaches and quiet coves scenery, as well as to visit the in-doors Salvador Dalí House-Museum in Portlligat, where the artist lived and worked from 1930 to 1982

*Pubol “Gala Dali Castle House Museum 34 972 488655 pubol@fundaciodali.org


Salvador Dalí often visited Cadaqués in his childhood, and later kept a home in Port Lligat, a small village on a bay next to the town.

A labyrinthine structure , all the rooms of the house have windows of different shapes and proportions framing the same landscape that is a constant point of reference in Dalí's work:


A summer holiday here in 1916, spent with the family of Ramon Pichot is seen as especially important to Dalí's artistic career.

Other notable artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Hamilton, Albert Ràfols-Casamada, Antoni Pitxot, Henri-François Rey, Melina Mercouri and Maurice Boitel also spent time here. Cadaqués, mentioned in the story

"Tramontana" by Gabriel García Márquez. (info)  


Alas, to add up an insult to an injury.... not only that we had a  bad luck  with the weather, entrance was denied us since ADVANCE BOOKING IS REQUIRED

So make sure to book in advance!




There was plenty of driving and seeing for one day , so I was glad to be back at our Girona hotel.


Dinner at

“NU” -Contemporary cuisine with an Asian flourish

Carrer d'Abeuradors, 4, 17004 Girona



Few other points

Can Puig - Costa Brava


04 68 05 52 84 06 70 73 96 81

listhermes@gmail.com


Thermes de Vernet-Bains Hotel Spa

66820 Vernet-Les- Bains



To be continued..