On our second morning in Cadaques, we walked over the hill to Port Lligat, the remote village that is the site of Salvador Dali’s house. Dali lived in the house with his wife Gala for over fifty years, up until her death in 1982. Visiting the house was one of the planned activities – in fact, the only planned activity – for our stay in Cadaques. Tip: book online in advance to avoid the lines and guarantee your spot.
The first thing we were greeted by when we entered the house was a large stuffed polar bear, draped with medals and performing the double function of light fixture and umbrella stand. The house is filled with stuffed animals of all varieties, real and imagined. I just hope no animals were harmed in the building of this house!I was quite taken by this statue wearing a fencer’s mask. There was an interesting and unique object everywhere you looked. Dali and Gala were not minimalists!Dali must have used this photograph of Gala as the basis for his “Portrait of Galarina”. There was something thrilling about seeing the beginnings of the creative process. You can see the finished painting here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Galarina.jpg
A little further along was Dali’s painting room, with gorgeous views of Port Lligat, and an enormous easel apparatus on pulleys that he used to raise and lower his canvases while he sat and painted. The entire house looked like Dali had just stepped out for a walk, or to have dinner in Cadaques at El Barroco, and that he would be back at any moment to continue his work or maybe to take a nap.We followed our guide through the house, enjoying the experience of peering into the private lives of such public figures. When the tour was over we were released to wander the grounds at our leisure, which were as quirky and eccentric as anything inside the house. Walking along the paths, with commanding views at every vantage point, I felt a deep appreciation for the pure place of this house. Its setting is magnificent and the house is oriented to make the most of this rugged, yet scenic location.
The window in the wall above frames the view as if it is a painting, the most perfect placement of boats, land, flowers and sea. Upon closer inspection the view opens up into a panorama of the port and its inlets, leading the eye out into the deeper blue of the open ocean, where eternity beckons.
Our final stop was a circular room playing a loop of historical footage, with Dali’s piano on prominent display. We sat and watched the movies, a chance to reflect on everything we had seen and experienced that morning. We left enchanted, spellbound and intrigued by our fleeting view into the every day lives of Salvador and Gala Dali. I still think about that day, and wonder about the heartbreak and grief of Salvador Dali when upon Gala’s death, he left Port Lligat, never to return. But surely Gala, the house and the ever changing scenery continued to visit him in his dreams.