We still had one Dalí Museum to see, the Casa Museu Castell Gala Dalí in Púbol – which translates into: the old ‘castle’ that Dalí bought and restored/renovated for his beloved wife Gala to live in. The castle was designed to offer Gala both rest and refuge, and Dalí was only allowed to visit her there on invitation – which delighted him as he felt that familiarity did not keep passion and romance alive. So, he lived in Cadaques and she lived in Púbol until her death in 1982 whereupon Dalí moved into Castell Gala. However, the Castell was only his home for two years as a fire in his bedroom caused him to be hospitalised, after which he moved into the Teatro-Museum in Figueres for his remaining few years.
But visiting Castell Gala is only one part of this story as I had been told about an excellent restaurant, called La Plaça, in a tiny village called Madremanya, only a few kilometres from Púbol. So, what can one do but also visit the restaurant for lunch. But, how to get to these villages? Well, Ian had the perfect solution – we would hire bikes in Girona, hop on the train with the bikes and get off 20 minutes later at a town called Flaçà, and then ride in a loop from Flaçà to Pubol to Madremanya and back to Flaçà, a distance of 16.5 kms , so something even I could tackle particularly as it was mostly gentle undulations.
Luckily for us the weather was glorious for this adventure – sunny skies, no wind and a temperature hovering around 24degrees. Perfect.
The village of Púbol was very quiet when we arrived, and there were only a few other visitors to the Castell. It was much more simple than the Figueres museum, although still had a few Dalí flourishes:
The restaurant, La Placa, is also a hotel – frequented by many bike tourists in the area. But we three were the only lunch guests at 1.30, and were only joined by an English biking couple (GPs living in Scotland) half way through our meal. The meal was excellent, and well worth the pedal. We had courtesy appetisers of martini olives, macadamia nuts and caraway pappadams , followed by an amuse bouche of passion fruit something or other (whatever it was, it was delightful). We then shared a plate of anchovies with Catalan bread. I then had something called Sea & Mountain for an entree (which had sea urchin foam – again!- and other stuff that I couldn’t identify, was a bit salty), followed by an amazing pigeon and Beetroot dish, and finished with a Mandarin & Coconut dessert (again with lots of foam). Here we were in this tiny deserted village, having amazing food in a beautiful courtyard under a shining sun. Heaven.
What a terrific way to spend my last day in the Girona area. Tomorrow I’m off to Barcelona for a day and night before flying to London to meet up with my gorgeous girls Sue and Joyce – leaving Pete and Ian to do more serious bike riding in Spain.