The Landscape of Dali

The Catalan region of the Costa Brava in north-eastern Spain is usually associated with beaches full of tourists and package holiday trips. However, turn the clock back 100 years and the region was somewhat different. Untouched by tourism until the mid 1960’s, the Costa Brava was mainly a fishing region, with small fishing villages and towns pocketed along the Costa Brava coastline.

This was the landscape into which the surrealist artist Salavador Dali was born in 1904, and the spectacular scenery and lighting of the region inspired many of his finest paintings. Dali was born in the town of Figueres which is approximately 35km north of Girona (Gerona) Airport, and around 150km north of Barcelona. Apart from his artwork, Dali has left 2 legacies to his admirer’s – his home in Port Lligat near Cadaques, and the museum which he designed in his hometown of Figureres, both of which are open to the public.

Dali’s House, Port Lligat
Cadaques is a small fishing village around an hour and a half drive north-east of Girona. Cadaques is where Dali spent many of his later years, and the spectacular coastline provided the inspiration for many of his best known paintings. Cadaques itself is a former fishing port, but is now an exclusive tourist resort, popular with the French and Spanish. Dali’s house is located in the small village of Port Lligat, slightly to the north of Cadaques. Dali’s house is open to the public, but check opening hours before visiting.

The house itself was formerly a number of small fishermen’s houses which Dali purchased and converted into a single palatial home where he lived with his wife Gala, and painted many of his most famous paintings. There are many strange exhibits inside the house such as a stuffed polar bear which greets visitors, and a tiny cage in Dali’s bedroom which once contained a cricket. Dali loved the sound of the cricket singing. Don’t expect to find many of Dali’s paintings at the house, although there is a large unfinished work in one of the rooms.

The Dali Museum, Figueres
The Dali museum in Figueres was designed by the artist himself, and although it contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of his original paintings, it is the internal design and architecture which is possibly even more striking. Dali was a big fan of the visual arts, and many of the works in the museum are visual experiences which were intricately designed by Dali. In the busy summer months there may be queues at the museum, so it is worth booking tickets in advance.

Getting to Girona
Girona Airport is served by Ryanair, so if you want to visit the region please check their website for flight information.

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Experience Plymouth’s Folk Roots and Musical Legacy at the Plymouth Folk Festival

Bringing together the best of home-grown talent in music, dance and entertainment, the Plymouth Folk Festival is perhaps one of Devon’s best kept secrets. Having dominated the city’s event calendar for nearly a decade, this stripped down musical event explores the best of Plymouth’s up and coming musical and artistic offerings while featuring performances by some of the city’s most popular finds in a celebration of music and talent.

Featuring renowned and newcomer folk acts from across the great county of Devon, the festival aims to shed light on the city’s ever expanding local music scene. The festival typically takes place in the month of June and has seen the likes of Miranda Sykes grace its stage although it is not just limited to musical showcases. The 2006 event for example included an indoor event that featured poets, storytellers and acoustic musicians dubbed A Stone Soup Evening of Storytelling, Music, and Poetry. Other highlights included performances in the city centre at Place De Brest with the attendance of Barbershop singers, Plymouth Morris and Plymouth Maids, Indie bands such as Sangreal and Irish folk punk band Black Friday. The Plymouth Musical Theatre Company also performed in a line up that displayed Plymouth’s multicultural heritage with the attendance of Gujarati Folk Dancers and Thai dancers.

The event on New George Street saw the participation of clog dancers and other local favourites while the Armada Way instalment included the pulsating Samba group Crooked Tempo. Not limited to guitar grabbing crooners, the festival also features musicians with varying instrumental prowess which includes those with a proficiency in the fiddle, cello and of course piano.

Interactive in essence, the festival also includes audience participation activities such as the Tea Dances that were held in the ’06 festival in Lower Guildhall. Open-mike events also encourage travellers and locals to engage in creative exercises of their own while the street performers that dot the landscape during the festival add charm and colour to the historic city rich in culture.

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