This weekend I went on a trip to beautiful Costa Brava!

We left Friday afternoon and headed to Montserrat, a small village at the top of a mountain with an absolutely breathtaking cathedral. I had never seen a cathedral before, but after visiting Montserrat I think that almost every cathedral I see now will seem subpar in comparison. The whole thing was just incredibly ornate and gorgeous. My friend who I was touring the cathedral with even teared up! The view was incredible, too. From the mountaintop, I felt like I could see all of Spain. The twisting mountain road leading up to Montserrat was a little nerve-wracking, however.

After waking up in the seaside town of Palamos, we took a bus to Girona. Girona is a beautiful and ancient city in northern Spain, close to France. We began our visit with a tour, going through all the ancient parts of the city: the cathedral, ruins of stone castles, and the Jewish Quarter. Right as the tour ended, it started to downpour. Not a little rain, more like torrential. We hid under a covered plaza for a little while before making a mad dash for the restaurant where we were supposed to eat lunch. I tried to share a friend’s umbrella, but wound up soaked nonetheless. Lunch was delicious. I’m not used to the multi-course meals everyone eats in Spain, and I always seem so wind up eating too much at the beginning of the meal and end up stuffed. Guess I’ll have to eat some more to practice.

After Girona, we went to the Salvador Dalí museum in Figueres. Figueres was Dalí’s hometown. Once Dalí was already famous and living in New York, the mayor of Figueres asked him if he would paint them a picture to put in the town museum, an homage of sorts to his birthplace. Instead of a painting, Dalí created a museum. It is not any sort of conventional museum, but rather a temple of Dalí’s life and work. Dalí himself is buried on the ground floor of the museum. You enter his surreal world before you even walk inside; there are giant golden eggs on the roof, and every outer wall is spotted with protruding gold statues. Inside, it is almost like a carnival house of high art: everything is off-balance and theatrical. It seems that the building itself is a giant piece of Dalí’s art and, in fact, it is. Dalí worked on the museum continuously until his death, turning it into a shrine to his art and everything he loved, but a shrine welcome for all to enjoy. Our tour guide told us Dalí always said he had one foot in reality and another in madness, and that sentiment was clear in all of his paintings. They were simultaneously nightmarish and wonderful. Usually, I have a general distaste for tours because I get bored quite easily, but I had no problem touring this endlessly intriguing museum.

By Kelly Greacen, Boston University