In 1960, Salvador Dali proposed a concept of putting something back into his birthplace, Figueres, Spain. In 1968 plans were underway to turn the local theater into his very own world of surrealism. On September 28 1974 the dream was realized as The Dali theater and Museum opened to the public and developments continued until the mid 1980’s when the final product was completed. What makes the Dali theater and Museum even more extraordinary is that Dali himself is buried underneath the Theater!
This is why I have been wanting to visit this surrealist state of art for many years. Dali has, for a long time been one of my idols. His ability to see beyond the norm and transcend the mind into a natural state of concepts and challenges has always been something I have tried to do in life myself. Always outside the box. The only way to live if you ask me. As Dali himself was quoted in the 1980’s…..
I want my museum to be a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be [a] totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream.
And so he did.
The journey to Figueres is around 90 minutes north of Barcelona via train and costs around 9 Euro’s. The town itself is rather small and quaint. It took me around 15 minutes to casually stroll along the side street before the majestic Theater stood before me. Thankfully, the tourist season was not yet in full swing so I was able to buy my admission ticket within minutes of arriving and inside I went. What was I expecting to find inside the walls? I had no idea! What did I find inside the walls? A world of surrealism unlike anything else I had witnessed before in my 40 years on planet earth. It truly was a spectacular venue to get lost within the walls. Unlike other museums, there is no real direct way to approach the venue. It’s massive and there are stairwells and side rooms and corners to lose yourself in all over. Don’t pay attention to the map. Just simply wander and explore. Allow yourself to be lost. And allow at least 5 hours to truly encapsulate yourself within the experience. Truth be told, I was inside for almost 7 hours. Effectively, my whole day in Figueres was all about Dali. So now, I have a jolly good reason to return one day soon.
It’s about this point in the blog where I could easily wax lyrical on the items on show to enjoy or, I could give you a short history of Dali and the impact of his works on this modern world but that would simply spoil the delights of what you find inside the Theater when you visit. You are best to just walk in, allow yourself (and your mind) to open up and see where it all takes you. Each room, be it large or small has something incredibly unique on show. I’ve been to numerous Dali exhibitions around the world and aside from the Berlin Museum, no other Dali exhibit really left such a striking impression that this beautiful gem has in my mind.
If you go to Figueres with the intention of seeing this beautiful Museum, stay the night and take your time. The town has a lot to offer and the people are just lovely. The food options are cheap and varied. You can secure a two course lunch and a couple of beers for around 15 euro’s which is fantastic value for a hungry traveler. On my way back to Barcelona, my debit card got stuck in the ticket machine and the station manager went our of her way to rescue the card and, after 45 minutes of trying every trick in the book (Spanish ticket machines are huge) the card was returned and I was able to breath a sigh of relief and board a later train back to Barcelona. I should mention too, the trains in Spain are always first rate. Modern, clean and comfortable with phone charge sockets, pull down table and plenty of leg room.
The Dali Theater and Museum is one place you need to add to your bucket list. You will be worse off for not having been there in your life. Expect the unexpected when you enter as you will soon be immersed in one of the worlds greatest minds.