painâ€™s Costa Brava (literally meaning, â€œwild
coastâ€) hides itself in the northeast corner of
the country, well beyond Barcelona, and
extends to the very border of France. The
tourist office of Spain (www.okspain.org/quick
links/offices.asp) neednâ€™t worry that visitors to Spain
might think of hopping over the border to Franceâ€”
thereâ€™s just too much to see in Costa Brava.
Wonders Along the Coastline
American tourists not too familiar with this part
of Spain will be delighted to find great places to drive
to, including the magnificent coastline with its deep
cliffs and fascinating inlets. But those who want to
take time to savor this gracious place will be equally
pleased to find little fishing villages like Palamos,
home to the 16th-century church of Santa Eugenia
Villarroma, and a modern fishing museum, Museu
de la Pesca (www.museudelapesca.org), dedicated to
those who brave the dangers of the sea.
Tossa de Mar, another beautiful town with cobbled
streets, has seven circular towers that guard the
remains of an old church and the governorâ€™s palace,
which dates from the 14th century. Visitors can also
see the ancient hospital of San Miguel, founded in
1773. Donations for this charity hospital came from
an emigrant, Tomas Vidal i Rey, who became
wealthy and successful in America. The plaque on its
ancient wall has a cross and a skull and crossbones.
Around the corner is the modernistic Hotel Diana
(www.diana-hotel.com), created from a Gaudiinspired
delightful private residence. Expenses on the
Costa Brava are reasonable compared with other
European locations. A double room in this hotel, for
example, runs from 66, depending on the
season. Those prices are not atypicalâ€”restaurant
charges were equally affordable. Car rentals, however,
are higher than in the United States; a 7-day rental
is approximately $475.
Three Points of the Triangle
For many, the main pleasure in Costa Brava is
driving the Dali Triangle. Salvador Dali (www.sal
vador-dali.org), Spainâ€™s mercurial, controversial, but
beloved artist, lived in the remote village of Portlligat
near CadaquÃ©s. It was his workshop and home from
1930 to 1982 (www.salvador-dali.org/en_index.html).
When Gala, his wife and muse, died, he moved to the
Gothic-Renaissance castle in Pubol in 1970. During
the 2 years Dali spent there, he designed his final great
adventure: his Theatre-Museum, located in Figueres,
near Girona, in a restored 19th-century theater that
burned down in the Civil War. Itâ€™s the third leg of the
triangle and has most of Daliâ€™s work and personality.
The exhibits in all three locations defy description:
golden thrones, stuffed animals, elephant statues,
strange sculptures like Our Lord of the Refuse, dissected
bones, large eggs on rooftops, ceramic loaves
of bread, and dozens of large reproductions of the
Oscar Academy Award statue. And on display are
quotes from Dali, such as, â€œI believe a man has as
much right to be insane as he has to be sane.â€ Itâ€™s all
there in its bizarre exuberance, and itâ€™s glorious.
of a compact Citreon C5 will cost about 370Endless History of GironaGirona, the medieval-walled capital of the CostaBrava, is another great Spanish city (www.ajuntament.gi/turisme/ENG/entrada01.html). Situated onthe banks of the river, Onyan, with its brightly paintedtownhouses, Girona offers more than 2000 yearsof history. A walk up the riverside Rambla de laLlibertat takes you toward the cityâ€™s spiritual coreand major landmarkâ€”an impressive 11th- to 18thcenturycathedral with the widest nave inChristendom. There is also an ancient monastery andother churches with spectacular Roman, Paleochristian,Romanesque, and Baroque sepulchers.Girona has one of the largest and best conservedantique Jewish quarters in Europe; its Museum of theHistory of the Jews (34-972-21-67-61; www.ajuntament.gi/call/eng), situated on the site of a 15th-centurysynagogue, has a collection of incredibly preservedHebrew tombstones. Within the city, a cathedralmuseum displays the gorgeous 12th-centuryâ€œTapestry of Creationâ€ and the Beautus, an illuminated10th-century set of manuscripts. Other museumsoffer Renaissance art and prehistoric archaeologicalcollections; Girona even has a museum dedicatedto the earliest days of the movies.