Jet lag was subdued by the usual methods, (coffees, meals, and naps in a revolving order), then a fine bakery and exceptional ham (jamon Iberico and Serrano) made for our complete assimilation to Catalonia. This southeastern province of Spain has its own language and pride of independence dating back centuries before, and again after Generalissimo Franco’s forceful oppression through 1975, when he died and democracy returned. Even now I see flags hanging for the independence referendum here next month. Regardless, the jamon is amazing.
Salvador Dali began painting in this village of Cadaques and built his house in neighboring Port Lligat. An original surrealist and an epic wild man, Dali’s art, attitude, and mustache are all on display here and at his museum in Figueres. He is the local hero.
On the morning sojourn to the bakery, I realize that Cadaques was built on, around and with the slate rock of this region. The white washed stucco walls rise from protruding boulders and narrow “streets” are paved with vertical stacks of slate like corduroy that challenge even the sure footed. There is very little sign of development in this centuries old fishing village and the hills behind are all lined with olive trees.
Today we hiked through the olive groves and dry stacked slate terrace walls to the Cap de Creus national park overlooking the Mediterranean. Strange stone huts (allegedly from a thousand years ago), dotted the landscape and probably gave shelter to shepherds or defensive military along this point of the Pyrenees descending into the sea.
So here we are with good friends, Joe and Sandie, exploring Catalonia. And to paraphrase Dali, is this the path of the enigma? Or in other words, why leave Cadaques? We will think about that on Tuesday.