We have been absolutely blessed by the weather during this trip, and today was no exception. Sunny Spain has been at her best, and while the forecast for the Camino is not so good, on the east coast all is cruisy. We have had a wonderful day touring, with a great driver (Ivo) and an unexpected itinerary which I suspect our guide adapted as we went along. This was really the best way to get to Figueras to see the Dali Theatre and Museum, but Ivo showed us the Castel San Fernan, which most people just go past, before giving us a really good tour of Girona, which was an unexpected gem.

Today took us surprisingly close to France: the Pyrenees were visible in the hazy distance and we thankfully avoided the tourist traps if the Costa Brava because Ivo saw our interesting history and architecture. San Fernan is massive and, while still partially in use, is mostly in ruins, a huge expanse of 18th Century fort that was starved out by Napoleon’s forces as they moved across the Pyrenees to annexe Spain. A historian would have had great fun with the complex design, the interlocking fire zones and the complex cisterns. The stabling for 600 cavalry was architecturally beautiful: ventilation, drainage and the horses able to grazing in the dry moats. In the officers quarters, we were able to see the remains of paint on the walls, the thickness of the masonry, yet the relative luxury of the accommodation, probably to keep the wives and families happy in this remote location.

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You will notice that I have not said too much of Dali — I’m afraid of making a fool of myself and displaying my ignorance. It was absolutely fascinating particularly as Dali himself designed the layout of the collection, but I have no way of evaluating the significance of any one painting or the artist himself. I suppose I came away seeing him as a glorious but damaged eccentric, with a fierce creative vision that was much more technical and intellectual that I had thought.

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Then on to Gerona and a simple lunch in the plaza major before walking around the old town, into the Jewish Quarter, around the walls and towers, and through the cathedral museum and into the nave. I get the impression that the Spanish church is trying to be a good citizen with its historical buildings, priceless art and extraordinary relics, while struggling, as the church is throughout Europe, to present a relevant face to an world that no longer gets the religious dimension of human being. Girona is, quite simply, beautiful, and the cathedral a gem. It was a wonderful way to finish our very brief time in Catalunya, but we will be back. Barcelona is, like Sydney, a great place to live and to visit. Good food and drink at the end of the day, of course, and on to Seville tomorrow.

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