Corey Watts

Bridges and Dalí in Gerona, Spain

Well, I didn’t make it to Sweden. I arrived at the airport in Gerona, Spain (I was flying out of there instead of Barcelona because Ryanair loves to make travelers' lives more difficult) only to find out that somehow I had purchased a ticket for September 20th instead of August 20th. There wasn’t another flight to Jonkoping until August 23rd, which was the last day my friend could host me. So unfortunately it looks like I won’t be visiting my Swedish friend this trip.

In my last post, I explained how the lone traveler is forced to confront their own flaws and weaknesses through the nature of travel. This is exactly what I was talking about. I was stupid and didn’t pay attention to the details when I was purchasing the flight, and bought the wrong ticket. I was really frustrated with myself briefly, until I realized I had to figure out what I was going to do instead. I sat down in the airport cafe, took out my laptop, and purchased very expensive airport wifi so I could do some fast research about Gerona and quickly email my friend in Jonkoping so he didn’t wait at the airport for me.

I’m definitely learning to be more spontaneous and easy going. You have to be when traveling, especially when traveling alone. Sometimes things just don’t work out. C’est la vie, right? You have to be able to quickly change your plans and not stress about things.

I decided to stay in Gerona, Spain for a couple days. I actually had trouble finding train and plane tickets to and from Gerona, because it is actually spelled two different ways: Gerona and Girona (%[gG][ei]ona% for all you regex gurus). It helps to try both spellings when trying to book a ticket.

Turns out I had made a great decision. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement, Gerona turned out to be totally amazing. There is a large river running right through the center of the city with gorgeous bridges crossing it every 200 yards. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Florence. The old town section was a lot of fun. I spent time in the old town exploring cafes, markets, and a great watch/jewelry store. I also found this incredible gelato shop in the square out front of the cathedral in old town. It was the best gelato I’ve had thus far in my trip.

One of the afternoons I spent exploring the ruins of a large castle above old town and hiking the forest trails up behind it. Another afternoon I traveled into nearby Figueres to visit the Salvador Dalí museum. That was quite an experience. As soon as I walked into the museum, I was hit with a wave of bewilderment. Surrealism can do that to you. But as I explored the museum more, I was floored by how versatile he was. Dalí used practically every medium and explored a wide range of styles. I’ve always found his tesseract crucifixion scenes to be fascinating, and I got to see several examples of them here. I also learned more about his motif of the melting clock. He used that image throughout much of his work. Turns out he was fascinated by Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, the space-time continuum, and the relativistic nature of time itself – Dalí’s melting clocks are supposed to represent time as a fluid, changing substance. Pretty cool! I particularly liked the Dalí painting below. Sorry for the poor lighting, the room wasn’t well lit and I wasn’t allowed to use flash.

photo of a Dali painting
This was one of my favorite paintings

In the two or three weeks after Gerona, I’m not really sure where I’ll be. This is the portion of my trip that I didn’t plan out. I wanted a period of time where I could (read: would be forced to) be spontaneous and go wherever sounded nice. Last night I was browsing the internet and talking to my mother, trying to figure out my next steps. I decided to go to Pamplona and San Sebastian for several days, because I loved Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and because I had several friends in Barcelona tell me how incredible San Sebastian was. I’m on a train there now, so I guess I’m in Spain for a bit more. After that, who knows. I think I’d like to see Austria or Switzerland.

#gerona #spain #traveling #europe2013