The vegans in Spain fall mainly in the plain.

No, there are no vegans in Spain. It’s the ham.

It’s a good thing that I’m not a vegan, at least in Spain.  Or a Moslem or an observant Jew (I’m a non-observant Jew) They have absolutely no idea what it means to  leave the pork out of a dish. If you order green beans, say, it will come with a sprinkling of Serrano ham on top. They eat cones filled with ham cubes the way Americans eat ice-cream cones – in the street.

ham Spain

If you go to a big food market, there will be a huge display of pig legs, varying in age (age is good, like wine), in quality (you want the piggies to be fed on acorns), and in price. We visited the supermarket in the basement of the big department store (For some reason, the big department store chain in Spain is called El Corte Ingles – The English Court) to pick up some cheese and salami for a little dinner, and we found a festival, a celebration, an orgy of ham. The housewares department also had a wide selection of pig-leg holders. One end is a stainless steel cradle, the other end is a collar with a wing-nut to tighten onto the ankle of the ham. Both parts are anchored to a heavy base so the ham doesn’t move while you are carving paper-thin slices. Portugal has presunto and Italy has prosciutto, but nobody has the same obsession as Spain.

ham shop Spain

Figueres Spain is Surreal

FigueresFigueres is a nice little town. It suffers from being in Catalunya,  very close to Girona which is one of the most beautiful towns  I’ve ever seen. We stayed in Girona and made a day-trip to Figueres, which is only a half-hour away by train. The only reason anyone goes to Figueres is because Salvador Dali created his theater museum there. The building is great, and very bizarre. The art is exactly what you’d expect from Dali. And there are a few surprises too. Toward the end of his life, Dali started to design jewelry and jewelry-like objects. These are beautiful. They opened a new market for him and were a new profit center.

Salvador Dali in Figueres

First, some pictures of the town and of he museum building.

 

Then some pictures of the inside of the building –

Finally some works of art –

Some jewelry to end –

There are two broad schools of thought about Dali. In one, he’s a commercial-minded publicity hog who specialized in self promotion and even went so far as to sign blank sheets of paper which were later made into silkscreens. The other opinion is that he and a few colleagues invented a new way of painting – Surrealism. And that he continued to experiment with new media and forms of expression throughout his life. Even more, some of his paintings are among the best paintings ever made.

The weird thing is, they are both right. Dali nd his wife were appallingly crass self promoters who were passionately interested in their income. Also, Dali’s Crucifixion at the Metropolitan is one of the best paintings ever painted. His Spanish Civil War, also called Soft Construction with Beans, is a horrifying and original image.

SalvadorDali-SoftConstructionWithBeans

crucifixion