It’s always hard to return to real life after a vacation full of unique and interesting experiences. This week we seized the opportunity to relive a bit of our recent vacation in Catalonia, Spain, right here at home. We learned that there was an exhibition of Salvador Dalí sculptures in Beverly Hills – an open-air exhibit of 12 “monumental and museum sized” bronze sculptures, free and open to the public at Two Rodeo Drive. We were intrigued.
As usual we went to Norway this summer, but afterwards we ventured onwards to the region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain for a 5-day self-guided bike tour. (Bike tours have become a favorite type of family vacation; this was our third one.) After our bike tour ended, we rented a car to explore the Costa Brava area (“brave or wild coast”) for a few days. One of our stops en route was Gala Dalí Castle House-Museum in Púbol, one of three sites in Catalonia dedicated to the life and works of Salvador Dalí.
Touring the castle and grounds was a highlight of our car ride. In the middle of nowhere was suddenly this site full of interesting history and unique and unusual design elements. Our guide gave us tidbits of information that brought the artist to life for us. Through this visit, we felt like we got to know the artist a little bit, got some insight into his personality and sense of humor. So, when my husband learned there was an exhibit of Dalí sculptures right here at home, we were quick to plan an outing. He even knew of a Barcelona-inspired restaurant nearby that he had meant for us to try before going on our trip that he added to our excursion for the day.
The exhibition in Beverly Hills was so much more fun and interesting than I expected. Twelve large Dalí statues were located throughout the Two Rodeo Drive area. His iconic melting clocks were represented, and we were reunited with his fantastical elephants which we had seen in the gardens at Púbol.
We also got to know the art gallery Galerie Michael. I felt like we discovered a hidden gem in our own backyard. This gallery is like a free little museum with top-name artists, and there’s a bonus – if you have the means, you can buy anything you like. Currently (ongoing until August 12), in conjunction with the Dalí sculpture exhibit, they have an exhibition of Dalí works inside the gallery, Salvador Dalí: Mystery, Ambiguity & Contradiction Exhibition, “an eclectic collection of paintings, lithographs, and etchings.”
Not only can you peruse works by Dalí, you can also see pieces by Picasso and Miró, along with many other artists, but these three were of most interest to us at this time since we had just returned from a trip to Spain and we felt a certain connection to them having seen their work in Spain.
When I was finally able to draw myself away from the gallery, “barely avoiding dropping some big bucks into a tiny Dalí piece” as Sonny commented, we headed to BCN in West Hollywood for lunch, a fast-casual restaurant specializing in street fare from Barcelona (BCN is the airport code for Barcelona). We were immediately reunited with foods from our trip – tortilla española, Spanish cheese and ham, gazpacho, bocadillos (called bocatas at BCN), and patatas bravas.
I loved the attention to detail of the decorating of the restaurant – the Barcelona lamp post painted on the wall inside, the four-leafed flower symbol seen in the tiles on the exterior wall and railing surrounding the outdoor eating area, and most impressively, the ceiling of La Sagrada Família on the interior of the canopy outside. As we learned on our audio tour of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Antoni Gaudí designed the inside of the cathedral with beams in the shape of towering trees and the ceiling resembling the treetops. It was one of our favorite features of the church.
Our whole outing to see Dalí in Beverly Hills and eat Barcelona-inspired food in West Hollywood was a fun escape from the regular LA scene and a cool return to vacation experiences.
If you want to go on a little Catalonian excursion yourself, make sure to visit Two Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to see the Dalí sculptures and the other works of art at Galerie Michael. The gallery exhibition is on display until August 12, and the sculptures can be seen until September 23. Then make the short drive to West Hollywood to eat some Barcelona street food at BCN under the canopy of La Sagrada Família. (Don’t forget to try the bravas.) It’s an outing worth doing, especially if you’ve ever been to Barcelona or are interested in Spanish artists.