My wife and I travel endlessly. For work, for home exchanges, for love. We're in the Bay Area, but our careers are online. While we travel, I write.

I write about lady love, about traveling, about home remodels when both women are not handy, about anxiety—oh my god my brain—about trying to navigate the world as a graceful human being, about sobriety. About so much stuff.

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Cadaques tickles the northeastern tip of Catalonian Spain, curving gently with the Mediterranean Sea. Renowned for the whitewashed buildings rounding the bay, its gently weathered 19th century grandeur, and its claim to Salvador Dalí fame—this small town completely charmed us. During our stay we happened upon an international photography festival, visited the 50-year home (turned museum) of Dalí, and beached with the locals. Here’s a sweet peek into this darling town.

Woman stands on top of narrow street stairs wearing a red dress.
Oh hey, I didn’t even notice the camera.

We had one day and night to fall in love with Cadaques. I’d booked a stay at the chill little Hostal El Ranxo right in the middle of town. I’d also booked us Dalí museum tickets for the afternoon, so we spent the first half of the morning strolling the sights, drinking coffee (my favorite pursuit), and indulging our wives (okay, just me) with cobblestone alley photoshoots.

Sail boat sitting in small bay at sunset with town on the shore behind.
Cadaqués is divine all around.
Blue door with a placard of a baker alongside it.
Here lives the baker.

Ermita de Sant Baldiri

The great thing about traveling is encountering the unexpected. Walking the town, we happened upon a photo exhibit inside the small stone Hermitage of Sant Baldiri—aka Saint Baudilus—a martyr from the 3rd century who was beheaded for halting a pagan ritual. As the story goes, in the three places his disembodied head bounced post-cut, water sprang from the ground, bringing fresh water and life to the people. Lesson here? The good lord giveth and the good lord taketh away. But I digress.

Statue of a saint wearing colorful robes.
Church of Sant Baldiri, established 1702. Love these colors.

InCadaqués International Photo Festival

The photo exhibitions in the 3rd annual InCadques photo festival were magnificent. In particular, the large-scale, slightly muted prints by Mathieu Richer displayed inside the Church of Sant Baldiri wowed. Since the 16th century, the people of Andalusia have undergone a yearly camino (pilgrimage) in honor of the Virgen del Rocio. According to Richer, “the pilgrimage lasts a week, in a colorful and moving parade. Pilgrims in flamenco dresses, on foot, on horseback, and in decorated carriages advance the day by singing. At night they camp around a fire, sing, dance, share a meal and wine until dawn.” I especially loved the young vaquero accompanying his lilac-covered wagon.

Photo of artistic photography exhibit inside an old stone church.
Mathieu Richer’s photos of the camino del Virgen de Rocio.

All the exhibitions were creatively woven into the history and landscape of the town. It’s so delightful to feel like you are part of the art and an active participant in how it’s discovered and observed. These floating prints were specially anchored to rest at surface level with the sea. So dreamy.

Woman walking past photography prints suspended in the sea as part of an art exhibit.
Overhead scene of photography exhibit set in the seaside. Woman and man are viewing art.

Salvador Dalí House Portlligat

After our art-filled afternoon, we walked to Salvador Dalí’s long-time residence in Portlligat, a wee port town outside of Cadaques. From 1930-1982, the house—now a museum—was the primary residence for Dalí and his wife, Gala. The architecture grew “organically” over the five decades, with the house resembling a hive of curving rooms, staircases, and outdoor spaces built of whitewashed stucco or concrete. True to form, his home was as fantastical, whimsical, and precise as his artwork.

Stuffed polar bear decorated with swords and medals in the entryway to Dali's house.
Welcome home, my darling. A gift that lived inside the front door.
View out the window in Dali's art studio in Portlligat.
The view from Dalí’s art studio and the incredible natural light he enjoyed. He built a mechanical lift with an empty space through the floor (in the right of this photo) so while working on enormous canvases, he could roll them up or down and paint any portion of the canvas while seated in his very low, low-rider chair.
Photo of an archival black and white photo of Gala, Dali's wife.
The man also loved Gala. The world in their home together is fascinating. This picture was taped to the wall above the entryway to his photoshoot area. Can you imagine a life married to Salvador Dalí? Surely he was a handful.
Woman looks out over bay of Portlligat.
My wife, the explorer. Taking in the breathtaking light and landscape of Portlligat at the top of Dalí’s property.

Be sure to book your tickets to the Salvador Dalí House in advance. They only allow eight visitors in at one time for ~30 minute slots. During busy seasons spaces can book up months out, so plan ahead.

Exploring the town

For the most part the old town is car-free, so it adds to the old-world feel and artistic tone. Our hotelier recommended Es Grec, a Greek seafood restaurant tucked in a narrow alley and flanked by art galleries. It was crazy good, rich with the olive oil we’d been craving since our recent trip to Greece, a fabulous flaky fish fresh from the sea, and a friendly Greek proprietor to whom I got to say ευχαριστώ (thank you / efcharisto) and feel quite clever for having retained one Greek word for an entire three months.

Row boat in bay at sunset.
Sunset view over the town of Cadaques.

Driving to Cadaques

Driving to Cadaques from Barcelona takes 2.5 hours. You can hop a tourist bus from Barcelona, but of course I love a car so you can explore the secrets of Costa Brava—like beautiful Begur. In the last leg, you’ll climb up the tail end of the Girona Pyrenees (that have peaked along the France/Spain border and come to rest in the Mediterranean Sea) before cresting and starting the descent down to Cadaques—the so-called Pearl of Costa Brava. Of course the photo below does no justice, but the views really are mind-boggling looking out over the Mediterranean Sea.

Scenic view from a mountaintop down to Cadaques and Mediterranean Sea.
Start of the gorgeous, switch-back road winding down into Cadaqués.

Generally speaking, the driving in Spain is not so aggressive and (let’s be honest) frightening as in Greece or Italy. This means even if you’re new to international driving, you’ll be fine (as long as you have an international drivers license). We did great in our car that was no bigger than a roller skate and could barely hold two carry-on suitcases in the trunk. And shout out to anyone who knows my fashion habits…yes I managed a three week trip with only a carry-on. Miracles can happen!

Small blue car in front of graffiti wall.
Wee blue shoe car.

Have you visited Cadaqués? Tell me all about it. xo