The holidays brought me back to Catalunya in Spain. This time Orriols, outside Girona, was our base for exploring some of Spain’s breathtaking, ancient villages, with our amazing hosts, Alisa and Bruce Anderson of Raison d’Art. It was fantastic to wander this area with people who had both familiarity with Catalunya, and were also still devouring the charm, the smells, the sounds, and the whole fabric of the proud culture here. Curiosity + artistic appreciation makes for excellent adventures!
I have to say I was taken away by Cadaqués — an idyllic coastal town with buildings washed in white, and doorways bathed in the colors of the sea and the earth’s bounty. Relaxed, friendly, and picturesque, I just wanted to breathe it all in and never let it go. It’s a popular summer getaway— shocker! We poked around narrow cobblestone streets and stepped back in time with a visit to the church. Holy adornment and gilt, Batman! Wow, it’s overwhelming. The only thing missing was a whiff of incense to take my back to the catechism days of my youth.
Besalú put us at the corner of bizarre and wonderful. The history of the village dates to the Middle Ages and the town features a Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià river, which we stood on, while being serenaded with melodic music accompanied by the bark of dogs somewhere in the village. Here it was all stone walls bathed in golden sunlight against the backdrop of the verdant mountains. Don’t miss the leather shop if you make it here (the village is very small so really, you won't miss it)!
I was also struck by the rich sounds of music at every turn — in Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, the sorrowful melodies from Besalú, and in Girona—the beat of the band in the Irish Pub, the crisp chime of church bells at midnight on New Years eve, and the penetrating sounds of the local talent on open mike night at the Jazz Club. These are the sounds to accompany the colors that fill my brain and drown my senses.
The colors are already becoming palettes. They will weave their way into my work and take up residence there. Permanent reminders of my chula España (my lovely Spain). Visit yourself and get inspired. And even better, engage in a retreat with Raison d'art for your visit to get an insider's perspective. Vale. Venga.