Monday, July 16, 1990

After the Running of the Bulls, I was on a mission to get to Berlin for the Roger Water’s performance of the The Wall. However, Danny did not want to visit Germany and we split off. He was my main runnin’ pardner going the distance with me for the longest stretch of the trip. I wish him well as he wraps up his European journey – what an experience we had! I was psyched to re-connect again with Alan and Marc for a small stretch north into Barcelona, Bordeaux and the Palace of Versailles! It’s also at this point that I met two traveling buddies from the south at University of Georgia who were traveling to Amsterdam, Rip and Wex. They didn’t know it yet, but they would be on a whirlwind tour straight to the front of the stage of Roger Waters.

HDR cover photo by Paul C Reus

Marc, Al, Rip, Wex and I arrived in Barcelona, got off the train and were dumbstruck at the size of the train station. It was a massive city within a city. Too bad Spain couldn’t get their act together and give us basic information from one place – instead they sent us all over station and we ended up there for 2 hours simply trying to get train information for connecting trains north.

After checking into our hotel, we went for dinner along La Rambla, the grand central walkway with beautiful tall lighted trees, sidewalk cafes and lots of beautiful people strolling by. It reminded me of a smaller but equally enjoyable Champs de Elyses in Paris.

Las Rambla eventually led us to the Magic Fountains which were stunning in their grandeur! Even though we were in Barcelona, we had been craving Americn food so badly by this time in the trip and we had never been so excited to eat McDonalds.

Now, however is the time to tell you about the most intense part of the entire trip – The Dalí Theatre and Museum. OMG, I was blown away.

There is no way I could completely describe what I was feeling as I walked though the theater museum.

What Dali created with this old-world museum was beyond the imagination. If I had one day on earth left to live, I would fly to Figueras, Spain and spend that day inside the Dali Museum. He created everything – sculpture, needlepoint, paintings, collages, lithographs, sketches, architecture, furniture, multi-media and whatever else he could turn into art. Dali maintained a close relationship with Sigmund Freud and many of his works were expressions of his sub-conscious and all his works are fantasy dreamscape images. In one room Dali painted his own fantastic version of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. The museum was a 17th century Spanish theater that Dali transferred into his own magnificent 4 story castle of art. The incredible detail of his paintings could not possibly be recreated in prints – when you look up close, you are able to see minutia of detail and layers of paint so subtle and small that go completely unseen in prints or in a book.

Remember how I said Van Gough was the greatest painter ever – well that was before I had been blown to smithereens seeing Dali’s works live in person… in this marvelous theater.

There was a painting that Dali made which sort of mocked Van Gough’s sharp brush stroke style – and he did it with such ease that it was almost a joke. There was nothing he couldn’t or didn’t do – he was the most prolific artist and the ultimate artist in every sense of the word. I’ve never been so moved by art in my entire life. I spent so much time at each painting because there was so much to be read from just one viewing – so much depth and mystery. We spent close to 5 hours inside the Theater Museum and could have stayed even longer. If there was only one recommendation I would give to another human being for their bucket list – it would be to visit this museum.

View from inside the Dali Theater

photo by Cem Usakligil

We said goodbye to Marc and Alan and now I’ve broken off from all my original boys and now traveling with Rip and Wex. Alan was my inspiration for this entire trip and was the one who really designed the blueprint for the entire trip. Wish he and Mark (and Danny) would have made the journey to see Roger Waters.

Tuesday, July 17, 1990

Even though I love traveling and everywhere I go is something new, I’m beginning to get home sick for America. I’m dying for ketchup (crazy that they don’t have ketchup packets here), I really want ice with my coke (ice is a foreign luxury here), and a sandwhich with substance (shrimp po-boy anyone?), my mom’s home cooking, and all-you-can-eat restaurants.

However, when we arrived in Bordeaux for the Palace of Versailles, the thoughts of McDonalds quickly disappeared in favor of the finest wines in the world. We toured the magnificent Palace and were absolutely awestruck with it’s over-the-top detail, magnificent halls, and of course, the most stunning gardens the world has ever seen. It was hard to put into words the beauty of this place. It’s also impossible to fathom the staggering wealth. It was the former home of King Louie the XIV, the wealthiest king who ever lived. His palace was so vast and impeccably adorned, I thought I had visited heaven on earth.

photo by John Rogers

I’ve never seen anything so incredible. He had thousands of servants, whose only position in life was to take care of a section of one of the multitude of gardens. The colors were brilliant and the landscaping and rchitecture exceeded anything ever before seen. The King had balls and operas and symphonies play in many areas of the gardens. All along the pathways were adorned by mini-ponds, fountains and marble sculptures.

The palace was built in a Forrest so the entire feeling of the palace is lush and verdant – as far as the eye can see.