Today is our long drive day, but we didn’t get an early start, as usual. Our hotel is a wonderful old building. I did check out the dining room ceiling and it is indeed hand hewn, and dates back to the 17th century. Breakfast was as good as ever, except that I burned my toast, and had to do it over, and the next table had to remind me about the second piece! One unusual feature of the buffet: wine glasses and open bottles of a local red wine, and a sparkling wine were available for breakfast. Interesting idea.
We headed for Figueres, but got turned around and I stopped in at the parts department of a farm equipment company, which was out in the middle of nowhere. After he understood the problem, the parts guy printed out a Michelin version of Google Maps, which was really helpful, and got us on our way. It had not been clear to us how far west we had to go so that we could turn south, and eventually east to get to our destination. We found A-2, and then A-7, which went directly to Figueres, all the while Miss Nüvi is trying to get us to exit at almost every opportunity. We have long since turned off the sound.
We were getting hungry so we started looking for food, and we saw a sign to the Zaragoza Delicias which sounded good, but that turned out to be the Zaragoza Convention Center, not exactly what were looking for. We did see a Ristorante sign and lots of trucks, and pulled in there. All we found were parked cars, lots of trucks, and a restaurant sign. We finally found an Autogrill, which was like finding an old friend, because we had stopped at several Autogrills on the Italian concert tour of the San Diego Festival Chorus, in 2009.
The Duran Hotel in Figueres is the first non-Parador hotel of our trip, we picked it because of its proximity to the Dali Teatro-Museo, which was why we had come to the city. It turned out to be a place where Dali ate regularly, and the dining room had many Dalis on the wall. We arrived just in time for dinner, which was excellent, including very well prepared Crepe Suzettes for almost our final restaurant meal.
I got into a discussion with the desk clerk who was from Pakistan, and he tried to explain the governmental system. I wanted to know if the Spanish autonomous regions were equivalent to our states, and the first answer was yes, but then it got confusing. There are 14 of 15 communidads, about 54 provinces, or districts, and lots of autonomous regions, but how they all fit together was beyond our powers of communication.
I saw the “Ugly American” in action during our conversation. An elderly lady and her friend were at the front desk asking for a copy of the menu to take back to Florida. The lady said she was the president of the Dali association in Fort Lauderdale. The staff said they did not have the authority to give out menus, and this really upset the ladies. I jumped in and said I would be glad to photograph the menu and email it to them, and the friend said, “Well I can do that!”. The old lady said she thought bringing the menu to Florida would be good publicity for the restaurant, and not a favor for them, and if they wouldn’t give them a menu they would take their business elsewhere. And they stormed out. Unreal. The desk clerk told me that it was only English speaking people, specifically American and the British, who behaved that way.
We went to bed, eager to see Salvador Dali Teatro-Musee the next day.