April 14-15, 2014:
After our visit with Walter White and his ingenious meth–od for fixing our Jenny, we were ready to get out and do some more exploring in St. Pete. There was some weather rolling through the Gulf that we knew we were going to have to wait out,
so we started planning our attack on the city! Like I said, the mooring field in the North Vinoy Basin is pretty sweet. It is maintained by the city, so showers, captain’s lounge and laundry facilities are just a short walk from the boat, and at $14/night, we were happy to spend some time having a ball on our ball!
There she is, nice and secure. Always waiting on us! We decided to shower up and hit the town. And, I have to say, thankfully, the showers at St. Pete are not too truck-stoppey.
They had a massive fan blowing in the bathroom that could pretty much blow-dry a sheep dog!
Thumbs up for the fan! I was a big fan! (I know, I’m a comedic genius … you can thank me later) After working in the hot sun most of the day working on the Jenny, we decided a big, lavish Italian dinner was just the ticket. We hit up Bella Brava for some amazing margherita pizza and chicken marsala.
Not to mention an incredible bottle of Sangiovese. A new wine for me, and the beginnings of what I’m sure will be a life-long addiction. Sorry Phillip. But, he’s got a little addiction of his own …
Kilwin’s. “Two chocolate turtles, please.” But, while we certainly enjoyed the dinner and wine and sweet treats as we strolled through town that night, what we were really looking forward to checking out in downtown St. Pete was the Dali Museum.
It was right there off the main downtown strip. A complete shrine to one of the most significant artists of modern time, and it’s literally a five-block walk from our boat!
Have I said enough good things yet about mooring in St. Pete? Well, it bears repeating … So, the next day, we set out for the Dali Museum, which was certainly a highlight of our trip. Like many, I only knew him as the “melting clocks” guy going in,
but I was exposed to a mind-blowing array of massive (I mean 20 foot tall) paintings that Dali did that I found I could stand in front of and stare at for hours. Seriously. The “Lincoln” painting really blew me away. Up close, it’s big blocks and colors and a woman standing in front of a window, but then from 60 feet, it transforms into a portrait of Abe Lincoln.
I mean, how do you do that close-up? I tried to imagine how many times Dali must have stepped off of his scaffolding, walked back 60 feet only to walk back toward his painting to make one little brush stroke. His ability to create images from a distance was mind-boggling. He was mind-boggling!
Dali was like a mad scientist. Completely devoted to his craft, but just … out there. We got to learn some interesting history on him while we were there. My favorite was when he was expelled from the Art Institute. Apparently, when he came in to take his ‘final exams’, he simply told his instructors they weren’t “smart enough to test him.” Decidedly true — his talent was simply beyond comprehension. But with that snide comment, they sent him packing. Looking back on it, though, I’m not sure the man really needed the degree. He seemed to do just fine without it. I can’t say enough about his talents. If you haven’t checked out a Dali museum or watched a documentary or learned anything about him other than the “melting clocks” bit, I highly recommend exploring further. The last one I’ll mention is the “Matadore” painting – Phillip and I’s favorite. Again, another 20-or-so foot tall painting just littered with insane features. Take it in:
First, I’ll ask if you can see the matadore (whose bust fills the full size of the frame but whose face and shoulders are made up of other individual items that, up close, do not compose a man’s face). Amazing! But, there were so many other aspects of this painting that amazed us when we really took the time to look at every small detail – the flies, the pond at the bottom with the sunbather, the tribute to Dali’s wife, Gala, in the upper left corner, the two capes of the matadore on his shoulders, (red and jeweled), not to mention the “invisible” dalmatian at the bottom:
Do you see it?
Yeah, let’s just throw that in there at the end, as if that’s not a complete mind-blowing painting all it’s own, it’s just a tiny little add-on at the bottom of this Dali masterpiece. An after-thought, really. The Matadore really stole the show for us. But, the museum itself was incredible, too. Unique architecture and lighting.
A wonderful spanish-inspired cafe by the gift shop, Cafe Gala (named after Dali’s wife and life-long muse):
An aspiring heli-staircase leading up to the exhibits:
A hedge maze by the garden:
And, many other “melting” objects lying about, in tribute to Dali’s most notable work:
“Seating for two please, preferably in the non-melting section.”
And, they had a Warhol exhibit they were featuring while we were there that was really cool, too. Warhol was intriguing to say the least. Both artists lived and created in the extremes. They were radicals. They were rebels, and they pushed the boundaries of modern art.
I think I accurately captured his scowl!
They had some great Warhol pieces on display, and you could even shoot your very own Warhol screen shots. It was hard to hold still for that long, but the end result was pretty cool. I had a few that turned out alright, considering the subject matter.
In all, we had an amazing time at the Dali Museum. Still one of the most visually-fascinating displays we experienced on the trip and certainly a highlight. While stopping in St. Pete was not originally on the agenda, we were thankful, in the end, that things happened the way they did, because we will definitely go back. Isn’t that always the case, though? The wind just sort of takes you where you really need to go.
But, we stepped out of that surreal world into what seemed almost another. The wind was howling and the rain whipped around us as we sprinted back to the boat. It was clear we wouldn’t be doing any sailing that day. We planned our passage for tomorrow when the weather was expected to lay down. The rain cleared up that afternoon, and we decided to venture out to pick up a few boat items we needed for the trip. But, we had no idea we would be going from one radical to another. Dali in the morning, and the Back-Door Marine Supply Guy in the afternoon. Just wait …