I don’t know if Palafrugell is a little town or a big village. Subtleties in the English language are beyond my reach.
What I am sure about is that Palafrugell is a very important location in the world of literature, because Josep Pla was born there.
Apart from this undeniable fact, I like Palafrugell very much.
Well, I have to admit that it is not the archetypical tourist destination full of Roman ruins, Medieval houses, Romanesque churches, art nouveau façades, fancy tourist traps … Palafrugell has its share of historical monuments and picturesque corners, of course -it is more than 1000 years old- but it is not a properly “monumental” town.
Another issue is the municipality of Palafrugell. It comprises some of the most beautiful stretches of the whole European Mediterranean coast …
I’ll deal with that beauty (the coast, its beaches and its charming little villages) in future posts; today we are just visiting the little town or big village or whatever of Palafrugell, with the great writer Josep Pla in mind …
“The grand old man of Catalan letters and one of Spain’s most prolific writers” (Chicago Tribune) was born in this house of Carrer Nou (“New Street”) of Palafrugell:
Today, it is home of the Josep Pla Foundation.
Its main mission is to promote, motivate and facilitate the reading and the studying of Josep Pla’s literary and journalistic work.
When Josep Pla was born, his parents were renting that provisional house while their definitive sweet home was being built not far away, in carrer del Sol (”Sun Street”), which today is 56, Torres i Jonama Street (pic below).
The Pla family moves to their new house in 1904. Josep Pla lived there for a lot of years, and wrote there wonderful books. Today it is a very good restaurant with an agreeable patio. I’ll come on this in a future post about Pla and the superb local gastronomy …
Very near from Pla’s house you’ll find Sant Antoni Street, also known as the “Narrow Street” (carrer Estret)…
It is known as “Narrow Street” due to two clear reasons:
- It is narrow
- Josep Pla wrote a novel about that very same street named “El carrer Estret” (“The Narrow Street”)
“The Narrow Street” is another marvelous work by Mr. Pla. Originally written in Catalan, there is a superb translation into Spanish , “La calle Estrecha” (most of Josep Pla’s works were translated into Spanish under his personal supervision). I am aware that some of my digital English-speaking friends are able to read/understand Spanish … Pla is always easy and delightful to read.
In the Narrow Street there is a plaque honoring Mr. Pla and this book.
In the Narrow Street there is another stupendous restaurant called “La Xicra”, specialized in the Empordanet cuisine (I’ll talk about this any other day) …
Palafrugell was reputed for its cork manufacturing in the 18th and 19th centuries (cork oaks grow very happy in the wonderful forests of l’Empordà).
The largest cork factory of Palafrugell was owned by an American company named Armstrong, which employed hundreds of villagers … until relatively recent times (1970’s)
Today, the old cork factories have been transformed into nice museums.
Josep Pla had his say about those cork factories, of course …
The Parish of Sant Martí of Palafrugell has its origins in the 11th century. Its current appearance (mostly Gothic) presents styles from different periods …
One of its chapels was re-designed very recently by the local artist (although born in Sicily, Italy) Tano Pisano …
Another work by Tano Pisano is located at the Fish Market entrance …
The Fish Market (Mercat del peix) of Palafrugell is little.
Quality is superb. Mediterranean Sea Kingdom.
The Meat Market is located just in front of the Fish Market. Quality is superb too.
The Meat Market has its own piece of art at its doorstep: “La Teresina”, sculpted by the local artist (although born in El Paso, Texas, USA) Rodolfo Candelaria.
Candelaria has inspired even a cake in Palafrugell (Candelaria cake advertisement, pic below)
The open air market of fruits and veggies blooms everywhere around La Teresina …
Of course, this little town or big village or whatever has traditional bakeries, delicatessen and all kinds of food shops …
At the heart of Palafrugell you’ll find the 125+ years Centre Fraternal …
Josep Pla was a regular visitor of the Centre Fraternal. He called it “the agora of Palafrugell”
It is a cafeteria, theater, library and more … all in one.
Local artists have contributed to the decoration of this old “agora” donating some of their works.
One of those local artists was Modest Cuixart (Barcelona, 1925, Palafrugell 2007)
“Modest Cuixart paintings lead us to other scenes. Sometimes they evoke the atmosphere of festivals and magic, they are recognized as a fascination of the mystery” (Granell and Guigon. “Dau al Set”)
Not only the Centre Fraternal of Palafrugell shows paintings by Cuixart. You’ll find Cuixarts at some important museums of modern art (specially in Europe), like the Tate Gallery or the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art.
In 2002, the little town of Palafrugell named this square (pic below) after his adoptive son Modest Cuixart:
Just in front of Modest Cuixart Square it is the (almost) brand new Palafrugell Bus Station:
Palafrugell has no airport, no train station … but it has that bus station. The “SARFA” (an emblematic bus company incorporated in Palafrugell in 1921) serves passengers in Costa Brava, linking the region to the cities of Girona and Barcelona.
Josep Pla used to travel by bus from time to time, and he wrote deliciously about those travels in “Bus journey” (published in 1942, “Viaje en autobús”, originally written in Spanish) ..
Palafrugell’s city hall is located at Cervantes Street 16 …
… just facing Josep Pla Avenue …
This is a somehow magic corner for a blogger like me, who is a devoted fan of both writers, Miguel de Cervantes (I blogged about him in my post “Don Quixote and Don Miguel”) and Josep Pla.
In front of the city hall there is a monument to Josep Pla:
Yes, I don’t know if Palafrugell is a little town or a big village; what I am sure about is that this post is getting too long, and I haven’t told a word yet about the Tramuntana Wind or Mr. Josep Martinell … I’ll do it soon.