Finally to Spain! This was not the only indication of the border. The ruins here (explanation) may have their modern equivalent in the buildings that appear to have been largely abandoned at the new European Union boundaries.
Wouldn't you know it but I was to be greeted in Figueres unexpectedly by the surreal Dali museum. Like his "soft" self portrait, Dali played a major role in the design of the museum. You enter a interior court and are confronted with what has to be the largest hood ornaments in the world. There are earth science connections, for example this one example of his "plate" sculpture works...most of which have a rock plate (this one has some tiger eye running down the center), here he appears to have used a cuttlefish bone as his media and here is one that was titled eco geologic (I am sure there is more to it than I see). Here is one of me (well sort of, at least the block head!) adding one more rock to take home with me.
A real treat was the exhibit of an artist who uses rocks and puts them together to create images...most of them in the exhibit of women. but this was a piece of schist with its' cargo of lichen (undoubtedly a Paleozoic mud metamorphosed by the collision of Africa with Europe to complete the formation of Pangea) on a Plexiglas sheet.
I was so blown away by the exhibit I had to stop and get some local wine...here is my Dali inspired picture of me and my $1.14 bottle of wine. (just inspired I didn't say it was going to be any good!).
Now fully inspired I turned to the Pyrenees (the mountain range that separates France and Spain) for real inspiration...here looking southwest to Spain and here looking northeast towards the crest of the range and France on the other side. Crossing over to France and returning over another pass, I enjoyed this local artist's efforts in his/her orchard. Getting back into Spain and cheap wine, I found a "supermarket" that decanted the wine directly from the casks into plastic containers for you.
Back to the task at hand...a panoramic view of the central Pyrenees near Vielha. On the other side...a good contrast in road cuts of a moraine deposit of a glacier (close-up) and that of an avalanche deposit (the close-up version).
Further down the mountains, I had passed this outcrop and turned around to explore it more completely. Note the shadow in the upper right corner. That was an overhanging section of the limestone that was in contact with the layered rocks. The outcrop was interesting but a particular rock (a dark igneous rock) seemed totally out of place. When I returned I heard the sound of hammers and people talking...echoing from across the road in the limestone cavity. Walking toward the sound, I found a geology class from Zaragosta University busily whacking away at a gabbro intrusion that I would have never found. The two professors, Dr. Javier Gomez (in the white cap) and Dr. Pilar Lapuente (with the sunglasses) were leading their petrology class to several sites in the area to give them field experience with actual rock outcrops. Here the rocks have been polished by the glaciers that occupied the valley 18,000 years ago. A mini lecture along the way. An andesitic intrusion (or andesite derived from the surrounding limestone if their department chair's hypothesis is correct).
After the trip concluded I met these wanders of the hills.