Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day Trip to Montserrat

Today Jen & I took our first day trip from Barcelona to the beautiful mountain of Montserrat.  It took us about 90 minutes to get there, via both train and rack railway.  Montserrat means "jagged mountain" and is most known for the the cathedral for the Virgin of Montserrat.  I'll let the pictures tell the tale...

This was the view from the train station in Montserrat, before you take a rack train up to the top. (We could also have taken a cable car but it was closed today.) My picture clearly did not do this justice, so I encourage anyone interested to go to the link above for professional pictures. (Or read more from Rick Steves!)
This is the view upon arrival. It was a bit crazy to see how much was actually up in the mountain once we got there, but then again just about everything in Spain amazes me.
I loved this statue within a wall withe mountains behind.
Here was the welcome sign upon reaching the Basilica, and a few shots from inside.
In the picture below, you can see the back of the "Black Madonna" (La Moreneta) which overlooks the main cathedral. You can walk up stairs and touch it, but I thought it would be rude to take a picture so this was as good as I got.  (Pilgrims travel from around the world to touch her orb, and I believe there are usually tons of people waiting in lines. However, we walked right up - the advantage of going early in January on a Thursday?)

After viewing the church, Jen & I started wandering around the top of the mountain.
We took a path that led to the entrance of the Monastery, and spent a while following the path around-side the mountain. There were mosaics of the Virgin every few hundred feet, and the views were incredible.

After our hikes, we took a lunch break. In addition to splitting a potato sandwich (which are amazing here) we ate off of this lovely dish. Yum!!
Then we went to the art museum, which had a surprisingly great collection - lots of local artists with a few famed artists (Caravaggio, Picasso, Monet, Pissaro, Dali) thrown in.  There was also a really interesting section with Egyptian artifacts, including a mummified person, crocodile, and bird! I really enjoyed the museum, and the fact that there were only 4 other people in the galleries made it even more enjoyable. 

Unfortunately we didn't get to see the Boys Choir or do much hiking, but in a way I'm glad because I have a reason to go back!  I would definitely like to hear them sing and also hike to Santa Cova. Of course, for now I am just happy I was able to go - it was a beautiful day.

No comments: