We are headed to the mountains today to the remote Monastery of Montserrat. We will brave the Barcelona subway for the first time, to get to the train, which will drop us off at the cable car, which will take us up the mountain to the Monastery itself, before taking the funicular to the top of the mountain to St. Joan’s and the holy caves.
Do you see the yellow cable car? That's us!
It’s a bit of a journey, so we are equipped with snacks and water, good walking shoes, and our best sense of adventure.
Once there, we find the beautiful (Square) Placa de Santa Maria, pausing to soak up the serenity this mountain retreat so generously offers. The breeze is cool, the sun is warm, and the church is welcoming.
The Virgin of Montserrat is a small wooden statue of La Moreneta, which translates “the dark one”, and it is said to be the soul of Montserrat. Believed to have been made by St. Luke and brought here by St. Peter in AD 50, having been kept hidden from the Moors in the nearby caves, we saw it be much revered by those of the Catholic faith, who stood in long queues to have the opportunity to have a face-to-face encounter, be it ever so brief, on their pilgrimage here.
After a rewarding visit to the Basilica, where the so nicknamed “Black Virgin Mary” is housed, we are anxious for a hike up the hill to see St Joan’s.
Indeed, the whole of Barcelona is seen in the remote valley distance.
Just above Saint Joan's, there are some really cool caves. We explored these, too, since we were so close.
There are all kinds of trails & hike up here if you're into that kind of thing. You need to come prepared, though. You can see my shoes are really not the best for this whole deal.
Now it’s time to head back to Barcelona. This time we catch the Funicular down the mountain to catch the train down the hill to catch the train back to Barcelona to take the subway back to the hotel.
Oh wait! We might as well go straight to one of our favorite restaurants for a Spanish-style dinner of fish (for me) and steak (for Mr. C), complete with a well-deserved pitcher of refreshing Sangria. (You might notice, when they serve me a whole fish, I have to cover up the eyes ~ a handy tomato does the trick this time. Can't really eat something that's watching me). And one last serving of fresh calamari (I’ve never had better than here in Barcelona ~ and I’ve consumed it all over the world, by now!).
I am sad to leave Barcelona behind. But cheers to another great day in Spain!