While it was overcast and rainy during the majority of my visit to Barcelona (to see mi hermana, who is studying abroad there this semester), I couldn’t let the weather stop my necessary pilgrimage to the sky-high village and monastery of Montserrat, Spain, and I’d recommend *anyone* traveling near Barcelona to get out of town and get up to this awesome destination. For €16.50, you can get a round-trip ticket from the Plaça d’Espanya metro station (platform 4 – downstairs – on the R5 line), and the trip takes about an hour or so via train, and you can pick up a pamphlet from the main ticketing area that’ll tell you the train time-tables for your return journey. You can check out la Moreneta (the Black Madonna) that calls many visitors to the Santa Maria de Montserrat Benedictine Abbey (which also boasts a cushy museum, gift shop, the oldest printing press in the world – Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat – and, of course, hear the L’Escolania boys choir), but the best thing to do around Montserrat is to walk around. You can get to the high point of Sant Jeroni (St. Joan) via footpath and funicular, and taking the cable car up to Montserrat is not for the faint of heart (height-fearing folks can spend approximately €22 to take the rack railway into town, but the cable car was really enjoyable, if for no other reason than the animated and friendly guy running it and that you felt as if you were floating above the Llobregat River) From St. Joan’s point, almost all of fabulous and colorful Catalonia is visible, and, while signs up there point out that “on a clear day” one could see the island of Majorca, I was surrounded by fog and mist, which actually gave the area a more relaxed and serene vibe. There are so many different beautiful little footpaths, but wear sturdy shoes, as the rock-paved paths are slippery when wet. On the paths there are several markers and statues dedicated to saints and Catalan luminaries, but the views and the crisp mountain air make for fantastic wandering and solitary contemplation in a lush and jaw-dropping setting.
Filed under: Europe | Tagged: art, Barcelona, Benedictine Abbey, boys choir, cable car, Catalonia, Catalunya, food, friendly folk, funicular, gifts, hiking, L'Escolania, la Moreneta, Llobregat River, Majorica, Monastery, Montserrat, mountains, museum, Plaça d'Espanya, Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, Santa Maria de Montserrat, Spain, St.Joan, train, views, walking | Leave a Comment »