Turns out the 18th and 19th were not good writing days either! Seriously, we packed so much into each day that it’s a wonder I found time at all! Here’s what happened a year ago today. My bullet list is very short, basically Montserrat and a few other points about the day, so I’ll elaborate more:
18 September 15
Sandy hadn’t been to Montserrat in a while. I had been there with Dad in ’94, but I wanted to go. Mom was not down. She has been there countless times, as a kid for school field trips, and then as a tour guide. It did not call to her. Her blister was growing so she decided to stay around BCN.
One thing I totally remember about this day was ruling the subway system like a boss. I think we had to take about 3 trains to get to the last train that would take us up to Montserrat. It’s not easy sometimes to understand which direction they’re going and what time and where to get off. But something about it all just clicked for me. It felt awesome.
Montserrat is a monastery built up in the mountains. Montserrat translated is ‘serrated mountain’ because that’s what they look like.
I should mention that breakfast that day was croissant with chorizo. Yum!
So after the subway/train ruling, we were on our way!
Upon arrival, we just took it in.
It’s truly a sight to see. There were quite a few people who had the same idea we did!
To ‘get away’ from the throngs of tourists, we noticed a little trail and decided to take it. It was a trail dedicated to Verdaguer, a Catalan poet.
It was lovely, but we didn’t know how far it went around the mountain, and we wanted to get to the monastery.
However, before we did that, we decided to get some food to avoid any hangriness later on. We went to a cafeteria and bought some cheese & sausage and some chips. Probably water or Cokes, too. I didn’t take any pictures, but I’ll tell ya that sitting up in the mountains on a warm sunny day with my sister eating cheese, sausage, and chips was all pretty great. We missed Mom, though.
On to the monastery.
It’s incredible, very breathtaking. I didn’t take a picture of it, but the courtyard before you go in the sanctuary is a large area. There were many tourists who posed so it looked like they were holding up the top of the church. It was a strange sight.
We decided to wait in line to see La Virgen. One of the stories of Montserrat is that it is where the La Moreneta was first seen, one of the black Madonnas of Europe. There was a long line to see her. I didn’t remember having done it before, and Sandy was eager to do it, so we decided to stand in the line. I don’t remember how long it was, maybe an hour.
Going through the church on our way to see her was wonderful in itself. They keep the access to her very limited so you see stuff you don’t get to see if you just go in the church.
La Moreneta is tiny. She is sitting on a throne with Jesus on her lap. Jesus’s hand is raised in blessing. She is also holding an orb of the earth in her right hand. As we approached, we realized that each person got a moment to themselves with her. She is behind glass, but the orb is not, so you can touch it. You’re not allowed to take photos.
Sandy was ahead of me, so I watched what she did to know what to do (story of our lives!) My moment with La Moreneta was lovely, peaceful. I again was struck by the history, the hundreds of years she has seen. It was not long enough, but there were lots of people behind me!
After that experience we each had, Sandy & I found the gift shop to be extremely tacky. But we walked around a little bit more to get that ickiness off.
We ended up in the cafeteria/restaurant. We bought a sandwich to share and ate it on the train down the mountain. (BTW, the trip home was another boss ruling of the metro system!)
When we got back around 5:30 pm, we heard about Mom’s day which involved a lot of walking around La Rambla trying to find a place to exchange money, but I think she had a good day. Her blister was hurting her pretty bad 😦
That evening, we took Mom to the Jardines de la Tamarita. It was lovely.
Then we found a restaurant for dinner, Restaurant Molina. I had croquetas and canalones. I had originally ordered mussels, but they came back and told me they were bad. I don’t remember any of us loving this meal, but, again, being in Barcelona made up for a lot of that!