Day 4 – Montserrat

Up early. I have to say the world’s tiniest shower does make for a quick morning routine! Also very happy that I had a hair cut before I left – haven’t used a blow dryer yet! Would be useless in this humidity.

We needed to get to Montserrat as early as possible. The plan is to catch the 8:36 am train – from Plaça Espanya. Besides a bit of confusion in locating the train station, it was found and we ended up catching an 8:16 train.
Lovely 1 hr ride inland towards the mountains. Unfortunately it is a cloudy day. The temperature drops as we move away from the coastline. This is a commuter train so it stops everywhere along the way. But it isn’t busy this morning. When we arrive at the foot of Montserrat, where we catch the rack train to take us up, up. Looks like we will go into the clouds covering the peaks. We can see the monastery buildings from way down below, where we stand. When the train arrives we find seats. The train waits and others arrive, but it isn’t a full train going up. And up we go! The valley below us gets smaller to the eye with each turn the train makes as it winds it’s way up the hill.

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When we arrive and exit the station, it takes my breath away! Majestic.

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We decide to visit the basilica and end up in the line up to see the Black Madonna. Not on the plan, but ended being serendipitously amazing.
You walk thru an ornate stairwell which has carved balustrades, porticoes and statues of alabaster. The walls are lined with mosaics of female saints, many of them resplendent with metallic leaf of gold, copper and silver.

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The Black Madonna is in a small room and encased in glass. Believers cross themselves and then touch the orb she holding (which sits outside the case).

We will see the rest of the basilica later. We head to one of the plazas, order our cafe americano and buy some bread, cheese and salami for a picnic.

Funicular up to the top of the mountain. Steep, misty, and rather magical. Bet it is beyond words on a clear day. We hiked up the mountain. See the “spine” of rocks!

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Back down the mountain on the funicular and hop on the funicular down to the sacred cave. David did the hike, I sat and took in the beauty around me.

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If you look closely at the picture on the bottom left, there is David.

Back up on the funicular and one last look at the basilica.

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Of course it is resplendent, but what really did it for me were the hanging lights. So many and everyone different. David joked I was shopping for a new light for the condo!

We took the gondola ride down to catch the train. It runs every 15 minutes, except between 2 and 2:35 pm. We got there at 2:10 So we waited and were joined by others. They crowd a fair number of people (standing room only) into the little yellow box. 5 minutes down. Amazing and a little nerve wracking views 😳👀

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Caught the train and cat napped all the way back to Barcelona!

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