Edit Blog Post
Published: March 25th 2018
On the way up the mountain
Another beautiful day in Barcelona.
Kate arrived this morning (after her overnight bus trip) ready to go on our "Montserrat, Tapas & Wine Tasting" tour. This started in Plaza Catalunya where we met our guide for the day - Xavi, and the rest of our group (including Justin from Chigago!) Then a bus ride to Monistrol (about an hour north west from Barcelona), with interesting commentary along the way (we were told that we were on the 1/2 day tour (10 to 5.30, as opposed to the full day tour 10 to 7.30??)) where we caught the cogwheel train up the mountain to Montserrat. (I chose a tour that included the train, as a friend from work had told me how good it was - she failed to mention that the train goes up the side of a cliff!!) Spectacular views on the 15 minute journey.
Xavi then gave us a guided tour of the Montserrat site, including the Monastery, famous for the Black Madonna and its' surrounds. Also includied was a tasting of the liqueur made on site, (by the nuns, not the monks apparently). There were 4 to taste - mixed herbs (very ordinary, but Kate &
View from the train
Can see the snow capped Pyrenees in the background
Maurice liked it), walnut (I thought this one was nice), hazelnut and cream (the last one was a bit like Baileys, and also nice). Then some sweet bread (like foccacia with sugar on top) to soak up the alcohol! We passed the queue to touch the Black Madonna, on the way into the abbey and then Xavi was keen to point out (inside the abbey) the chandelier that had been donated by FC Barcelona.
Then, as Xavi was keen to point out, we had a whole hour of free time. Maurice and Kate chose to walk to the Cross of San Miguel, which we had seen when we got off the train (20 mins each way). I decided to check out the farmers market (locally produced cheese (mostly goat) and honey). Then made my way back to the abbey to hear the choir sing at 1pm (Maurice & Kate made it in time as well). The boys choir (L'Escolania - one of the oldest in Europe) were very good.
Then the bus took us to Oller Del Mas, an organic winery in Manresa (north of Montserrat) for a winery tour and tasting. There was still small amounts of
Looking at the cross from outside the Abbey
snow on the side of the road as we went down the mountain. The winery is housed in a restored 10th century castle, and we first had cheese and wine outside (this was my favourite wine - made from Picapolls grapes - apparently a regional specialty. Then through the winery (up and down lots of stairs - always my favourite) to our Tapas and Tasting. Tapas were nice (4 savoury, 1 sweet), wine not so nice (1 white, 2 red) but a fun time, with Xavi educating and amusing us the whole time.
Back in Barcelona (by 5.30pm - because it was the 1/2 day tour), we headed for Placa Reial for dinner, but not till 8.30pm, because apparently lunch in Spain is 2-5pm, and dinner not till after 9pm. Maurice had discovered this square with lots of restaurants and cafes on his morning search for coffee (he discovered not much opens till 10am). We chose an Italian restaurant so dinner was tapas, paella and sangria - made perfect sense!
Tot: 1.945s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 9; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0277s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb