Majestic Montserrat

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August 3rd 2017
Published: September 9th 2017
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Hello my fellow travellers!

Somewhat exhausted, due to the Brazilian guy barging in in the middle of the night, me and Ante managed to drag ourselves out of bed and down to the street where Laia, true to her word, was waiting for us with her car. It's about an hour or so drive from Sabadell to Montserrat and me and Ante did our best to stay awake to talk to Laia who was also tired since she rarely goes up this early in the morning, so it was a generally pretty tired party heading into the mountains on this morning.

Laia was also looking forward to going to Montserrat since she had never actually been there despite being able to see it from her parents house on a good day. The drive up the mountain went well even though Laia's poor car struggled at the worst elevations. We parked in the paid parking lot before the entrance to the monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat. It was founded in 880 and is still in function today with roughly some 70 or so monks living there. Parking was free for the first half hour and then 6.50 euro for the rest of the day, when Laia double checked this after couple of hours she saw that this was instead 6.50 euro per half hour after the first which kind of made us a bit sweaty as that bill would tack on pretty quickly but me and Ante said it would be fine and that the two of us would split the parking bill.

The view from up here is absolutely gorgeous, pretty much regardless of where you stand the surroundings will take your breath away and we just found ourselves standing in awe at the view before we made our way to the Santa Maria de Montserrat to see what the monastery itself looked like on the inside. It took a while though to get some decent pictures of the view because a whole lot of Chinese tourists kept barging into the picture, not caring in the least about us trying to take some pictures or waiting their turn like the rest of us did, to be honest it got rather annoying after a while.

Unfortunately it's not allowed to photograph inside the actual basilica, only on the courtyard and at the entry. I managed to snap a couple of quick photos though before the guard noticed me and I had to power down. It's a shame because it's really gorgeous on the inside and I wish I could have taken some good photos of it.

After our visit to the abbey we discussed for a bit on how to progress. Me and Laia wanted to take a walk up to Ermita de Sant Joan, hermitage of saint John the Baptist and Ermita de Sant Onofre, hermitage of saint Onuphrius. Laia's friend had run up there a while back and said it would take an hour or two to get there by walking and that it was a beautiful route. Ante didn't want to walk any more but wanted to take the funicular instead. We finally settled on walking up and and, if we were to tired afterwards, take the funicular back down.

We certainly weren't alone in this decision, there were several people walking upwards, but we met very few going downwards. I guess that steep climb really sucked the energy out of everyone, especially when doing it under this scorching sun. There were pretty much no shade for most of the walk and I didn't even have any water so I drank a lot before we got started and then just took an occasional sip from Ante's and Laia's bottles.

I guess they got a bit tired of me also dragging them on a few sidetracks such as going out to the Creu de Sant Miquel, a tall cross that stands on a beautiful vantage point. We also visited a small church known as Sant Miquel. I often found myself walking some 10 to 20 metres ahead of Ante and Laia who held a slower pace. But I thought it was actually a positive thing, for one it gave me plenty of time to find good spots for some nice photo shoots (which also gave us some nice respites from the walking) and it also gave Ante some time alone with someone other than me, hopefully giving him ample opportunity to practice his conversational skills.

As for the sidetracks I led us on I really do recommend the one leading to the Creu de Sant Miquel because you get an unbeatable view down over the monastery from it's vantage point. The small Sant Miquel near it is also very beautiful, unfortunately we couldn't go inside since it's only open for certain ceremonies a few times a year but at least we found some brief respite from the sun under it's protruding roof.

The part after the church is where I really started to give Ante and Laia a bit of space to themselves up until we were almost at the funicular station. Once we were closing in on it I waited for them at a place where we managed to find a bit of shade and we all shared a warm bottle of cola that Laia found in her backpack, it was delicious at the time. From the funicular station there is a short walk further up to actually reach the hermitage and so it was another bit of discussion on whether or not to go for it but thankfully we ended up reaching for it, under the promise to only go there and no further.

Said and done, once we reached the hermitage we turned back and went down to the funicular station. We couldn't buy tickets at the station though but Laia got us a ride down anyway and then we could buy our tickets at the lower station. Laia paid for all of them which was really sweet of her!

As we were leaving I offered to pay the parking bill and then me and Ante would settle it all afterwards, it turned out that we were lucky and it was as Laia had first thought with only 6.5 euro parking for the whole day so it was a lot cheaper than the 65 or so euro that I had expected!

I told them that it had been a lot cheaper and that me and Ante would pick up the dinner tab as well once we got down to the village below so we drove back down the mountain and went into a lovely restaurant where we really splurged with lots of delicious food, ice cream, melons, coffee, drinks, beer and so on. It was heavenly after a full day of trekking up the mountainside!

With our bellies full we got back in the car and returned to Sabadell, after a full day of walking under the sun and in a food induced coma I quite quickly fell asleep but Ante stayed awake and kept Laia company during our drive back. Once we reached Sabadell Laia asked if it was okay if she stayed with us for the rest of the day while we checked out Sabadell as well, both me and Ante happily agreed to this as she is wonderful company.

On her recommendation we started with a leisure time in Parc de Catalunya, a lovely park at the heart of Sabadell. I was still more or less asleep and we just sat by the side of the artificial lake and fed the birds without really exploring the depths of the park. It was a really lovely time and it felt great to wind down and rest our legs. It was really cool to get the massive swans to eat out of my hand, I usually don't go to near them, not after one of them went into full aggression mode against me a few years back, but this one behaved well enough. In the lake was also one of the cutest little ducklings ever born, it was rushing around with the cutest quacks ever, we all made sure a lot of food came his way without the larger ducks interfering.

In the park there was also some available rental boats and we saw some people out rowing but neither of us really felt up to that task, we were all quite happy to just rest by the shore.

We didn't move around much at all, just walked a little around the lake until we finally felt rested enough and me and Ante wanted to see what Sabadell had to offer so we made our way into the centre to check out the church Sant Fèlix de Sabadell and Ajuntament de Sabadell, the city hall. Especially the church is quite nice and certainly worth a closer look, scattered around the city are also some really nice public drinking fountains adorned with statues of children, the water tastes as bad as usual but the fountains are cool at least.

During our walk we also took a look at the Vapor Buxeda Vell, an old textile factory and the two beautiful churches Esglesia de l'immaculat Cor de Maria and Parròquia de la Santíssima Trinitat.

As the dark was beginning to fall we rounded out the day with some ice cream before Laia headed home and me and Ante went back to Jerson's place. Both the American and Canadian girls had left, we said our goodbyes this morning but the Brazilian guy was still there but kept to himself so I didn't really talk to him so it was Jerson, Laila, Ante and me who shared an evening meal before going to bed.

Tomorrow we will return to Sweden without much ado since we leave fairly early and it will take a while to get from Sabadell to the airport, I'll probably do a brief summary tomorrow but nothing to extensive.

Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!

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