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November 18th 2013
Published: November 18th 2013
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I had intended that we would take the day off, but I checked the weather and everything had changed. The original forecast was for sun for two weeks. Now, we were to have one more day of sun before a series of rainy ones. So I wanted to take advantage of clear skies and we hustled to get ready to go to Monserrat. Monserrat is a mountain range an hour train ride out of Barcelona. You take the train to the foot of the mountain and the you can take a cable car up to the Monastery at its top. The monastery and the Black Madonna is a central icon for faith in Catalonia. We were lucky to be there on a sunny day in November because the influx of pilgrims was not insane. The monastery is a centre for learning with a famous boys choir. We enjoyed our walk through. The true delight for me was taking a further track train straight up the side of the mountain to where all the hiking paths start. These mountains are all of pebbles mixed with sand and bound with natural calcite cement. Therefore they are quite soft and the rain, and wind have carved the peaks into interesting shapes. There are all sorts of trails at the top, leading to hermitages built into caves in the mountain, tiny buildings of worship for Saint Jean, Jerome, Magdalen, and Michel. Some trails are wide and cemented, others are wooded nature trails and others are ancient crumbling steps etched up the steep walls of rock. We took the track train up, then climbed to the hermitage, then walked all the way down to the Monastery, which took somewhat more than an hour. The views were stunning. We could see to the Mediterranean, down into valleys, and across the top of the mountain range. We left after seeing a audiovisual show about the Monastery, which ended with a song from the boys choir. Their voices echoed in us as we rested in the train on our ride home.

As predicted, the next days were full of rain. We left the apartment only for food. It was nice to take off a couple of days to do nothing, but read, write and watch TV. It's easy to get caught up in going out to see everything possible, the urge is strong since you may never be back. Taking a day off means that you aren't so over whelmed by all the fantastic images that you can't absorb any more. We'll be back for more soon.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams

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