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Published: April 26th 2018
We decided to take another day trip today to the mountain Monastery of Monserrat. We (of course) went and got our daily croissants at our new favorite breakfast place Patisseria Hoffman, Kelly getting a ham and cheese croissant again, Cody getting a chocolate apricot marmalade croissant as well as the ham and cheese croissant. We trekked the 40 minutes to the Barcelona train station (not nearly as close as we would have liked!), and were on our way to Monserrat by 10:30 am. The train ride is about an hour, and then we took a cable car up to the top of the mountain.
The monastery dates back to the ninth century, with the abbey being built in the 11th century. Monserrat is the home to one of the oldest boys choirs worldwide, Escolania, which dates back to the 13th century. There were four original chapels built, and many spots to hike to in the mountains. We started with a trip into the basilica for the performance of the boys choir, which consists of young boys in the soprano and alto ranges. For being so young, it was amazing how polished their performance was, and the acoustics in the basilica
were amazing. We next went to the audiovisual tour of the Monserrat to learn more about its history. What Monserrat is most famous for is it is the home to the "Meroneta," which means the "Little black one," who is a black Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus. Mary holds an orb in her right hand which represents the sphere of the universe. It is a sphere to represent Creation and God's universal power. She is located in the back of the Basilica, and everything except half of the orb is within a glass case. People walking by the Meroneta touch the orb while they visit her. After our audiovisual tour through the exhibit, we visited the Menroneta and both touched the orb.
Our next stop of our visit was to Santa Cova, which is a chapel in which there were visions of the Meroneta hundreds of years ago. The hike took about 40 minutes each way, the way there being mostly downhill, meaning the way back was unfortunately mostly uphill. On the journey there are statues and sculptures of the Passion of Christ. The actual chapel is literally built into the mountain. It is very small, and the
alter is built into the stone of the mountain. There is a smaller version of the Meroneta, and a small suspended Jesus Christ. There are candles burning, but otherwise it was a small and simple chapel.
We next took the railway back down to the train station. We both wanted to try a winery in Catalan, so we found one a 35 minute walk from a train station on our way back to Barcelona. Half of the walk was on a dirt road leading to the vineyard, and there were no cars there when we arrived! Luckily there was a bell to ring, so we were able to talk to one of the owners of the winery and purchased two bottles of their wine (no tasting provided, though). They're coming with us to Granada, so stay tuned to find out if they are any good. For our way back, halfway to the train station there was a gas station we were able to call a cab for. We worked on some crossword puzzles while waiting for about 30 minutes before deciding to just walk back to the train station. Five minutes into our walk, a car pulled over and
told us she had seen us at the gas station and knew we were waiting for a taxi. It turned out she was friends with the taxi driver who was MIA and wanted to help us out. Us, again being the trusting individuals we are, got into the vehicle. She ended up driving us to a train station that had a faster route back to Barcelona and was extremely friendly and helpful!!
Considering we were pretty tired from the warm sunny day in the mountains, our "winery bust" excursion, and train ride back, we ended up at Perikete again to enjoy a meal we knew would be solid. We tried some small scallops, sausage dishes, fried dogfish, and some old faithfuls like patatas bravas, and thoroughly enjoyed our meal!
For those who are traveling to Barcelona, we highly recommend the Monserrat if you have the time, and would overall recommend the trip to Barcelona! Tomorrow we have an early day to get to Granada, but are looking forward the city of free tapas with drink orders. 😊
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