Our 2007 UK and Europe Trip
Nature, Culture and Spirituality at Montserrat
16 Nov 2007
Earlier this year our grandson had a “Transport” unit in his first term at school and he had worked out how his family could get from Barcelona to Montserrat which is about 30 klms north west of the city. I wish we had had him with us on this day as we got ourselves hopelessly muddled up in the railway system. We weren’t the only ones in this situation and we attached ourselves to an American couple who were in the same boat. Surely the four of us couldn’t be that stupid! Unfortunately we misunderstood all the instructions but eventually found ourselves on the correct train to Montserrat.
We thought we had paid for a cable car ride up from the train to the mountain – but no – wrong again so we shelled out more Euros to get up to our destination. Another scary ride but beautiful views. Montserrat was declared a Natural Park in 1987 and is a mecca for climbers and we did see three climbing. The landscape is quite spectacular and we went a further 1000 metres up on the funicular railway. This is a wonderful way up the mountain with the incline at 60º. It looks so steep but isn’t quite as bad a ride as it looks. We took one of the paths at the top and enjoyed the solitude of the mountain enjoying the views and peacefulness.
The Benedictine Monastery has been on the mountain for almost a 1000 years and the community today is around 80 monks. We made sure that we were at the basilica at 1 o’clock to hear the boy’s choir sing. This choir is possibly the oldest established boy’s choir in Europe. Their voices were just like angels and we enjoyed their performance immensely. We then climbed up the stairs behind the altar to see the Holy Image of Our Lady of Montserrat, the Black Madonna. I will have to check up on this but apparently there are only 3 Black Madonnas in the world and now we have seen 2 of them.
The journey back to Barcelona was a lot easier and we went off route only once in the Metro which was quickly rectified. We called back into our favourite Tappas Bar for a drink and an entrée of deep fried whitebait. It was still very cool and we were glad to get back to the apartment to warm up and to make plans for our last day in Barcelona.