Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain
Montserrat was just about an hour on the train from Barcelona. It was reputable for its scenic landscape and a large mountain top monastery.
The idea of going to higher grounds appealed to me because I was absolutely melting in the heat in Barcelona city. After all, Montserrat was the highest point of the Catalan lowlands. Maybe going up the slopes would bring about cooler temperatures. My wrists were already aching like hell from fanning myself so hard every day.
Hah. No such luck. A bunch of
people tourists were packed like sardines in the cable car that would bring us up to the mountains. And we were practically baking in it. Note my friend fanning himself quite unglamorous with a fan. We were not in the state of mind to worry about not looking cool.
Going up the slopes on the cable car with a bunch of tourists was certainly interesting. Every alternate person had a DSLR hanging off their neck. It was major equipment snobbery. Hahaha..
But only a good camera could do this view justice. Montserrat was beautiful.
We arrived to the top of the slopes to discover it was just as hot as ever. And none of the restaurants or cafes were air conditioned. DUH!
I swear I will never.. ever.. come to Spain in August again. It was pure torture in the heat. I’m not kidding. In August, some businesses close for the entire month because even the locals don’t want to work in that heat!
Montserrat was fascinating to explore. It is a religious location and Catalans love to come here for religious retreats. Catholic pilgrims also travel long distances to come here to see the Black Madonna. Which we didn’t bother to see, because it meant queuing behind what seemed like 100 people in the heat to see a dark statue of Virgin Mary.
We did however watch a choir sing in the beautiful Basilica church. We had rushed there (i.e. running in the heat) after lunch to catch the performance and it was so worth it. The church was stunning and the choir did a beautiful performance.
If you are religious, you would love visiting this place. It was absolutely beautiful and serene inside.
And a funicular ride brings you higher up the slopes where there are even more spectacular views of the valleys.
I was already half dead from the heat by the time we did this and it didn’t even matter anymore how great the view was. I was sitting with an old lady in the shade and we had fun whining about how hot it was. Haha!
We travelled to Montserrat on the train from the Espanya Metro Station. Look for Line R5 that heads towards Manresa. The station is large and easy to get lost in. If in doubt, get out of the station and find the tourist information booth on the streets in front of the Fira de Barcelona building. Train tickets can be purchased there.