Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tuesday, May 24th

Our excursion today was to Montserrat,  a mountain chain near Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1 ,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m).[1] The Caribbean island of Montserrat is named after this mountain chain.

It is well-known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary We took the Metro to the train station and then rode for an hour or so.  Had an enjoyable chat with a Chinese couple from Calgary, Canada.  After the train ride we had to ride a Teleferico up to the town of Monteserrat.  What a beautiful ride, not for those afraid of heights though.  The Basilica was off limits until 12noon(unless you were actually going in to attend Mass) so we decided to go further up the mountain and hike some trails down, the views were incredible, this really is God's country.  We meandered back down the mountain (about 1 1/2 hrs.) and then continued down below the Basilica to the Sacred Cave.  In this Cave, about the 12th Century a small wooden statue of the Black Virgin was found.  A replica is now in the Chapel and the original Statue is in the Basilica.  We took a Funicular back up to the Monastery and went into the Church.  It was beautiful, absolutely an amazing work of architecture and art.


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