Trip to Montserrat

Yesterday we ventured outside Barcelona and took a one-hour train ride to visit the mountain town of Montserrat. It’s known for its basilica, the Santa Maria de Montserrat, and its breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and towns. After the train, we got off and took a cable car to the city square at the top of the mountain, which was awesome and scary at the same time. It was one of those contraptions that you know is safe, but it still makes you nervous.

We started right here...

We started right here…

...and finished right here.

…and finished right here.

Once we reached the top, I immediately knew it was worth the trip. The views were absolutely unreal, the kind that make you hold onto the railing when you look over the edge (at least they make me do that, I’m kind of afraid of heights). Here are some pictures of the views and the buildings of the town nestled into the mountains.

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Then, the basilica of Montserrat was like icing on the view-cake. It was built in the 11th century, and it was one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen (which, if you saw yesterday’s blog about La Sagrada Familia, is saying a lot). It’s famous for its ancient statue of the Virgin Mary, which interestingly has black skin, much like the one we saw earlier in our dialogue atop the La Peña mountain outside Madrid. I learned that these are among many “Black Madonna” statues, which were made all across Europe during the medieval period. It was a great day trip, one I’d recommend to anyone who visits Barcelona. I’ll sign off as usual with a gallery: enjoy these of pictures of the basilica and its nearly 1000-year-old Black Madonna.

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