Our cruise ended in the city that we started in beautiful Barcelona. Our flight back to Germany was not until 4pm, so we took advantage of the time to visit the majestic site at the Montserrat Monastery about 30 miles northwest from Barcelona. And, we are happy that we did….
Barcelona is the 2nd largest city in Spain behind Madrid in the Catalonia region.
Early morning start through the streets of Barcelona. We were here on January 6th, which is the Day of Epiphany (Catholic Holiday in reference to when Jesus was presented to the Three Wise Men 12 days after his birth). Since it was a holiday, nothing was open, which helped us travel Barcelona in what would have been rush hour.
Another Gaudi building with its curvy lines
A famous architect from this region of Spain, Antoni Gaudi, designed several buildings in Barcelona. And this building pays honor to the theater.
After about 30 minutes of travel west of Barcelona, the mountain of Montserrat comes into view. In Spanish, it means “saw tooth”. Christopher Columbus named the Caribbean island Montserrat after this mountain because of the similar look.
Halfway up, the fog layer starts to end, and we can see the mountain top. The elevation at the top is about 4000 feet.
Then, at the top, it looks as it we are floating on clouds with the fog below.
15 second time lapse video (1 minute 30 seconds) at 12x normal speed….to give a sense of how fast the fog was flowing and how it just stayed along the contour of the ground
The building in the foreground of the mountain is the Montserrat Abbey, which is a Benedictine Monastery built in the 6th Century.
There are a few ways up the mountain: by car/bus, hike/bike, train, or cable car.
This mountain has been very special to the people of the region forever. Before Christianity, the Romans built an alter to Venus here.
The ceiling above where the Black Madonna sits is laced with beautiful mosaics.
One of the most famous items here is this statue called the “Black Madonna” or “Black Virgin”. She was originally carved from wood in Jerusalem at the beginning of Christianity, and then later moved here in the 8th Century. She is 38″ tall an sits in a pose called “the throne of wisdom”. In one hand, she holds a sphere representing the universe and the other the baby Jesus. She sits above the altar that is 90 stair steps up. The custom is to walk by, kiss the sphere, hold your hand open to Jesus and a miracle will be bestowed upon you. Because of this, this is a famous pilgrimage site for people.
A closer shot of the mosaic tiles that form the pictures
Beautiful stain glass windows and with the bright sun shining in, the room was full of colors as if you were standing inside of a prism
The design of the support of the top of the church inside is amazing, considering the engineering skills of the 6th-8th centuries!!
You can light a candle and offer a prayer to the Virgin Mary
The prayer alter for the Virgin Mary
One last look before we left
Cable car going down…but, we have to get back on our bus that will take us to the airport
Taking advantage of the good lighting and beautiful background
The mountains on the horizon that are snow-capped are the Pyrenees Mountains (12,000 feet tall mountains that form the natural border between Spain & France)
And, it was from here to which we headed to the Barcelona Airport for our return flight home to Germany. In May, we have another Mediterranean cruise, and that time we plan to see more of the beautiful city of Barcelona.