In the photo above you can see the church and abbey of Montserrat, which was built high on a jagged mountain to house the Virgin of Montserrat, a legendary Spanish sculpture reportedly found in a nearby cave. Or maybe the legend is that shepard children saw Mary in the rocks? I'm not sure, but something miraculous like that. The setting is so beautiful, and so isolated, that I can see why it is considered a holy place. The monastery still houses monks, and people make pilgrimages to Montserrat.
This was an extremely beautiful place to visit. Our entire group traveled by train, and then by cable car to the top of the mountain to visit the church and explore some of the hiking trails.
There are no roads to get to the monastery, so I can't imagine how monks managed to build such an elaborate church. A cable train makes it easier to get to these days. We decided to take the cable car instead of the train which was one of the scariest rides I have ever taken.
I didn't take photos inside the church, but the interior was practically plated in gold and silver. It was so shiny! There were stupidly long lines to visit the sculpture of the virgin, so Brandon and I elected to enjoy the views of the mountain instead of seeing the sculpture up close.
The trail we selected to hike lead us to the Holy Cave, following the Path of the Rosary. In the picture above you can see the chapel of the Holy Cave perched on the side of the mountain. When we first saw the end destination I thought there would be no way we could walk to it. I thought we would have to sprout wings or strap on climbing gear to get there from the starting point.
Along the trail there were sculptures by Spanish artists, including Gaudi, to represent stations on the rosary. The views were spectacular.
I took the picture above from the trail. Can you see those two tiny yellow dots near the bottom center of the photo? That's the cable car! I can't believe we did that. Twice!
I enjoyed the chapel at the holy cave more than the famous church because we were the only people there and it was so peaceful. The chapel is built right into the rock, and a reproduction of the virgin sculpture rests on a stone shelf. I'm putting our trip to Montserrat on the top of my list of favorite places I've visited in Spain.
After catching the last train back to Barcelona we decided to catch the metro to the movie theater to see Lobezno Inmortal, which is the Spanish title of the new Wolverine movie. We've been joking about Lobezno all week because there are advertisements for the movie plastered all over the city and Brandon loves to say "Lobezno Inmortal" in his dramatic movie dubbed Spanish voice. While we were waiting for the movie to start we walked around a mall and got kick out of the milk vending machine in the photo above. Is it weird to bring a bottle and buy milk by the liter? I thought the vending machines full of books were strange too.
Lobezno was terrible! Worse even than I expected, which almost made it worth the cost of the tickets just so we could spend the next few hours rehashing all the terrible things about the movie. We had hours to complain about it, because the movie was out so late that the metro wasn't running so we got the opportunity to figure out the night bus. Barcelona is a late night town, and most people don't go out for dinner until nine anyway, so by one in the morning there were plenty of characters on the bus with us. Two drunk ladies got on the bus and refused to pay. Brandon and I were mostly interpreting from body language and snippets of Spanish we understand, but from what we could tell the driver threatened to call the police if they didn't get off or pay, which they refused to do. This angered the other passengers and they were very vocal about expressing their anger to the women that wouldn't pay or leave. Finally one passenger said she would pay their way if they would come to the front of the bus but when they got to the door she shoved them out and the driver slammed the door and we drove off. Team work!