Thursday, August 7, 2014

Montserrat, Spain

Just outside Barcelona is a dramatic set of mountains called Montserrat, which means "serrated mountains." After riding up the funicular train, we discovered an amazing area. The views were not so great due to cloud cover, but the clouds rolled around the mountain tops making them more mysterious and fascinating.

Montserrat view into the Catalonian valley below

More of the cloud-topped mountains

The mountains have drawn hermits to live in caves or build small monasteries in addition to the main monastery on the mountain.

Can you spot the monasteries?

The Benedictine monastery

View of the monastery complex from a mountain trail

A tourist industry has grown up around the main monastery (which is home to an ancient statue of Mary venerated by people far and wide). Plenty of shops and the occasional museum are located here, along with some outdoor sculptures of varying quality.

Abbot Oliba statue

Pau Casals statue

Ariadne by Subirach (1985)

Detail of Ariadne's face (it's sculpted inward rather than outward)

A random knight

A garden sculpture

The children's impressions of Montserrat ran the gamut of emotions.

Happy children

Not as happy children

We found a way to improve L's mood. After trying the local soft cheese on her, which she did not like, we bought her some ice cream. J doesn't like cold things, so he had a cookie instead.

Local soft cheese, looks like ice cream

Local ice cream, looks like a foot

We also visited the Monastery of Montserrat, which is the main attraction. That will have its own post on Sunday.

Gateway leading to the monastery

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