Barcelona Day 3: Montserrat

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Do you remember that movie BARCELONA from the mid 1990s?

It was about two awkward American expats living in the city and they both loved a girl named Montserrat.

That movie was the first time I’d ever heard the name Montserrat, and it’s funny that all these years the name stood out to me. When I learned there was an actual place called Montserrat in Spain, I had to check it out.

Montserrat is a mountain about an hour train ride outside of Barcelona. In addition to hiking trails and pretty views, it has a monastery perched on the side of the mountain and lots of religious art. The real star, however, is the “Black Virgin”, which was found hidden inside a cave on the mountain in the 11th century. It’s believed the icon was transferred there in order to protect it from invading Moors.

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 While getting to Montserrat was not hard per se, it was a bit of a planes, trains, and automobile adventure. Actually, it was literally a metro- train- cable car adventure. All that hustle bustle was good though. Because when you arrive at the top and breathe the fresh air, it’s peaceful.

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Montserrat is a nice day trip from Barcelona, especially if you’re a bit tired of city life. I wouldn’t say you’ll escape the crowds up there though, as there were plenty of visitors and locals alike. The cable car only fits about 30 people at a time, so if there’s a long line, you might be waiting a while. On the day we were there, a very angry dad traveling with his family blew a fuse when his teenage son stepped out of line for a picture outside.

“Zachary! Zachary! Jesus… what are you doing?!!! We’re almost at the front of the line!!!” said by the dad in complete panic

The crowd got a big laugh out of that one. Poor Zachary… chastised in front of an entire crowd just for wanting to take in the scene.

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If you plan on seeing the Black Virgin, I recommend getting to the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey right away and claiming your spot in line. It’s a loooong line that winds through the church, up stairs, around corners. Every time we thought we were close, there was another staircase to go up. It took about 2 hours to get to the final spot.

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Finally made it to the Virgin! While the statue is enclosed in glass, the golden orb in her hand is outside the glass for people to touch. Rubbing the orb and saying a prayer is good luck.

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The best part of the scene was the ceiling… up above the Virgin was a gold sparkly mosaic. Unfortunately, the photos just doesn’t show how gorgeous the ceiling was.

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How long have you stood in line to see something historical? What’s your time limit?

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