Tag Archive: Montserrat


To Montserrat & Back


Home of the Black Madonna. Just an hour’s journey via R5 from Placa de Espanya Station in Barcelona heading towards Manresa. One must decide before the train ride whether to ride the “connecting” cable car or funicular Cremallera up to the monastery. If you’ve decided to take the cable car, you need to get off the R5 train at the Aeri de Montserrat. If you are taking the funicular, you get off at the next station, the Monistrol de Montserrat. Slightly longer but cheaper. Combined tickets (train+cable car OR train+Cremallera) can be purchased at Placa de Espanya.

Either way, the ride guarantees stunning views. Montserrat literally translates to “serrated mountains”. The train weaves through the mountains as it climbs, and the cable car or cremallera gives an even more panoramic view as the short ride transports you right on Monastery grounds. The Black Madonna sits inside and at the top of the altar inside the basilica. We waited in line with other pilgrims for half an hour to go up and touch the Black Madonna. We also heard mass where Gregorian chants were sung by a boys’ choir from the monastery’s boarding school. On Saturdays, the chants are sung by the monks. We came on a Friday and the singing was heavenly!

Either before or after the visit to the basilica, you can linger around to appreciate the stunning beauty of Montserrat. Or light a candle and say more prayers. We did both. But we couldn’t stay longer outdoors because it was friggin’ cold! We could even hardly go past the beautiful square & courtyard of the Monastery, because of the freezing weather. Then and there, I ditched plans to check out the footpaths and hiking trails. Not even a funicular ride to reach higher grounds or to check St. Michael’s Cross or Santa Cova could lure me to engage in any adventure. Besides, it’s way past our feeding time 😩

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And so we’ve decided to have our adventure inside the Hotel Abat Cisneros Montserrat instead. The hotel is right beside the Monastery. Other lunch options include the Cafeteria which I’ve tried twice before. Nothing fancy. But a peek into the hotel’s dining area and a browse-through of its Menu convinced us that we’re ready for a proper meal. Lamb for the nieta and pulpo for the señora abuela. And a small bottle of vino blanco between us. Purrrrrfect!

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A perfect day. Gaudi surrounds. Gaudi abounds in the city. You see it. You smell it. You almost taste it. Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia. There’s more. A Gaudi overload.

 

 

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Rooftop. Casa Batllo. Barcelona.

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Parc Guell. Barcelona.

 

 

It should have been a perfect day for my girls. Barcelona does not disappoint. Gaudi overwhelms, but you can break the sensory overload with a visit to the Black Madonna. Such a trip to Montserrat is both a pilgrimage and a bonus adventure.

 

 

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Interior Shot. Montserrat Basilica.

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Montserrat.

 

 

My girls must have been so carried away with the “serrated” (thus MontSERRAT) mountain scene that they’ve lost track of time. The line to see the Black Madonna up close, the aisle view from the top, the lighted candles in varied colors, the cold breeze — all these add to the spirituality of the shrine.

 

 

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The Black Madonna.

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Lost in time. Wrapped in their thermals. The last funicular just left and my girls must be lighting more candles, whispering their prayers.

 

 

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Twilight in Montserrat.

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Just one option left to return to the city. A downhill hike. An hour in the cold with only the serrated mountains as company. Stony buddies.

 

 

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Well, they got back well before dinner. Huffing and Puffing. And darn COLD. 🙂