La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia. It’s sacrilege if you miss it. And so of course it was a must that we all pay homage to this amazing work in progress! They have been building this since 1882- and they are still making major additions. The details are fascinating – What was Gaudi thinking? Thus the tour of the church is crucial – The effort and thoughts of Gaudi explained, really makes the story behind the structure so moving. One should take one’s time to peer up and gaze from various angles. Only then will you appreciate this remarkable building.
The mountain Montserrat with the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat lies about 45 km northwest of Barcelona. The about 1,200-meter-high mountain is a grand sight from far away already. From the top, you can experience a view far into the landscape of Catalonia.
Arriving by car or motorcycle on well-developed hairpin bends and curves is a foretaste of what you can expect on the summit of Montserrat.
Once you have arrived in the Montserrat monastery, you can experience an indescribable view up to Barcelona. The city itself is hidden behind the Tibidabo mountain.
The monastery of Montserrat is no specific architectural landmark, however exciting is the backdrop in which the ruins are build. Many of the tourists travel there only to see the statue of the Black Madonna, patron saint of Catalonia. The figure of the 12th century thrones above the high altar in the basilica of the monastery. In honour of her, Gregorian chants will be sang daily by about 50 boys from the “Escolania de Montserrat”, the monestary’s boarding school (Monday-Friday 12.00 by the boys’ choir , Sat sang by the monks and Sunday by the boys’ choir again).
In the Museum of Montserrat monastery, you can see works of major artists such as Dali, El Greco, Monet or Giordano. In addition, you can see liturgical and archaeological exhibits.
There is a restaurant in the lower parts of the grounds of the monastery where you can get food and drinks at a fair price.
From the monastery, it is another 300 metres up to the peak of the Montserrat. A funicular goes almost all the way up to the summit. From there several good and well-marked hiking trails lead through the nature park Montserrat. Several hiking trails of different lengths lead from the summit station of the funicular to the deserted hermitages. It is worth the effort – you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Catalonia. Though the trails are well-developed, you should wear sturdy shoes and be in good condition in order to manage the hike.
Montjuic for me is like the Central Park of NYC or The Great District in Washington DC. It is an area where families can spend the whole day admiring a variety of attractions – from museums, fountains and gardens, Olympic grounds to the Poble Espanyol and it’s funeral gallery of a cemetery.
We did a brisk tour of Montjuic before dinner but personally, if I had a day to spare, I would have loved immersing myself in the museums.