|Tram to the Top|
Montserrat & a Waltz down the La Rambla
This is Tuesday and we took a trip to Montserrat by train. We had already found out where to catch the train. So after breakfast we grabbed cameras, turned in the hotel key, and headed out the door to flag a taxi to the station. The cab showed up and we were on our way to the Plaza d’ Espanya. MA engaged the cab drive in some high level Spanish and learned that he was staying home on Wednesday in support of the General Strike throughout Spain. More on this later. We arrived in plenty of time to catch the 9:30 am train to Montserrat.
Montserrat, which means “serrated mountain”, is the location of the Monastery of Montserrat. The Monastery is surrounded by hermit caves, chapels, and jagged rocks which give it its name. It has a basilica, a museum, and is home to hundreds of Benedictine monks. It dates back to 9th Century, expanded in the 11th Century, attacked by the French in 1811 and rebuilt in 1844.
|Interior of the Basilica|
After about an hour and ten minutes train ride during which MA and a couple from Brazil engaged in a lively conversation in Portuguese, the train stopped below the Monastery and we boarded a tram which took us high up to the top of the mountain, 4055 ft above sea level. The view was awesome. We stopped in the cafeteria and had coffee and walked into the Basilica. The monks surely built a “one of a kind” place of worship.
Soon it was time to head back to Barcelona so we took the tram down to the train station. It was lunch time so we opened our ham and cheese sandwiches and had a lunch while we waited for the train. The ride back was a little confusing because the train we boarded didn’t go all the way to Barcelona. MA had made friends with a young Spanish woman, Noemí who showed us how to transfer to another train at a designated station. It is sure handy having a quad-linguist wife!
Our plan was to ride the train back to our starting place and use the remaining day on our Touristic Bus ticket and get off at the Old Quarter and go through the city museum. Instead we hopped off and started up the historic and famous “La Rambla”. This pedestrian walkway stretches from the big Plaça de Catalunya to the Mediterranean.
It is filled with souvenir shops, flower stalls, mime artists, musicians, dancers, newsstands, and cafes, tourists, natives, and don’t forget the pickpockets. MA and I sat down at a café and watched a mime dressed as a fruit tree come to life whenever someone dropped a coin in his cup. He would suddenly grab a wreath of artificial fruit and loop it over the payee’s head along with a hat of artificial fruit until someone took a photo.
Stuck in Barcelona
The Spanish are going on a “General Strike” tomorrow, 29 September and we were holding our breath hoping our flight would not be affected. It is. We were notified by Continental that our flight was cancelled and they rescheduled us for Saturday. No problem. MA got on the computer and got us a room at an airport hotel so we won’t be sleeping on waiting chairs. We are just going to make the best of it and fly home Saturday. We stopped at the local mini-market and loaded up on bottled water and snacks and checked our trip interruption insurance to see what they are going to pay! This means we will regrettably miss our Bible Study class for one more Saturday and MA sent out an SOS to the ladies that Friday night Bible Study is also cancelled.
So, hasta la vista you-all! Later! WW
Some more pictures: