Friday, June 29, 2007

Day Trip to Montserrat

It was cloudy and threatening rain when we left this morning for Montserrat, a monastery in the mountains north of Barcelona. But we had only today to see it so off we went. By the time we got there it had cleared up, tho not enough to see to Barcelona or the Pyrenees, which you can on a really clear day. We took the subway to the train station and then the train to the town just below the monastery. We had a choice of cable car or train to take us to the monastery, we took the train. The original monastery was destroyed by Napolean and then rebuilt and some of it looks quite modern. The basilica is very ornate and has a wooden statue of a dark Virgin Mary and Jesus that was found in a cave nearby. We walked down to the cave, which now has a shrine built around it. The path to the cave and the statuary along the route were designed by several Modernista designers, including Gaudi. Then we took the funicular up the mountain and walked to another chapel, that of St. Joan. The views were stunning from up there.

We took yesterday at a somewhat more leisurely pace, still using our "Turistica" hop on, hop off bus pass. We toured the southern end of the city, seeing some of the Olympic venues when Barcelona hosted them in 1992 and taking in the Mies Van Der Rohe pavillion and the Joan Miro Museum. Alexa and her granddad visited the Farnsworth house last month in Plano, IL and she said the pavillion was similar in design. On exhibit was the famous Barcelona chair that he designed in 1929 and still looks quite contemporary today. The girls have also enjoyed the modern art we have seen here in Spain. Last week when the whole group was together, the girls voted Madrid their favorite city and the Prado and the Reina Sophia Art Museum (which specializes in modern art) their favorite museums. When we were in Paris seven years ago, their favorite art museum was the Pompadieu Center, which also houses a fine collection of modern art.

Alexa and Julia are off doing their laundry in preparation for going to Dublin after we leave here on Sunday. When they get back we will ramble down "Las Ramblas" in search of dinner, since it is almost 9pm and actually early for dinner by Spain standards. I must say I could get used to the afternoon siesta and late dinners. Lori, any chance we could close say from between 2 and 4 in the afternoon? Of course the rest of the staff might not be too happy staying open then until 9pm.

See you next week.

1 comment:

Fiacre said...

I was wondering if you had a chance to spend much time at the gardens at the monastery. In particular I have heard that they had trees planted there representing the life of Christ, and was wondering if you noticed, or if the species were noted in a brochure or something like that.

Great blog! If I’m ever in the Midwest, I’ll be certain to stop by your garden center.