Today, Bonnie and I left our group and ventured out for a tour of Montserrat. Montserrat (meaning serrated mountains) is located about 40miles outside of Barcelona and is Spain’s first national park. The area is also known for the Basilica of the Virgin of Montserrat, the patron saint of Catalonia, and has also been home to a Benedictine community for nearly 1000 years. Their library houses the oldest written text in Catalan (12th century). L’Escolania choir school, the oldest boys’ choir in Spain, is also located here.
The religious history began in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat Mountains. In the same moment, the children heard angels singing. The photo below is of the Holy Grotto which marks the site of the vision.
When we arrived at the Basilica, Mass was being said for a packed house.
Montserrat is also famous for the Moreneta (Back Madonna), an 11th century Romanesque carving.
Our three hours at Montserrat were simply not enough to see all we wanted to see. The art museum and ride on the funicular to the top the mountain were among the things we missed. In the evening we took the subway to the Plaça d'Espanya to watch the beautiful fountains in front of the Palau National.
After the show we dinned near Les Arenes. This used to be the site of bull fights before they were banned in Barcelona. It now houses a mall. Another very full day!