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  • Day82

    Montserrat Monastery

    November 24, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    Day trip to Montserrat Monastery today. An hour and a half each way, plus 25min ish for the cable car up the mountain. Cable car was cool and only slightly terrifying.

    The abbey and Basilica are set amongst the rocks of the Monserrat mountains. The monastery began in the 10th century, and still functions as a monastery today (there are roughly 80 monks in residence). It celebrated 1000 years of existence in 1880. Interesting history - it was burned down and sacked by Napoleon's troops twice, and violently suppressed during the Spanish Civil War. It became a safe haven for scholars, students, artists and politicians during Franco's reign - and as a result became a symbol for Catalan nationalism.

    The Basilica is impressive and gilt and golden and ornate - but really seems like missing the point when you have such natural beauty around. Lot of tourists even in the off season. Not a tourist trap or terrible experience by any means but still felt a bit disingenuous. Heard the boys choir sing in the church - which was nice enough.

    Nature and surrounds were beautiful. There were several hiking paths. We did one walk (Santa Cova) which was pretty cool - the cliff face had religious art, the other side beautiful natural views. The church of Santa Cova at the end was definitely lovely, small and built into the rock face. Very peaceful.

    Then came home (had to stand for the one hour train back) and had takeaway pasta (from the same place yet again). Overall a good enough, if somewhat underwhelming day.
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