The Montserrat Monastery has been around several hundred years ever since in the 800's a young boy saw a light and heard music whilst mountain climbing. I'd give you more background data than that, but Wikipedia doesn't have much and, when it comes to religious stuff, I'm not your guy. Suffice to say that some monks built a church and sanctuary on the side of a mountain near it's top, and it's been there a while.
While in St. Sadurnia yesterday, we heard that one of the two ways to get up to the monastery was closed and it was busy. Not knowing what we were up against, this wasn't useful info. What was useful was that every guidebook we had read said don't miss the 1:00 PM performance of the Boys Choir.
With trains running to the place running but once an hour, we hopped on the 10:30 train from Place D'Espanya (a more confusing station doesn't exist) for the ~1 hr journey to the base of the mountain., figuring a 11:35 arrival would give us lots of time to make the concert.
|The monastery's just below the peak on the right|
|The monastery from the train station|
|See that yellow speck?|
The "only" other way up (see below) is via a rack railway -- which was shut down yesterday and today, though neither the website nor the ticket booths for the trains in Barcelona said that was the case. Excellent that the FGC rail guys (operators of the train and rack railway) keep you informed like that.
Once aboard the cable car, the ride up was quick.
|A church down the valley|
|Bye bye, next train crowd. You, too, have a 90 min wait.|
|Not even half way|
|Passing the other car|
Realizing this, we sauntered our way around -- among a hoard of ~600 school kids with matching t-shirts who were screaming and yelling and running around. Excellent.
How did ~600 school kids get here? Well, apparently, you can drive up on a bus, which no guidebook ever mentioned.
|A very tall tree|
|The Basillica's courtyard|
|Apostles overlooking the courtyard|
|Kids carefully cropped out|
|The Basillica behind the facade|
|Octopus and swordfish and dolphins and...|
|The passing zone|
|Looking back at the monastery, the little monsters in blue still there|
|Men singing at one shrine|
|The path goes ever onwards|
|Three cross shrines|
|Two cross shrines|
|Who wouldn't want to go up there?|
|Or up here?|
|Or up there?|
|Or along here?|
|One of the paths lead to that cross|
|People on the lower paths|
|The cave where the light hit that the boy saw in the 800's has a chapel|
|There are cats everywhere|
|That's 45 min of people visible|
|The car departs|
|This dude found me interesting|
- The cable car
- The rack railway
- The Sagales local transit bus from Monestral (why does no one mention this? It connects directly with the FGC trains and doesn't cost much -- certainly not the €10 that the rack railway or the cable car does).
- A bus on a guided tour