After a good night’s sleep we all were looking forward to our full day tour to Montserrat and a Cava winery. Sister M organized a private tour for us from Barcelona Day Tours.
First order of business was figuring out the coffee machine in the apartment (a de longhi) so we would be sufficiently caffeinated to get ready and find breakfast
We walked to a coffee shop that was on the opposite corner where I had a toasted ham and cheese sandwich (called a bikini)…
and a cafe Americano for 2 1/2 euros.
We were all ready and dressed when the driver, Peter, arrived to pick us up shortly before the 9 am start time. We took off on the one hour drive to Montserrat in a comfortable van that could hold seven passengers plus driver.
Montserrat is a mountain about 30 miles outside Barcelona. Other than the gorgeous views the main purpose of visiting is an abbey and monastery named Santa Maria de Montserrat.
The scenery once we got out of the city was beautiful and it kept getting better and better.
When we got to the monastery, Peter dropped us and parked and then joined us for the walk up.
He explained what we were seeing, the sightseeing options, where we could buy food/drink and made sure we knew where an when to meet him for the rest of the tour (1:30 pm at the same spot).
There was a lot to see here which I didn’t realize before. There’s the basilica, museum, caves, the national park, and furnicular.
We headed to the basilica to tour it before it closed for the 11 am service.
The outside of the basilica was a bit plain and seemed small.
It was deceptive as the inside was large and beautiful.
Even the light fixtures were incredible!
Not only was the main sanctuary impressive but there were a number of side chapels with incredible art and sights.
We left before the service started and took pictures outside the sanctuary. This archway is all that’s left of the original church according to our guide.
It dates from the 10th or 11 century and the detail still showing is amazing.
This family’s tomb was beautiful.
Most interesting was this tomb for Joan of Arc. I’m not clear on whether she’s actually buried there or if it is a memorial.
We got outside the building just as the bells rang calling people to the 11 am service.
Before heading to the furnicular, I joined my brother at a side area where he had lit a candle for our mother.
Furnicular – National Park
My sisters opted out of taking the funicular in favor of touring the museum so it was brother and me that headed over to the station. Round trip tickets were 12.50 euros and we waited until the next car came down about 5 minutes.
After a five minute ride we were at the top and debarked.
We walked around and enjoyed the scenic sights.
There is good signage for those that want to walk down. With our limited time, we didn’t even consider it.
We didn’t make the first one that came while we were in line so waited 12 minutes until the next.
We went to the church for the black Madonna but the line was extremely long and making slow process before it was going to close. That 12 minute funicular delay proved very impactful.
So we left the line after 20 minutes and headed to the buffet offered. Other lunch options included a cafeteria and a cafe.
The buffet lunch price was 15.90 euros which included beer, wine, etc. plus a wonderful salad bar,
hot foods (fish, chicken, sausages, pasta, etc.) and desserts.
The seating area was comfortable.
The views from our window side table were incredible.
The food was pretty tasty too!
By the time we were done it was only five minutes left before Peter returned. The girls were there and Peter was happily surprised to see us so promptly.
We headed off for the next part of our day at a cava winery which is a story for another day.
If you missed the other parts of the recap the links are below.