Just outside the city of Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain stands Montserrat, a twelve hundred foot tall mountain with unique serrated peaks. Our seventh day abroad began with the twisting road up this rocky mountain. The winding path was a little frightening with our big coach bus and such tight turns but the scenic views of the valley below were incredible! Once we made it to the small city above we visited the Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey that holds the black Virgin of Montserrat. Just like the several other cathedrals and churches we have toured, the monastery’s interior was beautifully elaborate with painted ceilings and statues and ornaments made of marble and gold. We even got to approach the black Virgin and touch the large statue which would give you a blessing and good health. Rows and rows of colored candles lined one tunnel in the abbey in which visitors could light a flame and dedicate a prayer. The church bells rang on the hour and the song echoed through the little town. After our tour we had free time to explore the amazing views, shop at the gift shop, grab a croissant at the deli or even ride a funicular (or gondola) down the mountain side.
After our scenic visit to Montserrat we headed back into the city for some free time to explore for the rest of our evening and last day in Spain. The group did some shopping and then made our way to the beach. It was quite a walk to get there but we all agreed it was well worth it! The beach was packed but we weren’t too concerned about laying out towels and sun tanning. We immediately jumped in the water and spent most of the afternoon swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. It was the saltiest body of water we had ever been in but the cool water felt great on such a sunny day. After a few hours we reluctantly dried off and ended our beach adventure. The group took the subway back to the hotel and had dinner finished off with more cake for Katie Stone’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Katie!!!