an hours train ride out of barcelona is montserrat- a mountain that is beautiful and has really unique rock formations, tucked way up high in the moutain is a monestary and basillica, as well as a holy grotto and lots of hiking trails. we spent a whole day there- hiking (in the mid-day 95+ degree weather) and taking in the sights.
to get up to the fun stuff you have to take a cable car (you could drive, but that's not very exciting). as i walked into the little cable car building all i could think of was the end of charlie and the chocolate factory when they break through the glass ceiling and go up into the sky and that's what it felt like going up all that way.
can you see the monastery now?
it was really beautiful up there.
they were having mass when we arrived so we decided to hike around (for the next 5 hours).
and then we walked some more. the map that they give you when you arrive there sucked (luke makes maps- he knows a crappy map when he sees one, and this one was the worst!). it gave options of trials to take to see the different sights that were all over the moutain. we picked what we wanted to see and set off. set off in the wrong direction, multiple times, thank you crappy map.
the best map was this old wooden map on the side of the trail. we walked most everywhere there are green lines. i am sure i could probably figure out our milage from the km's noted here, but i won't.
this is a hermitage, way up on the side of the mountain. some hermits used to live there- i am really knowledgeable about this stuff, huh?
after a very long and steep detour, we ended up at our trusty wooden map again and set our for santa cova- a cave that has a chapel built around it.
can you spot luke?
santa cova! this was such a happy sight to see, we had been trying to get there for hours.
this is a little cave. a long time ago people found the black virgin- la moreneta (more info here) and so they built a chapel around the cave. it is believed that the knights templar left the virgin in the cave there many many many moons ago. next to the little chapel there is a room that is filled with things like wedding dresses, wax babies, old mens military hats, pictures, canes... that people have left there. they come and pray and when their prayers are answered they come back and leave something. it was a really cool room with, like i mentioned, all sorts of stuff. i wanted to take a picture but it was one of those places that you didn't really feel right snapping away pictures. for some reason i have no problem snapping pictures in chapels though, then tripping over chairs and making a scene. opps.
i really like the hanging jesus.
from the cave we walked up (way way up) to the monestart and basilica. the path from the monastery to santa cova has tons and tons of really amazing sculptures depicting Christ's life. there were too many to post, maybe i will add them to my flickr someday. here are to of my faves:
you know you want an close-up of that resurrected Jesus:
and how cool are these sunbursts? nice picture luke!
we were so tired and stinky when we finished our
death march hike (fit in with the locals, i reckon), but we really wanted to walk around the main basilica. and the "real moreneta" is housed there now as well as tons of other really cool sculptures, stained glass, baby baptismal things made from huge clam shells and edged in gold, you know the typical spainsh church stuffs. the black virgin in the cave is a replica, i guess it's in the basilica so more people can see it.
la moreneta. this is my smile, but not bug cause you are in a very reverent place smile. there is a reason i always smile with my teeth showing, i look like a goober.