We decided to make a pilgrimage to the monastery of Montserrat. It has been on my top of my list when I started researching on our Barcelona itinerary. It is accessible by train, about an hour and a half trip from downtown Barcelona. It is historic and picturesque. It was worth the visit.

Montserrat means serrated mountains and had been a pilgrimage site for hundreds of years. On top the mountain is a thousand year old Benedictine monastery. It is also the location of the oldest music school (that dates back to 14th century) in Europe where you can listen to Gregorian chants by the boys choir.

This was view from the bottom of the mountain after you got out of the train.

 You have 2 options to get up the mountain: hike or ride the funicular. Guess what route we took?

The view from the funicular about halfway through the other end.

A closer view of the serrated mountain rocks from Saint Mary's Square. On the left is the Museum and the right buildings are the newly built addition to the monastery. The mountain rocks looked polished up close but from afar it looks like series of jagged knives.

The Basilica facade show Gothic influences based on the collective statues on top the doorway.

Closer look at the ornate floor at the Basilica.

On the left side before you go inside are candle offerings. I have lit up a couple and said a quick prayer of thanks for the all blessings including the ability to visit Montserrat. I do hope one day to come back with my husband and daughter.

The Basilica was heavily damaged during the Napoleonic wars and was reconstructed by the late 19th century. Looking at the main altar, you could see the Gothic influences by its rounded arches. And in the middle of the main altar is the The Lady of Montserrat (La Moreneta).

I was amazed on the beauty of these Byzantine mosaics.

This was the stairs to the back of the Main Altar where you can get a closer look of La Moreneta.

The Lady of Montserrat (La Moreneta). You are allowed to say a quick prayer while touching the orb that sticks out the protective glass.

Legend says, the shepherd boys saw a bright light coming down and heard music from the mountain. What they found was a cave and inside is a statue of Virgin Mary. According to carbon dating, the statue is about 800 years old. It is made of wood and was originally lighter but got darker through the centuries. Elements such as candle smoke and humidity has contributed to its natural aging.

Another chapel hidden behind the Main Altar. It is a good place to have a quiet reflection. On the top right you could see the back of the La Moreneta. This room has evidence of Eastern influences, like the arches and the design frills.

Food products sold on the gift shop. It was tempting to get them but I think they are so frail that it won't survive the Paris, Toronto flight. 

They called this ROC and it was said to have made according to the original Monks recipe. I tried one of them, the almond flavored one (the white one). They are big. Fist size huge. It is like meringue but have a thick and soft cream inside. I think its good and ate this with coffee. Personally, I also think that they have poured about half gallon sugar on it. Too sweet for my taste.

We only have a finite time in Barcelona. I would love to take the Manresa route but I will put that some other time.

The next day would be a lazy one. It will be our last full day in Spain and have to get all the souvenirs before we head to Paris.

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