These pictures are of Montsterrat, a large mountainous area with a cathedral and monestary. It has been considered as a national park since 1987 because there is also a lot of wildlife such as boars and rams. The area is so much prettier when you're actually there. This place is like a sanctuary. People like to come here to relax and get away. There is even a campsite. I think it is about 2 Euros a night.
I went with my friend, Alex. Since he leaves in the village nearby he offered to show me around. We went on a Monday, instead of the weekend to avoid the tourist crowds. And lucky for me, there weren't a lot of people at ALL. Yeah !!! It was peaceful and quiet.
I took the train to Monsterrat, and then I met up with Alex we took another train, (called the Cremallera) up the mountain to the monastery. Pictures #1-3 are of my train ride to Montserrat. Pictures #4-5 are of the Cremallera ride up to the monastery.
Pictures #6-7 are of the monastery. It looks old, but it was destroyed in the 1800s when Neapolean invaded it. I think it was rebuilt in 1844. What's nice about the monastery, is that people are welcome to spend the night there if they want. For 18 euros you can have a room to sleep, as well as eat and pray among the monks. Alex told me that he did this when he wanted to get away and study for his exams.
Pictures#8-14 are of the cathedral. It really is the most beautiful cathedral that I have ever set foot in. I have been to a lot of other churches in Austria and Germany, and though they are beautiful, they are really old, cold and don't feel welcoming. They almost feel like a thing of the past. This cathedral is beautifully decorated like a palace and it feels welcoming. It doesn't even feel like a tourist attraction, which was nice.(When I visited La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi it felt like I was seeing an attraction and not a house of God).
Picture #9 is a picture of "La Moroneta", a symbol of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus for all Catalans. I believe that Mexicans have La Virgen Guadalupe. (But if I am wrong, please correct me. I got to touch her hand through the glass hole for good luck.
She is black, because she was found in the holy cave many many years ago, which is also at Montserrat. We would've been able to visit the holy cave, but we didn't have enough time.
What I was told is that Spain was invaded by the Moors centuries ago. When they came to Montserrat, the statue of the Virgin Mother was hidden in a cave, but was forgotten about. When she was found again, she had turned black from being in a cave for so long. Of course this isn't the real statue, but the replica was good enough for me.
I was also told that the Holy Grail was believed to be kept here. The Nazis stormed through here during WWII and demanded the people in the monastery to bring them the Holy Grail. Anyways, moving along..........................
Picture #13 was a very touching thing for me to see. People pray to La Moreneta to have their wishes come true and give thanks and leave things behind. They are allowed to leave their stuff for a week, and then it is taken away every Thursday.
It is a room full of happiness and sadness. I saw baby clothes with writings, thanking La Moroneta for the new healthy child. Women sometimes leave behind their wedding dresses. Then I saw the sad stuff. Announcements for a missing young man. Someone also left behind a box of cigarretes behind with torn up cigarettes because someone died from smoking. I also saw walkers, probably for older people that passed away. It's a very personal room.
After spending some time in the cathedral, we walked around. We first went to a little chapel on the mountain that has been locked up for many years (Pictures 17-19). Lucky for me, my little lens on my digi cam could fit through the hole. People throw money on the floor to make wishes, so you'll see all the coins if you look hard enough.
After the chapel we went to the cross. Unfortunately, it was way to cloudy to see the beautiful view of the monastery. But it was still beautiful. We were high up on the mountains, and it felt like I was closer to God. The view below was beautiful, even though it was too cloudy. Hell, even my glasses were fogged up a little. #21-23 are of the view down the mountains. It almost makes me wanna grow wings and fly around a little.
Well, that was my day in a nutshell.............................