MS Prinsendam left the island of Ibiza on April 7 and docked the next morning in Barcelona. I’ve done many blogs on Barcelona, as Ursula and I have been there several times. This time we had a different destination in mind, so with two friends from Canada whom we met on this cruise, we took a train northwest out of the city and headed toward the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range and the small town of Monistrol de Montserrat. Here we disembarked from the train and climbed aboard the Aeri de Montserrat aerial tramway.
Aeri de Monsterrat took us high above the town, up the side of Montserrat, a range of jutting peaks (hence the name: “Serrated Mountain”) with the highest reaching 4,055 feet/1,236 meters above sea level. It is here that we reached our destination for the day — Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey.
This abbey was 1,000 years old . . . way back in 1888! . . . and it is still home to between 70 and 80 monks. The abbey hasn’t been treated nicely over the years, however. Napoleon’s troops sacked and burned the abbey twice back in the early 19th Century.
The Montserrat Basilica is also located here, and within the basilica is the famous Virgin of Montserrat, also known as the ‘Black Virgin’. The Black Virgin is in the lighted alcove above the altar in the photograph below.
As impressive as the basilica’s interior may be, the exterior views are what make this a photographer’s destination: