Friday, August 30, 2013

Sunday, June 23rd part 1 - Montserrat!

Today we were sharing our tour with a mom and her daughter who we met on cruise critic. We used Barcelona Day Tours for their Barcelona and Montserrat full day private tour. The ship docked at 5 am since it was a disembarking port for passengers leaving the ship as their port of call, but our tour wasn’t until 9 am. 

We met our group and left the ship, finding our guide Marta very easily among the incredibly busy and super crowded port! Marta whisked us away and onto a large van, actually more like a small bus and off we went.

Our first stop would be Montserrat. We drove for about an hour. Marta talked the whole time – mostly to my dad who must have asked her a million questions! 

As we got closer to Montserrat the views became just amazing. We started to climb the mountain and the higher we went the more beautiful. It seems that each day we go to somewhere even more breathtaking! 

We traveled up the winding road – up and up and up! There were people hiking it, riding bicycles up, and even some cable cars…we were happy to be on our little bus!

We finally made our way to the monastery at Montesrrat. 

Marta took us all around. She showed us all of the different buildings and told us the historical significance of each.

We stopped in the Basilica and it was just beautiful.

Mass was just starting – we peeked in and it was packed – wall to wall! I managed to snap some pictures above everyone's heads though!

We decided to not stay to listed to the famous Children’s Choir sing, it would have been about a 45 minute wait until they started and we didn’t know how far back we’d be since it was so crowded.

So we decided to split up. Alex was itching to climb. He saw trails and paths and mountains to climb! He and Keith went off to find something with some adventure!

The other family with us and I wanted to take the funicular up higher on the mountain and walk the trails up there.

My parents and Megan – they weren’t sure. They went off with Marta, but whatever they planned, it didn’t work out and they ended up on the funicular with us!

We went up even higher and the view was even better! My new traveling companions and I took a path around the huge rock face and looked out below. When we were actually down there looking up we had commented about how amazing it must be to be up there – and now here we were!

As we were standing there, a couple of guys came by in there rock climbing gear – they were going to scale this big rock!

Ok – there’s adventure. We’re just walking on the path!

This is that big rock from the Monastery level - if you zoom in or look closely you can see people climbing up that rock and about a quarter of the way up the rock there is a small ledge, that's where we were walking!

We think Marta intended us to go further – she mentioned some other big boulder, but we knew if we were going to make the next funicular down we had to turn back.

We met up with my parents, Megan and Marta who were at a picture viewing spot and enjoying their views up there. We went back down and found Keith and Alex who had gone on a hike up to a chapel way up on the mountain side. Marta was pretty surprised that they had made it there and back in the amount of time that they did! She said it was a pretty intense hike! She doesn’t know Alex and Keith!

We had a quick lunch at Montesrrat before leaving and we headed towards Barcelona. So far it’s been a pretty amazing day!

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