Tuesday, January 31, 2012


This weekend I took a trip out of town to visit a beautiful scenic spot known as Montserrat. The location is a small mountain, adorned by tall, gray, rocks. We arrived in the morning, while a set of low clouds were still present, creating a mystical illusion. 

 The river that runs below the mountain seemed peaceful from so far up. As can be seen by reference of the trees and road, Spanish rivers tend to be on a smaller side than those in the states. Still, the snaking body of water was a lovely contrast against the foliage of the countryside.
 Midway up the mountain is a small, touristy town. It was so filled with fog, we could not see up a flight of stairs!

 Inside of the town is a small cathedral. The courtyard was elegant and full of shivering tourists waiting to go into the building.
 This mural was on a wall in the courtyard. It was very eye-catchingly dark compared to the other imagery in this particular place of worship.

 Gothic-style mantles like this were placed in several ante-chambers and chapels to the side of the main room of the cathedral. This is normal in cathedrals, and each mantle is often dedicated to a particular saint or important priest of the past.
 Stained-glass windows are an absolute given in older churches. And are always appreciable to onlookers. They are most appreciated when the sunlight shines through and creates a glorious spectrum of light.
 Above doorways there are often these delicate sculptures of flowers. The masons must have worked so long and hard to make each one identical to the next.
 These gorgeous stone mosaics lined a flight of stairs that lead from the chapels to the back of the cathedral. Every single person depicted in these intricate designs was a woman of biblical importance. Never have I seen so many female depictions in a church without men among them. 

 I must say that I have taken a liking to the art form of mosaics. When I return to the states, I hope to take it up and create some pieces of my own.

 This is a view of the cathedral from the back, in a small chamber above the preacher's podium. They are vast places, cathedrals. The acoustics within them are astounding and resounding. It marvels me when I look at the amazing things that are accomplished when a group of people set out to do something with a common belief. Great things are formed with unity.
 A mosaic of angels was inlaid on the ceiling of the spot where we looked out at the vastness of the cathedral.
 In the alcove where we stood was this statue. This is the symbol of this particular cathedral, and is its most important piece of art. She is La Maroneta. (The Black Virgin). A version of the Virgin Mary with a young Jesus in her lap.

 On the way out of the cathedral, there were rows of candles placed in silent shimmering prayer of visitors who made small donations in exchange for lighting one. This is quite common among cathedrals. Most will have candles and lighters available for the faithful who wish to leave something in the name of the Holy Spirit. In more commercialized cathedrals, I have even seen battery operated lamps that looked like candles being sold for the same purpose. But, just the same, it is an illuminating and lovely effect.
 As I mentioned before, the fog was incredibly thick during the hours of the morning.
 The journey up the mountain was expectedly long, and unexpectedly steep!
 Deep crevices, like wrinkles of a elderly man, brought severity and the feeling of spiritual power to the mountain hike.
 The mountain itself was topped with these odd formations of rock. I imagine that were there a wise man of the mountain, he would be found among these.

 The mystic feeling that fog brings to a natural setting is wondrous. I spent the majority of the hike expecting a small fairy-creature to pop out from behind a rock, or to smell smoke and stumble upon a dragon's cave. A walk through nature does wonders for the imagination, not to mention the body.

 As the day wore on, and we made our way back down the mountain side, the fog lifted and cleared. We were able to see some of the most spectacular sites of my life. I must say that back home our mountains are quite different. Covered from bottom to top with evergreens, they are hardly gray at all. But Montserrat is sprinkled delicately with sprigs of deciduous trees that stand below gorgeous gray stone.
 On our way down, we were astounded to finally be able to see the whole of the mountain town. The bright tiled roofs showed their cheery orange and the sky competed with a warm blue, while the mountain itself burst to life in vibrant shades of green and gray.

 Riding the fenicular down from the halfway point, we had quite a view. The distant hills reminded me of long car rides to my grandfather's house. Simple curvy shapes that pass in the background.

 While we awaited the train to take us back to Barcelona, we spotted signs that lead to a bar. Feeling the chill of winter, we decided to check it out and have something warm to drink.
The staff, family members from a local farm, were friendly and worked quickly to serve the strangers passing through. Having a small establishment next to a train station, for whom the passengers' only destination is a mountain for hiking, seems a good little niche for a family to fill.

The trip was overall a positive one, despite the cold and the fog. We have decided to go back near the end of our trip to try and finish the hike, which could have lasted another three hours one way, were our legs strong enough.

Until next time, dear readers.

1 comment:

  1. Lastima que tuviste un mal día. Te invito a visitar mi blog para que veas realmente que bella es esta montaña. http://muntanyademontserrat.blogspot.com.es