Montserrat is a monk monastery and a very famous pilgrimage for many. For Michelle and me, getting to the monastery was a pilgrimage in and of itself! It's not difficult (as is true for all of public transportation in Spain, which proved to be easy and convenient), but a bit of planning is necessary. Mainly it requires locating the right Metro train to the right station to get to the right FSG train, which then, finally, goes to Montserrat. With a little research and some guidance from Rick Steves, we plotted our routes and away we went! The train ride out of Barcelona and into the countryside provided gorgeous vistas, and as we were approaching the mountain, Michelle spotted the monastery built right into the mountain. It's well hidden; I wouldn't have seen it. But as we approached, I was struck by how cleverly it was situated, and how much work it must have taken to build. Once we arrived, we rode a cable car from the base of the mountain up to the monastery. Way cool!!
I was really glad to be with Michelle especially at this particular place, because she knew some history about it, and also provided explanation about some Catholic traditions and customs, as we wandered the grounds. We first went to the large sanctuary and I think we might have spent close to an hour in there, just wandering around. There were TONS of people inside, yet, there remained an air of respect and spirituality. People spoke in hushed voices and certain areas were completely silent. One such area was a separate, small sanctuary, in which there was a gorgeous shroud of Christ.
Another central piece of interest at Montserrat is the Black Madonna. Again, thanks to Michelle, I learned a lot about the history of this sacred statue found thousands of years ago in a cave on Montserrat, and restored, sanctified and enshrined inside the sanctuary ever since.
An adorable kitty greeted us as we exited the funicular, which made my heart smile. I felt it must be Tigger's spirit joining us, as we hiked along the beautiful trails in Montserrat. Ever since the impossibly sad day of Tigger's passing, there were constant signs like this, reminding me that Tigger was with me, and would always be close in my heart. I was grateful to spend moments like these with Tigger in Spain.