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Feb 18, 2010 - Iberian excursion, day 7pm - Montserrat and into Barcelona

We arrive at Montserrat after a few hours of winding through small French, then Spanish towns.
A train takes us to the top of the mountain.

The striking mountains provided a tempting backdrop for one of Europe's most secluded and impressive monasteries,

Santa Maria de Montserrat.

Down below lies the village, Monistrol de Montserrat.

After a 15 minute train ride, we're nearly there...

Closer to the terminus, the outer buildings of this sprawling complex come into view.

We start exploring...

Dating back to the year 888, the chapels have been rebuilt and expanded (mainly in the 12th-15th centuries) to their present extent, then restored in the early 1900s.

Behind the first wall, we make it to the basilica.

The styles fit nicely together, though they were built over hundreds of years.

Inside, we head up to see what all of the fuss is about...

The black Virgin of Montserrat is the focal point of the basilica.

For being a few thousand feet up in the middle of nowhere, this is a really impressive building!

The obligatory Catholic prayer candles look that much cooler here.

We take a parting look at Montserrat before driving south.

We make it to Barcelona just in time for Thursday afternoon rush hour.
I'm still driving and the pressure is on to not stall, though I do once in the middle of an intersection, but was able to coast through (and maybe another couple of times in less important places).

Jill was so amazed by this...
The whole time we're driving, whenever Ella is awake, she's looking out the windows.

Barcelona's Arc de Triomf.

Jill jumps out and goes to take a picture as I hang out and plan how to get to a gas station, the hotel, then Avis.

After all the errands, we head out for a late-night walking tour.

The Port of Barcelona.

After walking along the harbor, we find the Barcelona Head, a work by Roy Lichtenstein for the summer Olympics of 1992.

After the walking tour, we all head out for tapas and vino - the perfect welcome to Barcelona!

today's original itinerary