MICHAEL and JEANNIE in BARCELONA
21 August 2005
On our last day in Barcelona, 21 August 2005, we left our room about 9:30 a.m. We had croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice at a cafe near the hotel.
We caught the train to Montserrat, a monastery in the mountains 25 miles north of Barcelona. After about an hour on the train we switched to a rack railway to climb to the 727-meter elevation of the monastery.
From there we rode a funicular to 970 meters (over 3,000 feet). We were chilly at this highest point. The view was stupendous and it was a perfect day for photos. It was a very clear, sunny day with few clouds. We could see the distant Pyrennes mountains that stand at the border of Spain and France.
After we returned to the monastery below, we ate a very good lunch at a hotel restaurant.
We waited in line for nearly an hour to walk past La Moreneta, an interesting life-size statue of a dark-skinned Madonna and Child. The origin of this sculpture is uncertain, though there are varying explanations. It is probably about one thousand years old, but one legend claims St. Luke carved it and St. Peter took it to Barcelona. The religious veneration of such objects is peculiar to us non-Catholics.
After a 3-hour visit to Montserrat, we returned to Barcelona. We stopped for an hour at our hotel to begin packing. About 6 o'clock we went to La Rambla and began looking for supper, wandering the back streets. We enjoyed our last insalata caprese and ate mediocre pastas. We ate ice cream before returning to the hotel to finish packing for our return to the States.
After so many days on vacation, we were eager to go home to our more familiar lives. We were ready for everything to be "American" again.