Montserrat is famed as a place of calm spirituality, but our tour on Monday started as anything but.  There were two main reasons.  First, Barcelona has about 100,000 extra visitors this week for the global mobile phone convention.  Second, the metro is on strike.  Not completely, just minimal service.

So, we started an hour early for a trip that should have taken half that time.  And we didn’t make it.  But they waited for us.  So, we did the tour, but only after much running and cursing.

The weather was iffy when we arrived.


But it’s an inspiring site.



Montserrat is a Catalan term meaning “serrated mountain.”  There are little chapels tucked away among the serrations.



The main site is like a village, with abbey, hotels, museums, and stores.



The most important is the abbey, of course.




This is the famous black madonna.



Here’s a transcendent view,


except for the exit sign.  Maybe it’s appropriate in a perverse way.

Does this statue of St. George look familiar?  It’s by the same Catalan sculptor who did the passion facade at Sagrada Familia.


The blocky heads are not to my taste, but I’m no art expert.

To get around on these rugged mountains there are funiculars.  This is the one Mary and I took up to the top.  It’s not far from vertical.



Here’s the machinery on which you bet your life.



I took tons of pics, but this video is better.


Once at the top, there are paths all over the mountain.  We followed one toward a distant chapel.



There are lots of shallow caves,



and beautiful details.


We continued up the mountain until we finally reached the ancient chapel.


Sadly, this little chapel is closed.


But for me, this locked and abandoned chapel still has its dignity and spirituality.

And having mentioned locked and abandoned, I’m sorry to say that I’ve finally exhausted the media space allotted to my free blog from  I hope to post several more times before closing out this trip and the blog, so I’m working on a solution.   In the meantime, I think I can squeeze another post or two into the remaining sliver of space.

The real problem will be our trip to Tarragona on Saturday.  I’m sure to take lots of pics of that ancient Roman city.  It was the provincial capital when Barcelona was a backwater.