On the way to Barcelona, we took a detour to see one of the most unique religious sites..and locations…in the world, 4,000 feet above the valley floor. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is a Benedictine monastery nestled high in the “serrated mountains,” a translation of the word Montserrat. Founded in the 11th century, the monastery was rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries and still functions today as a monastery, with about 70 monks. It is quite a drive up the mountain, circling around the serrated mountains, which have been called God’s fingers, reaching to the sky. There were busloads full of tourists there, and parking was at a premium.
We were lucky enough to be there for the daily free boys’ choir concert. The Montserrat Boys’ Choir, one of the oldest in Europe, is called the Escolania. The concert begins at 1:00 pm, so we went to to the basilica at 12:30 to take a few photos and get a seat. We walked in to find the crowd in the first photo…all that was available at that time was standing room in the very back of the church. We have provided a few photos of the basilica and its facade and courtyard, including a “see-through” sculpture there! At the very end of this post is a short video of the choir singing part of The Lord’s Prayer in Gregorian Chant. Their voices are heavenly, as you can imagine.
Following the photos of the basilica are some of the great serrated mountains and some of the valley and landscape below. We had a 180-degree view from the top, and being a sunny, gorgeous day, it was all magnificent.
~~We want to note that as of a few weeks ago, we are now posting on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/whereintheworldaremikeandjan. You can see current places as well as past photos from years of travel going back almost two decades.~~