Thursday, September 30, 2010


(9/28/10) Our day trip from Barcelona to the Monastery of Montserrat was awe-inspiring as advertised. Set high up on the cliffs amid spectacular rock formations, we took a Cable Car from the base of the mountain up to the main square of the Monastery. Built around 1025, the monastery is home to a group of Benedictine Monks, and the Montserrat Escolonia choir school, said to be the oldest music school in Europe. We were fortunate that the timing of our arrival allowed us to enjoy the sole 10-minute daily performance of the Choir in the Basilica, which also houses La Moreneta, a famous wooden statue also known as the “Black Virgin” because the wood has darkened over the ages. Though legend has it the statute was carved by St. Luke and brought to Spain by St. Peter, carbon dating indicates its age to actually be about 800 years old. Because of its religious significance, we waited for nearly 90 minutes along with hundreds of pilgrims in a long line to see it and rub the Orb held by the Virgin Mary. Later we took a Funicular to the even higher cliffs above the Monastery and then hiked and climbed up a steep trail to near the very top of the mountain for a fabulous view of the Monastery from above. After returning down to the main square of the Monastery, we hiked along a paved trail lined with gardens and religious statutes for a birdseye view of the front of the Monastery from across another clifftop. Our excursion to see this one-of-a-kind religious site was definitely worthwhile and is highly recommended for anyone with an extra day of sightseeing in Barcelona.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

La Merce Festival 2010, Barcelona

What a wild non-stop 4-day party -- sort of like Pamplona's Running of the Bulls minus the bulls. All over the city, music and art, parades, the famous Human Towers, and nightly dancing in the streets amid Dragons sprying Fireworks on the frenzied crowds.

Click Play > to see: VIDEO of Dancing in the Streets with Fireworks:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

DAY TRIP TO SITGES (outside Barcelona)

(9/11/10) The quaint pretty beach town of Sitges is only 45mins. by commuter train south of Barcelona, and makes a wonderful day’s excursion. It is also a destination in itself for many European jetsetters desirous of a long weekend getaway on the Mediterranean coast. The town has some architecturally appealing buildings and quiet streets lined with spanish style tapa bars and seafood oriented restaurants. There is also a nice Cathedral, and of course a 2mile long boardwalk astride the sea, also lined with dozens of Cafes catering to seafood lovers. In addition to be a great weekend escape for Barcelonians, it would make a nice place to permanently reside if settling in Barcelona, since it is just a short commuter train ride between the town and the City center.

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