Travel Photography Part 1: Barcelona continued...

I found it challenging to lay out our Barcelona stay in one single short-tolerable post, without skimping out on the good stuff.  And let's be honest...without losing any reader interests. In this blog post, I'll continue to walk you through the last two days of our trip in Barcelona, Spain before we move on to Valencia.  If you're just jumping in, be sure to check out this Part I: Barcelona blog post first. 

Day 3: This was our second full day in Barcelona.  Initially when planning our travels, it was really important for us not only to immerse ourselves in the restless rhythm of tourist-saturated areas but to venture beyond the city limits to connect with nature.  We started our day early to catch the train to Montserrat, a stunning multi-peaked rocky range (~4,055 ft in elevation) located 30 miles northwest of Barcelona.  What attracted us to Montserrat wasn't just its location in itself but because of the richness and humbling power of its history.   Montserrat has been of religious significance since pre-Christian times, when the Romans built a temple to honor Venus.  Since the 10th century, it was established as the Benedictine abbey, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat (aka the Black virgin Mary), and is also rumored to be the site of the Holy Grail.  This history and significance of Montserrat now draws in religious pilgrimages from all around the world! 

Once we arrived at Montserrat station, we had to take a short cable car ride up to the monastery.  We knew we wanted to catch the once-a-week performing Escolania Montserrat Boys' Choir, one of the oldest boys choir in Europe (records show the Escolania existed as a religious musical institution since the 14th century).  Before the show, we had an hour to kill and decided to embark on a hike.  Our goal was to reach to the peak of the mountain within the hour, but of course, got distracted by WILD LIFE(!) and just...didn't make it.  We we ran back down the mountain and made it just in time for the choir.  I'll be honest, I was so captivated by the area that I didn't care to take as many photos as I should have. 

The base of the mountain where they load the cable cars

The base of the mountain where they load the cable cars

Loading us up on the cable cars

Loading us up on the cable cars

This is not my photo but I had to show the wide angle view of what it looked like once we arrived to the top. 

This is not my photo but I had to show the wide angle view of what it looked like once we arrived to the top. 

I couldn't figure out who was housed in this building.  Choir boys?  Monks?  Anyone know?

I couldn't figure out who was housed in this building.  Choir boys?  Monks?  Anyone know?

To kill time before the choir boys started to sing, we took a short 45-50 minute hike up the mountain.

To kill time before the choir boys started to sing, we took a short 45-50 minute hike up the mountain.

We didn't make it too far up the mountain because half way in, we spotted these wild mountain goats(?) and it was probably the highlight of my Barcelona trip.  The depth of field from my shot is a bit decieving.  They were MUCH closer than they appear in this shot!

We didn't make it too far up the mountain because half way in, we spotted these wild mountain goats(?) and it was probably the highlight of my Barcelona trip.  The depth of field from my shot is a bit decieving.  They were MUCH closer than they appear in this shot!

We also caught them battling each other.  I'm assuming they were battling to win over the female. 

We also caught them battling each other.  I'm assuming they were battling to win over the female. 

Then I turned around and right behind me I caught this wild animal yawning!  Haha, kidding.  He was such a champ and was so patient during the entire trip while I took all my photos. 

Then I turned around and right behind me I caught this wild animal yawning!  Haha, kidding.  He was such a champ and was so patient during the entire trip while I took all my photos. 

We lost track of time and so we had to run down the mountain FAST while soaking in the view to make it to the choir boys' performance.

We lost track of time and so we had to run down the mountain FAST while soaking in the view to make it to the choir boys' performance.

Again, not my photo but here is the entrance to the Catholic Basilica where the Choir Boys were to perform.

Again, not my photo but here is the entrance to the Catholic Basilica where the Choir Boys were to perform.

Not my photo: This was inside the basilica

Not my photo: This was inside the basilica

Not my photo: I wish I could've recorded the boys singing but I just knew it wouldn't do justice compared to actually being there to hear and feel the music. 

Not my photo: I wish I could've recorded the boys singing but I just knew it wouldn't do justice compared to actually being there to hear and feel the music. 

Day 4: We woke up to downpour but made our way to Sagrada Familia anyway.  The construction of this large Roman Catholic church began in 1882 with the famous Antoni Gaudi as the lead architect (his designs were carried through even after his passing).  The church is still being built and is projected to be completed by 2026!  I had heard of Gaudi's funky architectural Gothic + Art Nouveau style but seeing the designs in person was so much more captivating.  His designs reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book--vibrantly colorful, whimsical, and eerie all at once.  After our tour of the Sagrada Familia, we made our way to Park Guell, which was also designed by Gaudi from 1900 to 1914.  His funky Dr. Seuss style seemed to be emphasized even more here!  Because we were in a downpour, I missed so many great opportunities for photos at Park Guell:(

Can you believe it?  So majestic.  It's completed height is said to be 560ft tall. 

Can you believe it?  So majestic.  It's completed height is said to be 560ft tall. 

Isn't it amazing how you can differenciate the old portions of the church from the new?  And yes, those are fruit sculptures on the top left portion.

Isn't it amazing how you can differenciate the old portions of the church from the new?  And yes, those are fruit sculptures on the top left portion.

I apologize for this cheesy prom-posed photo of us.  We took this photo of together with the idea that our future kids could come one day and take the same photo in front when the project is complete.

I apologize for this cheesy prom-posed photo of us.  We took this photo of together with the idea that our future kids could come one day and take the same photo in front when the project is complete.

I obviously did not take this photo but I just needed to show you guys what the Sagrada Familia looked like in 1905! Sean and I spent the rest of our day eating + drinking with our new friends from the Food Lover's Tour.  We went to bed early to catch our early train ride to Valencia.  Stay tuned for my details on Valencia next week! Thanks for reading! xoxo, Hannah Q.

I obviously did not take this photo but I just needed to show you guys what the Sagrada Familia looked like in 1905!

Sean and I spent the rest of our day eating + drinking with our new friends from the Food Lover's Tour.  We went to bed early to catch our early train ride to Valencia.  Stay tuned for my details on Valencia next week!

Thanks for reading!
xoxo,
Hannah Q.