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.
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:(