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Flashback Friday: Monserrat Abbey

The mountain Montserrat is a mountain in Catalonia, Spain about 50 km northwest of Barcelona. Montserrat meaning "sawed mountain", attracts many visitors including Catholic pilgrims, walkers and rock-climbers. It is home to the famous Monserrat Abbey and Monastery. Visitors can choose to travel from Barcelona by train (FGC line R5), drive, or take one of the many day excursions available. Visitors can choose a cable car from Aeri de Monstserrat station or a cogwheel train from Monistrol de Monserrat station to reach the top. There is a parking lot at the top for drivers who would rather forgo the train/cable car. The day tour I was on took the cogwheel train up but boarded a bus in the parking lot for our return.

Once at the top, visitors will be immediately struck by the "giants" guarding the town and monastery. Hikers and nature lovers will be eager to explore well-developed and signposted mid-level trails through the Nature Park, several of which wind around abandoned hermitages. All the trails will treat hikers to stunning views of Catalonia. Don't forget to take appropriate footwear.

Trails lead right from this area or visitors can take a funicular station up to the trails over the town (Sant Joan line) or down the mountain to the Black Madonna cave and a small chapel (Santa Cove line).

The unique topography of Montserrat Mountain has been religiously significant from the Roman times when a temple was built here to worship Venus. The first Christians were cave-dwelling hermit monks who later created the first monastery.