Driving to Montserrat, I didn’t think we could beat the drive through the Pyrenees, but we have. Montserrat is the strangest mountain I have ever seen and it would not be out of place on any sci fi movie. When you look at it from a distance there are all different shaped points and craggy edges, but as you drive up the side of the mountain and turn the bends the views stretch for what seems to be an eternity, every bend makes you go WOW as the view and landscape change.
You are able to drive quite far up and we park the car as high as we can, the parking is really reasonable, it is only euro’s 5 for all day and there is no cost into the monuments.
Once you are through the gates, the experience is breathtaking; people have really managed to build the most amazing cathedral and university on the edge of a mountain.
We stop for a drink at the cafe, unfortunately this was obviously built sometime around the 1960’s or 70’s as it is a concrete monstrosity, but the view from the balcony is outstanding, you really do feel that you are sat on top of the world.
We walk to the cathedral and again the intricate stone carvings and statues blow you away, we light a candle and leave a donation, we do consider going to view the Black Madonna, but the queue is far too long, but we do manage to glimpse it when we are stood in the back of the chapel, though trying to photograph it between the visitors is difficult! We also manage to watch another wedding in the chapel.
Whilst we are in the courtyard of the cathedral we see some nuns and I go for a photo with them, at this point one gives me a small religious medallion, she would not accept any donations, this was such a lovely experience.
As we leave, john sees a statue of the founder and really believes it confirms his alien theory, I have to admit it does look a lot like the aliens you see on documentaries!
We use the cable car to go higher into the mountain and once at the top follow the walk round. We go to a point where a hermit had lived hundreds of years ago, this is amazing and I actually manage to walk so far around but then I freeze, the drop to the bottom appears endless and my legs cannot move, OMG I am freaking out, I can’t move, John comes back once he realises I am serious, and I go back to safety (I say safety, it is a little wooden fence!). John continues and goes to the top of the step stone steps. Health and Safety is not what you would expect and there are small fences or nothing at all between you and a very long way down!
Once we have explored everywhere we decide to walk down to the bottom rather than use the cable car, this takes just over an hour and if you get to do it, I highly recommend that you have some water, when we did it, the sun was scorching.
The drive back to the hotel was as amazing as the drive there, even if you do not want to visit the monuments I would recommend just driving there as the drive is breathtaking, also a little bit nerve wracking, but definitely breathtaking