Montserrat Monastery

Today, it was “hurry up and wait.” We missed the train by 24 seconds. We watched the doors close, and waived goodbye from the top of the steps. So, we waited an hour for the next train. We Joneses just like to keep the thrill of adventure pulsing through our veins by cutting it as close as we can to catching the train/bus/plane/boat/etc. Think of how boring life would be if you were always early and waiting for the train. It is so satisfying when you hustle, panic, run, and hop onto the train with 3 seconds to spare. We all high-five one another with huge smiles on our faces because we made it, and then we stand in the aisle all the way to our next destination because there aren’t any seats left. Life is good. Sometimes.

Lucy is a toddler. As such, she has a tendency to throw the occasional (read: frequent) temper tantrum, which usually includes screaming bloody murder while being sprawled out on the floor. Of course, this often happens when we’re surrounded by people giving us lots of dirty looks for being bad parents. Sometimes strangers will step in and talk to Lucy while she’s throwing her fit, like on our train ride to Montserrat. Lucy is on the floor, sad, and our friendly neighbor was trying to cheer her up. If you know Lucy, you know that when a stranger makes eye contact with her, she freezes, bows her head, and then sends them a frowny face and a mean scowl. Thankfully, it also stops the tantrum as he tries to hide from the giddy glances and smiling faces of random strangers.

I was coerced into taking the cable car ride up to Montserrat. There is a much safer and less death-defying funicular (a train that goes up a very steep mountain), but Chris insisted we take the death trap up to the top. So, against my better judgement, we took the cable car. The view was spectacular, or so I’ve heard.

It’s a good thing these girls are so easily entertained. Here they are collecting rocks and sticks (just in case there aren’t any up at the top of the mountain).

Alright, I admit, the ride to the top wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. Though I still enjoyed standing in the middle, right by the pole, so I could cling to it when the cable car swayed even slightly.

I was nervously standing by, wringing my hands as I watched them throw rocks and reach over the edge of the wall which was right over an incredibly steep cliff.

First priority once we made it to the top: eat lunch. Somehow we were all starving and quickly devoured the sandwiches we brought with us.

After a quick lunch, we headed straight for the monastery’s basilica. We were about 40 minutes early for the boys choir performance, but decided that since we were already here and seats were filling up fast we should sit down while we can. Somehow we kept the girls entertained while waiting in a quiet cathedral. About 10 minutes before the choir sang someone asked if we could make room for an elderly woman who needed a seat. We squished in a bit and made room for her. Chris started chatting with her in the little Spanish he knows and with a little translation help from Chris’ father Ivan, we discovered that she was born in Montserrat 84 years ago. We enjoyed talking (as best we could) with a real Montserrat local!

You can take a funicular up beyond the monastery to the top of the mountain. From down below, it looks like the funicular goes nearly straight up.

We decided to go on a short 20 minute hike from Sant Joan to the hermitage. Of course, we knew that it would take much longer than the stated 20 minutes — we just don’t move that fast, especially on a dirt path with an unlimited number of “ROCKS!” along the way. We tucked the stroller into a nice cozy place and took off on our hike.

Lucy found this (relatively) big rock that she insisted on carrying while she hiked. She dutifully carried this rock halfway up the hike and all the way back down the hike. We passed many fellow hikers who noticed our little girl carrying the giant rock. They smiled and waved at her and would occasionally offer a helping hand (which made her stop in her tracks, bow her head, and grip the rock tightly, lest someone try to steal it from her). Several hours later, we ran into a group of people who saw Lucy and said hi and asked about the rock because they remembered her from the hike. Too cute.

Back from our hike, we took the second funicular down to a view point and the trail to another church hidden in the mountains. It was getting late, so we skipped the hike and just enjoyed our ice cream and the view.

I’m very impressed at the size of bite they can take when it’s not a vegetable in front of them….

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

3 replies
  1. Darwin
    Darwin says:

    Beautiful, beautiful pictures. But, I wonder how you’re going to get all of those rocks back home? I’m sure Lucy won’t want to leave them behind.

  2. Denise Payne
    Denise Payne says:

    Those are some wonderful pictures. I really like the one of Britta and Charlotte in the rock/arch place. It just looks perfect.


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