19.07.2010 87 °F
Sadly, we leave tomorrow to head back to reality, so this may be our last interesting post. We could never have imagined such a wonderful, relaxing, exciting honeymoon, full of learning, decompressing, and enjoying. We truly feel so lucky to have been on this journey, and especially to have done it together. And thank you for reading along with us! The comments have been really special and we’re so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it. Now, to fill you in on the last two days…
Yesterday (Sunday), we had planned a journey to Montserrat, which is just outside of Barcelona. Montserrat was founded as a monastery in the 11th century, which was destroyed in large part during the French War (~1808) but was restored beginning in 1844. Montserrat is located on a huge mountain with absolutely incredible views of Catalunya, and it came highly recommended to us, so we knew we had to go. Honestly, I woke up on Sunday thinking that I’d rather just stay in bed, but I am SOO glad we ended up making the journey. After Kev worked out (and I actually did stay in bed), we jumped on the Barcelona Metro to Placa de Espanya, where we caught a 90-minute train to Montserrat. Once we arrived in Montserrat, we had to take an “aeri” (a cable car) to get to the monastery, on top of the mountain. Here are a few views of the aeri itself, and what we saw from the aeri. We also have a fantastic video of our journey, but I still can’t figure out how to post videos
The aeri took us to the base of Montserrat, where we were surprised to find that it was more like a village than just a one-building monastery. Right away, we were amazed by the gorgeous views from the top! We had a quick lunch – salad and cherries for me and chicken and pasta for Kev. Then, we headed out to explore the area and see the views! Here is the monastery itself. Today, the monastery is home to 80 monks, who follow the Rule of St. Benedict and devote their lives to prayer instead of work. The monks must meet as a group to pray 5 times per day, plus spend considerable time in private prayer, reading the Bible, and other spiritual works. Wow!
We took a very steep funicular up to the real peak of the mountain, which was 1,000 meters above the monastery. From there, we did a 20 minute hike to the Chapel of St. Joan. We THINK it may have been originally built in 16 AD, but we couldn’t read the sign because it was faded. It was definitely restored in the 1500s.
We hiked back to the funicular stop, and then took a 50-minute route back down to the monastery. On the way down, we passed St. Miguel’s Chapel (seen here), as well as a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. It made me think of Pops, my great-grandfather, so I included it here!
These hikes were absolutely gorgeous. We loved the scenery, the peace and quiet of raw nature, and the chance to spend (more!) time together. We didn’t really know what we would be doing (hence wearing a skirt for the hikes), but were pleasantly surprised. We would absolutely recommend this to anyone who travels to Spain!
Once we left Montserrat, we did the reverse journey (aeri, train, Metro), and were tired when we got back. We relaxed a little bit and then walked around the streets of Barcelona looking for a place to eat. We ended up at this amazing buffet place with a salad bar and a hot line. Not the most authentic place ever, but definitely a Spanish flavor and exactly what we were craving. We ended up coming back and heading to bed (after blogging, of course!)
Today, we had resolved to use the last day of our honeymoon in the absolute laziest way possible, and we succeeded! We slept 11 hours (I’m not even joking! In a very strange way, walking around all day in such extreme heat, experiencing new cultures, and having new adventures is really tiring and we were worn out!), drank some coffee and read a little, then worked out. We went to the grocery store to grab some to-go lunch, and came back and ate it in bed while watching “The Proposal” (Kev wanted to watch some war-ish, manly movie, but I told him that wasn’t very honeymoon-ish!) and relaxed some more. We really spent most of the day lounging around in our hotel (which is pictured here). Tonight, we walked around La Rambla a little more, looking at some of the street performers that are ALL over the place (a few samples here), and the random pet stores in the middle of the street (Kev wanted to buy a turtle!) We ended up going back to the place we went the first night for dinner. Kev had cheese pizza (again), I had asparagus/ mushroom/ parmesan salad (again), and we shared chicken skewers (again). It was great! We are sad to be returning to the States tomorrow, but are looking forward to catching up with each of you a bit more, packing up, and starting our new lives in Chicago! The only downside of our awesome mileage tickets is that we have to conquer 5 flight legs over 48 hours in order to get back to Miami! We’ll keep you posted!