Friday, September 30, 2011

Of Trains, Churches and Parks - The Lamonte Group's Barcelona Day Trip

A full day's visit with the 6 members of the group began with a pickup at the hotel at 8:45. Being in a hotel on Las Ramblas has many advantages, but one disadvantge is that it makes getting out of the city a bit more complicated, especially at rush hour. Nonetheless we braved the traffic and made our way over to Montserrat. When we arrived at the Cremellera the group members were thrilled to discover that we were taking the traditional train line up the mountain, allowing us all the chance to enjoy the scenery and take (lots of) pictures as we climbed up to 900 meters and the monastery. With the end of summer's unsual heat still a worrying factor, we immediately began our trek down (via the funicular train, another bonus for our train lovers!) to the Sagrada Cova, winding our way along the Path of the Rosary and stopping for explanations and photo ops. I have always loved the way the train operators tell you that it's a twenty minute hike, when the reality is much closer to 45 minutes each way. But we made it and back just in time to sneak into the basilica to catch L'escolania boys choir sing the Virolai, the traditional Catalan hymn to the Blessed Virgen of the Mountain.

After a quick lunch at the Monastery cafeteria, we headed back down the mountain on the train and back to Barcelona for an afternoon of Modernisme. First stop along the way: The Sagrada Familia. The question always arises when visitors come: inside or outside? Today the group was split 50/50 on the answer. We finished up at the temple at 5:30 and made our way to our final destination for the day, Park Guell. Gaudi's urban adventure hardly needs explanation, with its sinuous paths and impressive mosaics.

For more information on planning a private guided visit to Barcelona or Spain, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013.

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