Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mario and Jan's 30th Anniversary Trip - Mountains and Bodegas


Having gotten their European legs under them and a good night's sleep, Mario, Jan and I set off bright and early to Montserrat Mountain. The unique rock formations which led to its name have been ascribed to angels with golden saws by Catalan legend, and the entire region is replete with legends and historical allegories. That's easy to understand, given that the history of the monastery is almost as old as Catalonia itself, and the unique link between the two makes a visit so much more interesting than "just visiting an old abbey". 

The Modernista sculptures representing the Mysteries of the Rosary, the legends and stories surrounding both the monastery and famous people who have visited, and the chance to hear (and see) the oldest boys choir in Europe made it an easy choice when deciding where to go. 

The line to visit "La Moreneta" was not too bad, once we got through the first room, and hearing L'Escolania below while you are standing in front of La Moreneta is a moment to treasure. We even had enough time to swing down and get back inside to hear (and sing) the "El Virolai", which is something like a national anthem for the Catalans. 

Afterwards we headed down the mountain into wine country. As it was lunchtime, we headed over to one of my favorite restaurants in the Penedes region, Sumoll. Disregarding the windy conditions, the covered deck was open and proved a veyr comfortable setting for a nice lunch. 

From there we headed up to Rimarts to learn about the Cava tradition. Our guide was Marc, and his explanations made the whole process seem to come alive. A tasting at the end of the tour included several different wines, and then we headed back to Barcelona. Up next is a visit to Sagrada Familia, which for Mario as an architect promises to be fun. 

For more information about private tours in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013.

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