Photoblog – Barcelona & Montserrat

Posted on: Jun 02, 2017

My friends like to celebrate their 30th birthdays in style! A few years back we went to Amsterdam for a long weekend to mark our friends 4th decade, this bank holiday, the other half (TOH) and I joined 11 others in Barcelona to help our friend say goodbye to her twenties.

TOH and I had been to Spain’s second capital back in our Uni days (when a trip to Europe was doable on a student’s budget and the pound was a lot stronger…) and we were really looking forward to going back.


Montserrat railway and square

Unfortunately, due to our lack of organisation, the only flights left over the bank holiday weekend meant we didn’t arrive til late on Saturday night. But it did mean we were up bright and early for our trip to Montserrat the next day, which included a steep climb up the mountain on a cog railway and a chance to sample some of the local liquors (one of which our friends accurately described as tasting like ‘melted caramel mixed with Listerine’).


Montserrat traditional costumes

As it was Sunday we were treated to a display of dancing by men and women of all ages in amazing costumes, watched by monks from their monastery balcony. We were under the impression there was a special occasion, but apparently the dances take place every Sunday, even in the summer heat.


Montserrat dancers

We finished our tour at a vineyard, sipping fruity whites and surprisingly drinkable reds, and munching on Manchego cheese (delicious).


Barcelona street and Sagrada Familia

Monday was a beach day – we walked for miles to find a spot with clean water, as the sea near the marina was a dumping ground for the many yachts and sailing boats.

Tuesday was our last full day and we were determined to see Sagrada Familia, as TOH and I had only briefly seen the outside during our last trip. It’s famously been under construction for decades, and since we last came to Barcelona (around 2005) it’s been consecrated and the inside open for visitors.


Gaudi architecture in Barcelona

We were not disappointed – the inside is one of the most stunning interiors I’ve ever seen. As a non-religious person, I appreciate churches and cathedrals on a purely aesthetic level, but I have to admit I was actually moved by the beauty of the building.


Sagrada Familia

The inside is like nothing else you’ll ever see, and the photos don’t do justice to the sense of scale and other-worldliness of the design. Gaudi was inspired by nature, and he designed the numerous pillars to emulate a forest of trees, complete with dappled light shining though the stained-glass windows. It was hard to believe the vivid colours blazing through the interior were created by glass alone.


Sagrada Familia interior

If you’re planning a visit, I recommend the audio tour, as it pointed out so many details I never would have noticed had I just wandered around.

There were a few things we didn’t have time to do, such as visit the Picasso museum and have a proper mooch around the Gothic Quarter, but it just gives us an excuse to visit again!


Read my other photoblogs from Berlin, Sweden and Lille here



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