Montserrat, Spain

I’m going to make a confession: we’re not very good city tourists. While I do get a charge from a day in a creative and energetic metropolitan area, I’m much more comfortable next to the sea, a lake, or the mountains, surrounded by trees or plains or dunes. My husband would agree.

The trouble is other tourists. The lines, the bustle, the rudeness that comes with long days of battling for the best view or for entrance to the world’s great sights. It’s all a lot to endure with two small children to look after, too.

Monastery at Montserrat

We were looking forward to a drive up Montserrat from Barcelona. However, we didn’t expect to be stopped for an hour behind a long line of traffic just a mile or two from the legendary mountain-top monastery.

Driving to Montserrat

(It looks a bit like the mountain is giving us the finger, no?)

Not visiting the abbey wasn’t an option after committing so much time to it. We turned around to take the cogwheel train up instead.

Train to Montserrat

It felt quite crowded for a Wednesday. (It wasn’t until our disappointing dinner that we realized it was Labor Day in Spain.) We used up a good hour waiting in line/eating at the cafeteria when we finally reached the monestary. By the time we finished, the kids were totally spent. My husband took them to a playground while I looked around.

View from Montserrat

Entrance to Montserrat Cathedral

Montserrat Altar

The monastery was founded more than 1,000 years ago and is an important cultural site. And that’s about all I had time for. The kids were such a horrid mess of exhaustion from the previous days (in Barcelona and on the road) that we decided to skip a ride to the summit on the funicular train and head back for a low-key, relaxing evening.

This day trip was sandwiched between our first day in the city as a family and the day I toured Barcelona by myself. Quite frankly, at this point we were convinced our grand road trip to Spain was a complete disaster. There might have been a moment later in the night when I decided to embrace all of the ridiculousness and consider it part of the adventure.

After three days in the Barcelona area, we headed to on to Lyon, France. We were ready for a new variety of ridiculousness.

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