|Today is a full day in Barcelona and Montserrat. We begin with a trip to La Rambla, the gathering, pedestrian walkway of Barcelona. Last night when we saw it from our coach it was jam-packed with people. La Rambla has everything one could want; shops, hotels, restaurants. Our guide knows we more mature tourists prefer to see everything but in a less crowded time of day. So it is our first stop this morning and we are there shortly after 8 AM. Many places are not yet open but we are there to look not to shop or eat. The sight we do see is the Market. This is where all the chefs come to make their selections for their day. Anything and everything they could want is there. Even saw some pigs, skinned and trimmed and ready for preparing.
Next we drove through some of the city, viewing residences, famous buildings, and beautiful parks on our way to Sagrada Familia. The famous work of Gaudi's a futuristic architect.The few pictures we could get probably explain it better than I. While it is not to be missed, like many works of art, I (Janice) don't get it. (have to ask Jim his opinion). To me it is a hodge podge of all manner of architecture and design, materials and structures. They hope to have it finished in 2026, the hundredth anniversary of Gaudi's death.
Following that we took a trip to Montserrat. Montserrat is a mountain range just outside of Barcelona. Santa Maria Monastery of Montserrat is a Benedictine Monk monastery located high in the mountains. Built around 1025. There is also a Benedictine Monestery of the nuns there. As the story goes some children in 880 AD were in the mountains, saw a bright light and heard angels singing. They told their parents who came and experienced to same thing. They in turn brought a local vicar who experienced the same. As time went on the mountain was further explored and a cave was found and in it was a statue of Mary, What is now called the Black Madonna, due to the pigmentation on the statue. The Grotto to the Black Madonna is there for all to see. About 12 million visitors come every year.
We then returned to our hotel and set out to find dinner. A short distance from our hotel was the old bull fighting arena. As mentioned, Catalonia stopped all bull fighting in 2012 and the arena was developed into a shopping mall. First the building was raised to create underground parking, then a rooftop was added, and the interior was made. We decided to go there to the rooftop where there are several restaurants to chose from and the views of Barcelona are available.