Since we saw almost everything by then, we decided that going out of town would be a good idea. We wanted to see the landscape outside Barcelona. According to our guide books, we had a few choices for a day trip. Montserrat was the closest one and it looked the most spectacular on pictures. The train ride to a regular train station closest to the monastery took about an hour. From there, we could go take the cable car (hanging high above the villages and rocky landscape, going straight to the monastery) or the so called ‘rack rail’ (zigzaging through the rocky landscape and along the rock formation).
We chose to go with the rack rail. It was spectacular.
Once we arrived on the square outside the monastery, we explored a bit and I made two sketches in pencil. I was not used to drawing landscape (I’m still not). I had never drawn huge rock formation before. They proved to be really tough to draw. It might have helped if I didn’t focus too much on the rocks (the form, shading, etc). The amount of shades and shadows sort of got me confused in the end.
After these two sketches, we took the ‘furnicular’ (a cable car a la San Francisco, which rides at about 45 degree angle – or may even be steeper) to go to this point called Sant Joan. This point is located at an even higher altitude than the monastery. It was an amazing trip and it got even better, because from this point one can go to an even higher one by foot. Visitors can go explore the area, go back down to the monastery (by foot), follow several foot paths to go to other viewing places. Some paths looked quiet tricky to follow if one do not have any hiking gear with them. We weren’t about to take that risk (we aren’t really that adventurous). So we took the simplest and shortest one. This led to a house which was abandoned. We took a peek inside and were quite disgusted by what we saw. It was a complete mess. So messy that I suddenly got creeps and started thinking that any moment I would see a hand or leg peeking out of the mount of trash. I clearly watch too much Crime Scene Investigation.
After that we went back to the furnicular station and went back down to the monastery to explore the place a bit more. We needed to get something to eat too.
The monastery has actually everything: a hotel, a bakery/pattiserrie, a souvenir store, a cafe and a restaurant. In the restaurant, I got myself a drink called Aroma de Montserrrat. It was just to satisfy my curiousity. The drink turned out to be super sweet and smelled like rubber (very high alcohol content). I couldn’t make myself to drink it, but I did feel a lot warmer, which was a good thing!. The temperature in Montserrat was colder than we expected (a lot lower than in BCN), and I didn’t bring my jacket. Still, it was one spectacular trip! Glad that we did it.