Barcelona and Montserrat in the Rain
Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
15Trip End Nov 24, 2013
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On the way to our next stop we went down the Rambla de Catalunya where all the rich people lived when Barcelona tore down the city walls and expanded north
Our next stop was Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church). The church was begun in 1883 and Gaudi worked on it unpaid until his death from an automobile accident in 1926. It is not yet completed, but with modern technology the earliest estimate for completion is 13 years up to 30 years. Our bus dropped us off a couple of blocks away. We walked to the Nativity Facade which was done by Gaudi. It contained the life of Christ from the Nativity through his ministry and Last Supper. Then we walked to the Passion Facade which was done by another artist. The change is obvious but it was still beautiful but was done in a more modern style. Then we went to the Glory Facade where the main entrance will be. There the only things that looks done are the bronze doors. There are supposed to be 18 towers when it is completed including 12 towers for the Apostles, 4 four the four evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus. I can't even begin to put into words the grandeur of this church. It is just jam packed with carvings and symbolism while reflecting a modernist style. We didn't get to see the inside as it would take too much time to wait in line to get in. It started raining harder so we ducked into a souvenir shop that had good restrooms and shopped for a bit. We walked back to the bus and continued our tour up Montjuic (mohn-jew-EEK) which means "Mount of the Jews." Originally there was a fortress on this hill
The rest of us stayed on the bus for the hour ride, more like 1 1/2 hours, to Montserrat. The drive up to Montserrat (serrated mountain) was steep and winding through trees and today clouds. If it had been a better day the views would have been breathtaking. When we reached the top it was still raining but much colder and windier. Elizabeth took us out to a viewpoint a short walk from the bus where we could see the valley below and the Benedictine Monastery above us. We walked across a bridge that connected the parking lot to rest of the monastery. We walked past the cafeteria and gift shops going up, then we turned a corner and went into the monastery proper still going up hill. The monastery is nestled amid the jagged peaks of the mountain seeming to just cling to the side
We headed for the cafeteria for lunch. Derek and I got a Catalan sausage with pasta
Derek stayed in the room to rest as he wasn't feeling well. Larry and I went with a group of six others to buy tickets for a Spanish Guitar concert in the evening. Kerry and Bernie from Australia had seen the sign about it the day before and so had we. We started walking and they turned at the first cross street. We didn't find it. We told them we had turned on a different street so we took a cross street and couldn't find it on that street. We both remembered the enclosed square so we went there and Bernie asked someone and they sent us back to the street Larry and I remembered. When we got there we asked again and they sent us to the Church we had seen. This time we went farther and found the sign and two men who were giving out brochures about the concert. They told us how to get to the church to buy tickets and when we got there it was a church we had passed by on our searches, but had not see the front. So Kerry negotiated a lower rate for our nine tickets and we got them for E16 instead of 18 and the price at the door would have been 21. Larry and I went back to the hotel. Derek was in bed. We tried to skype with Erin from the room but it kept dropping so we went down to the lobby where it worked just fine. She is leaving for Las Vegas, Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Monument this weekend, so we wanted to be sure and touch base with her. We went back to the room where I worked on the blogs and downloaded pictures
We found the church again without trouble and went into the chapel about 9:00. We sat with Rosario and Virginia. It was a very intimate venue. Xavier Coll has played all over the world including Cairo and at the UN in New York. He came out with a small instrument in his hands and introduced everything in Spanish and English. The small guitar he carried out is called a Vihuela and is an early precursor to the guitar. When he started to play we were transfixed. He had such a gentle touch and played music written during the time period when the Vihuela was used. It was more folk music. Next he played on the Guitarra Barroca or Baroque Guitar and played music that was the beginning of flamenco. Next, he played on the Guitarra Romantica music that brought tears to my eyes. The last guitar was the Modern Guitar and he played a selection that showed many different techniques of using all parts of the guitar, picking strings with both hands and using the box of the guitar in such a way that you thought there was a snare drum playing along. He got a standing ovation. He did two encores. He sang and played Granada. He sang in a most beautiful tenor, again tears. We got back to the hotel about 11:00 and we were glad for a 7:30 wake up call tomorrow.