Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roland and Caron go to Mass!

Yep, that's right we actually sat through an entire mass having been enticed in under false pretenses. I can just hear Carl and Dad chortling!

We woke up today with one of two plans, if the weather was good we were going to go to Montserrat and if it was anything else then we would go downtown into Barcelona. The weather was perfect so off to Montserrat we went. Arriving at Montserrat, the mountain range is just spectacular and just so different to anything else around here that it is a little hard to believe that it's totally natural.

the range starts at about 150m and the top is at about 700m which is quite a climb so we chickened out and took the furnicular instead of walking. We could also have driven up but we didn't know that at the time. Once we reached the main level we went to the Basilica because, the guide book assured us, we would be able to hear the choir at 13:00 every day. Not really my cup of tea but it was one of the things Caron specifically wanted to do on the trip. Looking at the posters and schedules sure enough, at 13:00 the choir should sing for their supper. Except for today! Today we have mass but we didn't know this so we sat through the entire service, delivered in spanish, of which we didn't understand one iota hoping for the choir to arrive but arrive, it did not. The ushers looked just like boy scouts with napkins rolled up and back to front around their necks, it was all very strange! Although the singing was a disappointment watching people wait in a 1000 person long queue to touch, kiss and take photographs of the black madonna was quite an eyeopener.

The photo isn't that good due to the light and I shouldn't have been taking photo's anyway, not that this stopped anyone else, but the people in the centre are paying their respects to the black madonna.
The basilica itself is amazingly ornate and unlike the cathedrals, quite warm. The workmanship that has gone into this basilica is really something to see and appreciate even if only for the quality of the workmanship.

After emerging from the basilica, we had a bit to eat and walked past a stall selling 'pastis fromage' which we took to be some sort of cheese flan or quiche but it turned out to be quite sweet rather than savoury. We would normally call it cheesecake so we had a large cheesecake for lunch; nice but not what we were expecting! After lunch we took a walk on one of the paths to a lookout and looking back at the monastery as a whole one would see the following.

Caron has developed vertigo during the last couple of years, starting with our barge trip when we went over a viaduct which didn't have any sides and it has got progressively worse since then. I didn't realise how bad it was; no wonder the trip through the mountains a couple of days ago terrified her!

A final photgraph of the two of us in front of the basilica kindly taken by some other tourists and then we were on our way back to camp where we wiled away the afternoon and evening reading, eating and drinking. The filter coffee we bought in pamplona a couple of days ago is definitely not up to scratch so if anyone sees Marcilla coffee on sale; avoid it like the plague!

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