Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Saturday marked my first official compañero-del-piso (roommate) road trip. We loaded up David's car around 10am, stopped on the way for Ana Lucia--a good friend of Diana's, and were off to visit Montserrat.

The famous mountain, for which the Caribbean island is named, is located about 45 minutes north of Barcelona. Driving on the road towards the mountain, and the mountain itself, remind me very much of the foothills of inland Santa Barbara county in California (complete with a bunch of wineries too). Montserrat, which means "jagged mountain" in Catalan, is strikingly rugged looking from a distance and gets even prettier as you get closer.

Parking was challenging since it was a holiday weekend but David's off-road skills were well polished. We walked around the grounds of the old abbey including into the church for about an hour or so. The architecture and views are quite a sight.

As a HUGE fan of Monty Python's The Holy Grail, I was excited to visit one of the sites believed by some to be the location of the holy grail itself:

We then went and ate lunch at the restaurant where we enjoyed what ended up being a really good paella and bottle of wine for a great price. To work off the lunch largess, we decided to go for a hike up the mountain to a look-out point. About 30 minutes later, we stopped for some photos at a spot where, in the center of the photo below (in the opening between the two mountains), you can see Barcelona.

As we were leaving I must have felt a little tired because, to me at that point, the symbol of Montserrat on the sign below looks suspiciously like when someone gives you the middle finger. Of course, maybe it's just meant for Americans as the monks' way of saying goodbye? :-)

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