Day 11 Monday 26th September 2022


Written by Tam

The alarm goes off at 7am and we go to the ground floor where the restaurant is – breakfast was included in our pre-booked rate so we have a full breakfast and toast. In typical hotel toaster style the toaster was weird and only cooked one side of the bread, we didn’t realise one side was done and only saw the raw side so put it in again – unfortunately this resulted in the cooked side to then burn and smoke started pouring out the toaster. Whoops. Still there aren’t any flames so we are relieved. There’s a great choice of food, all the normal cooked stuff, continental stuff, fresh fruits, pastries, yoghurts etc – so really something for everyone.

We catch a tube to the train station then a mainline train to Monserrat. We’d found this when we were looking at things to see and do near Barcelona and it certainly looks amazing. Kev had found out there were various ways to get to it and we decided to go up by cable car and come back by the little train. The views on the journey were stunning as we could see the mountains of Montserrat coming up on the horizon.

We get off the train at the cable car stop and buy a one way ticket. It’s not too scary as we head up and the views just get better and better.

We go into the Santa Maria de Monserrat Abbey which is beautiful and there’s also a candle room where you can light a candle and I guess say a prayer and they also sold candles to the tourists.

Apparently, there is a black Madonna here but this requires a separate ticket and there was a long queue, so we decide to pass on that. We therefore decide to get the funicular up to do a walk to St Josef. This is a lovely walk and not too strenuous with incredible views, the skies are a clear blue and the air smells of mock orange.

[Kev - we found out that there are miles of trails through the mountains connecting up various villages.]

We head back down to the small town and find a café selling various lunch items. We have a ham and cheese roll each and some crisps and lemonade – we don’t want too much as we have a meal booked for tonight. We eat at a table outside the café in the sunshine, enjoying people watching.
There’s another nearby walk to a view point and a large cross that we can see on the map so we take a slow walk to that. It’s a great spot to look back at the monastery and abbey and also down to the valley floor.

[Kev - Monserrat is actually the name of the mountain range. What you see here is the monestary and abbey although why they chose to build it half way up the mountain is anyone's guess. To be nearer to God maybe? It's why I bought a house close to a pub.]

Back into the main part of the town we head to the station where we buy a train ticket and before too long we’re on the small train which winds down the hills to the main station.

Before too long we’re on the main train back to Barcelona – it really has been a magical day – the clear air and wonderful sights of Monserrat were well worth the trip out of the city to see. We’d really recommend it to anyone who loves the beautiful outdoors.
We’re back in the hotel by 3.15pm and get our things to spend some time by the pool. But it’s incredibly windy up there and before too long, a hat, bag and jacket are in the pool. So we give up on that and decide to get ready for the evening before heading back to the bar to enjoy a cocktail.

We get on the metro to Antigua restaurant that we found on The Fork App as giving a 40% discount. It’s a lovely intimate restaurant with a good menu. Kev has a crab and lobster bonbon in a seafood broth, whilst I have tuna with a deconstructed Russian salad with kefir lime, peas and crudites to start. For mains we both go for beef cheeks with creamy potato , sheep cheese and hazlenuts. This was delicious but incredibly rich. We have a lovely bottle of red wine and then finish with a mandarin sorbet with a shot of vodka over it. We really enjoyed the meal and it only cost €110 including tip which included the discount. Unfortunately the ambience was somewhat spoiled by a family dining on the table nearest us where the mother was talking incredibly loudly to her children throughout the meal which definitely spoiled the whole experience for us. [Kev - it's funny how you can leave a restaurant and practically know the whole history of a group of strangers. Actually I'm surprised Tam doesn't like this as she's a nosey bi ...... er ... I mean she takes a healthy interest in other people's problems.] However we enjoyed the food and the service was very good.

[Kev - Not sure what I'm doing here - staring wistfully at my wine is the best I can come up with.]

We have plans to watch the finale of the festival tonight which is a large firework display with music in the centre of the town. As the restaurant is situated in a quiet side street we walk to a busier part of town and hail a cab to take us to Placa d’Espana. The streets are really crowded and obviously this is a very popular event in the calendar – so when we realise we’re not progressing anywhere nearer the venue we ask the taxi to drop us off and walk up the street to the impressive avenue where the pyrotechnic show is due to start. We’re just in time – there are five different sets of music – each accompanied by an amazing fireworks display. The music varies from current rock/pop to classical, opera etc. It really is a stunning venue and the crowd are enjoying the spectacular show. The fountains in the avenue are also lit up to accompany the fireworks and music.

[Kev - I've seen some spectacular firework displays in Walt Disney World, but nothing as long as this. It lasted for nearly 30 minutes.]

[Kev - this shows just a fraction of the people leaving. There must have been tens of thousands watching.]

After the finale we walk to the metro station and get back to the hotel where we enjoy a night cap before bed.