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Day 7 – I Hate Pepecars and Here Come the Monks

On the 7th day of Barcelona, we gave up our keys to the apt. we were renting in the Poble Sec neighborhood (the name “Poble Sec” literally means “Dry Village.”  Why?, you ask.  I don’t know) and made our way to the airport, where we were picking up a car and driving to the Penedes area, the wine/cava (sparkling wine) region that lies about 30-40 min from Barcelona.

We got the the airport at around noon, and were told by the info people that Pepecars, the car company from which we were getting our vehicle, had a shuttle that came every 20 min.  20 min go by and nothing.  Another 20 min.  Nothing yet.  “Something is not right,” I told myself, and called the company.  I was assured that a shuttle had just departed and would be arriving shortly.  15 min later, nothing.  So I decide to call again and complain taht we’ve been waiting for over 40 min.  Instead of apologies, I am informed that they were actually “resting” and no shuttles have departed in the last hour.  Resting?  It wasn’t even siesta time.  GREAT.  In total, we waited for the damn shuttle for 2 hrs, which put us both in a foul mood.  There were hurling of luggage and raising of voices, which we are embarrassed about, but please, don’t tell me I’ve been waiting for 2 hrs because you decided to take a 2 hr break in the middle of the work day!  They explained that they are the McDonald’s of rental cars.  EXCUSE ME?  Did I hear this right?  I speak with authority as a very loyal frequenter of Micky D’s, and I can assure everybody that I have received nothing but efficient and consistent food and stellar service at McDonalds.  Well…except for the time Diesel pissed off the cashier and she refused to serve us.  So how DARE you compare yourself to the shrine of fast food?

But alas, we finally departed en route to Montserrat,

The series of uneven peaks that give Montserrat’s its serrated shape, and thus its name (Montse = mountain, serrat = serrated) have a special spiritual and political significance to the people of Catalunya, so we were excited to visit it.  It also houses the famous Montserrat Monastery, where we spent the night, along with various other senior citizens.

After going up winding roads, we arrived, beaten and tired, cold and hungry.  We took the furnicular up to the top and walked around some, but had to quickly make our way back because the cable car was about to close.

Looking for refuge, I found solace in the warm bed and satellite TV in our room.  Apparently it was Domino Day, and both the German station and Polish station were broadcasting the monumental event.  Amazingly, it was quite interesting, though we did skip most of the 2.5 hr broadcast.

Our hotel stay included dinner and breakfast.  I usually doubt the quality of any meals that are included with your stay, but dinner at the Monastery hotel was surprisingly good, and more importantly, served in a stone dining hall that was built in the 1600s.  We sat next to some monks, which I thought was weird, I guess I always imagine that they lived on bread and water instead of consuming lavish meals like the one they had (with wine and dessert!).  In any case, we then retired to our quarters like old people do, though Diesel took a walk to get some good pics.

The next day, we were told by Gemma, one of Anna’s friends, that villages organize hikes from Barcelona to Montserrat!  Each hike draws about 100 people who leave Barcelona at around 7pm and hike all night for 65 km until they reach Montserrat’s peak the next morning/afternoon. Diesel found the math quite suspicious, since that means that they would be walking fast with no breaks, but I accept this as part of the Spaniard’s tendency to exxagerate.

View from top of Montserrat

Night view of church where the black Madonna is

Church, Monastery, Hotel, etc


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One Response

  1. photos are amazing~

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