Spain Tour – Day 13 – Barcelona

The final day of our Barcelona trip was planned for Montserrat, which has a monastery there and which is famous for the boy choir performance at 1 pm. Since A wasn’t feeling well, she opted for a break and stayed back in the hotel. So we three of us started on our way after our sumptuous breakfast, only this time we decided to walk towards Plaza Espanya station rather than take a metro to that because that by itself involved too much walking anyways. It’s an hour long journey and we can get the tickets in the station for either the train + cable car or train + funicular (to the view points above the monastery there) and we chose the train + cable car. Or if you want to do a pilgrimage sort of thing or a hiker or trekker you can walk all the way up :).  And since the frequency of the train is almost one in an hour or more, there was pretty big crowd and since the train comes from another place, it is usually crowded in Espanya station. We got into the train and had to stand for the whole one hour, which was not comfortable because there were lot of stops where people usually get in and get down and it was still crowded , and I had my camera luggage with me and we can’t even spend time reading something. Except for B who took his kindle and came reading all the way through and C was browsing in his phone and since I had nothing to keep myself busy was doing what I usually do. People watching. There was this family from Britain with 2 kids, one girl and one boy. The girl was sitting down in the small gap available in the train and doing scrabble or some word game and the boy was playing his video game. Every now and then the girl would ask her parents about the meaning of a word and their parents would try to explain with some example and I would be trying to think of some other example to use. Just to pass my time.

The stations are different for cable car entrance and funicular entrance. We got down in the cable car station which has nothing except for a small place to sit and then the entrance to the cable car  area. We showed the ticket and got into the cable car that was already waiting and it was pretty crowded too. But I wasn’t afraid this time, because it was a slow decent even though it was very steep and the views were very breathtaking.IMG_6156This is the view on the way up almost nearing the monastery. Once we reach the cable car station, we have to climb up to go to the main place. Since it was already beyond 12 already, we decided that we will walk around a bit and get into the Cathedral for the 1 pm boy choir performance. IMG_6178It is full of tourists mostly and everyone tries to come to the 1 pm performance. We weren’t sure about the crowd inside the church so spent walking the perimeter of the place , looking out for places where we can have our breakfast and deciding which view point we want to go. There are two points that you can go from there. One is Santa Cova which is sort of at the middle of the mountain and Sant Joan which is on a slightly higher altitude. Finally we decided on Sant Joan. The boys were planning for a small trekking trip there and I wasn’t sure what to expect. And after all the time when we started on our way to the church, we couldn’t find the correct entrance. So again wasted some time roaming here and there and finally near the Museum (which we skipped) there is a stairs that goes up to the Cathedral. IMG_6198 And it has a big space outside. After that when we entered the Cathedral, we were in for a shock. It was FULL. To the brim. Very small space was left. We had to squeeze in to find a place. IMG_6219 And it was just 12.40 or so. We had to stand for a long time and exactly by 1 pm they started to announce in almost three or four languages (Catalan, Spanish, English and French) about the Monastery and its history and then slowly after some time the boys started pouring in white. IMG_6227 They were very cute, all very young and small. Almost when they were pouring in, kids also were coming to watch and they were made to sit at the front. I was little upset when one high school kid’s phone started ringing. And a few others were arguing inside the church. It was very disconcerting. Already because of the crowd all the shuffling was making enough noise. Thankfully, people had switched off the flash. Otherwise that would have been real bad. The kids who were making noise and sneering were sent away by their seniors. And the boys started talking in Catalan and English. And then whole place became very quiet. And when they started singing, honest to God, I had tears in my eyes. I just couldn’t help it. I don’t know why I felt that intense tug in my heart , but something was very divine in their voice that I just couldn’t help but tear up. I looked around if I am the only one because I was so embarrassed about it. And very discreetly wiped my eyes. It was just very heavenly to listen to those kids. In the mean time when they were singing, the tourists were allowed to go up and see the Virgin of Montserrat above the place where the singing was taking place.IMG_6269There is a side entrance inside the church to go up there. And it was very full. Once the choir was done, we sat there in the pew and waited for everyone to go off because it was already lunch time and we thought that we will stay there and then visit the Virgin above and then go for lunch as none of us were particularly hungry. While waiting there B also said that he teared up. He is used to listening to choirs in his Church (he is the Christian among us) but still he said that it was just too beautiful. Thank God I wasn’t the only one.

After that we started to walk around for some pictures and the church was almost empty. Slowly we made our way to the side entrance, which again had a queue. Going through the path we finally saw the Virgin close up and all the way back down. Once we came back up, we decided to finish our lunch and decide to on the view point. There are lot of self service areas there with loads of veg options. We went to one and chose our options and had a relaxed lunch. Since we had a time limit of 6.40 pm when the last train would leave the station below, we had to finish off our tour before then. So after lunch we went ahead to the Sant Joan Funicular. Thankfully I hadn’t had a very heavy lunch, just a relaxed one. This was again a very steep climb and there is only one path which is shared between the up coming and down going funicular with a small gap inbetween them to allow the others. It was actually scary, because they have to start at the exact time to avoid clashes. IMG_6361 Once we were there, we started to the Sant Joan view point. It was no short of trekking except in lot of places, it was quite flat. It was fun to climb but since it was an open space without much to actually protect from falling and my fear of heights , I had to stick to the right end side of the road. There weren’t many people there, because there are too many paths to go and you have many view points there. While on our way to Sant Joan we saw one old man walk past us very briskly. I felt a little bad, because I was literally panting every few minutes. And this reminded me of the Goa and Wayanad trips because I have to get back from this place unscathed. That was the only thought in my mind. I just can’t fall, not now. Not when I had just a couple of days to spare to get back and I don’t want to spend my time in the beach , nursing my broken feet or any other parts. And once that kind of thought creeps in , fear increases. So there I was very skeptical of going ahead, but went ahead till the view point.IMG_6319 And when I saw the old man who went ahead us, go up from that point and look ahead and then go back down I decided I will stop and not go further. It was hardly 20-30 min walk. But the guys wanted to go ahead, so I gave my camera to them and asked them to take some photos for me and sat there. They were gone for quite some time and I also saw the British family from the train going ahead. And slowly I started to panic. Because from that view point, getting down was too steep. I knew that climbing up but I thought it would be OK, but when I started to panic I wasn’t sure anymore. I tried to calm down and then after some contemplating thought of getting down to the next level where the boys can look, because they had asked me to stay put at that particular place and I didn’t want them to be worried if I am not there. It took me almost 10 mins to climb down slowly which otherwise would take only a minute or two to come down. I just didn’t want to fall down that slope with my bag and all. I was so glad once I came to flat ground and even thought it was slightly hotter and no shade I sat on a rock and was waiting for them,

As predicted, they came and when they saw I wasn’t there, they were checking everywhere except directly below. And I had to call them up and once they saw me, they were asking me why I went down and that there was another way to go down from there. So I told them to go ahead and I will meet them near the funicular because I didn’t want to go back up. And I started to walk leaving them to come through the other route. After a few minutes, I heard their voices behind. It seems that the other path is only rocks and it just leads to the same road that I was going by, so they just came back. It was already 4.30 pm and we had to be at the funicular for the 4.45 pm descend , I think. We walked down the road and went just in time with a few minutes to spare. They were telling me about how the road above that was so narrow that they had to crawl on fours in some places and they also saw a rock climbing couple. They also got me a picture of people going to the edge, which they did do because of less timeIMG_6341 Thank God I listened to my instincts. I would have seriously hurt myself if I had tried. Once we came back to the funicular station, we went for some souvenir purchase and then we went straight down to the cable car station to start our way down. We missed the train by a couple of minutes and we had to wait for another 30-40 mins for the next one. We had no option other than to wait in the station in the Sun. B and C went to get a cup of coffee and I was really exhausted but very glad that I did that 🙂 And thankfully during the train trip back we got a place to sit because it wasn’t that crowded.

From Espanya we again walked back to the hotel. After coming back checked with A and found that she had her lunch by room service and went out for some coffee. We decided to spend the last dinner in Barcelona in La Rambla. So after resting for a while, by around 8.30 pm or so we started for the metro to go to La Rambla. That place is so quiet and nice at nights when there is no rush. I liked it 🙂 After so much contemplating we decided on a place there, but the food wasn’t that good and it was costly to take the place on the road side. But since we already started we just went ahead and talked about everything and nothing and enjoyed till almost 11 pm there. The next day we were supposed to check out and start on our way to Costa Brava. Once I hit the bed, I dozed off all exhausted.

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