a city to celebrate and explore
Probably the most popular
destination in the Cataluña region
is Barcelona - a city that mixes both modern and historic in a wonderful
way. From the wonders of Antoni Gaudi's creations, including the
Temple de la Sagrada Familia, to the beaches, restaurants, and shops, there
is a neverending fascination in this seaside city. Stroll down the
Las Ramblas boulevard from the Plaza de Cataluña
all the way to the Port of Barcelona, and enjoy the antics of the "human
statues" along the way.
There is an extensive choice
of accommodations in the city to suit all budgets. You can choose
from a hotel or hostel, or be comfortable in
an apartment in the city centre for total convenience and that home-from-home
experience. Rent a holiday apartment and become "Barcelonés!"
Make a plan to visit this
exciting destination, and also plan a sidetrip to visit the wonderful
wineland areas close by. Read
more about Barcelona.
Monastery (Monasterio de Montserrat) near Barcelona by Michael
|Montserrat is a mountain
range in northern Spain, in the heart of Catalonia, near your
hotel in Barcelona. The mountains are extremely beautiful, whimsical
stone shapes at times resembling castles made of wet sand or huge statues
that inspire you both with fascination and horror. A Benedictine monastery
is situated in the mountains, which can be accessed by foot from the valley
of the Llobregat river through a mountain trail. This place has been attracting
pilgrims and tourists since long ago, and in 1892 a rope way was built
from the town Monistrol de Montserrat to the Monastery. It was later replaced
by a cable car, but the old funicular still carries travelers from the
monastery to the top of the Santa Magdalena Mount, from where a trail leads
you to the hermitage of St. Jeroni.
The Monastery of Montserrat
was founded in 1025 by abbot Oliba of Ripoll and Cuxa. The first small
Catholic churches and chapels appeared here even earlier, in the 9th century.
Then the land was conquered by Muslim Saracens as they were called. Abbot
Oliba apparently led the construction of the monastery, he was a famous
architect and had a great influence on the development of Catalan architecture,
introducing elements of the Lombard style.
In particular, under his
leadership the monastery of St. Michelle de Cuxa was expanded and rebuilt.
The Montserrat has seen many renovations, it was once destroyed by the
Napoleon's army and then re-built again. The last renovation dates to early
20th century. Currently the convent accommodates about 100 Benedictine
monks. There is also a hotel for pilgrims.
The monastery houses a statue
of Black Madonna (La Moreneta), the sacred object of pilgrimage. According
to legend, the statue was carved by St. Luke and then moved to Spain by
St. Peter. In 718, the statue was hidden in the mountains of Montserrat
from the infidels, Saracens, and then was lost. In 890 La Moreneta was
miraculously discovered by shepherds in a cave where they saw mysterious
glow and heard angelic singing. At this place a chapel was built and the
cave was named Santa Cova.
The statue, currently housed
in a monastery dates from the 12th century. There are various theories
explaining the strange black color of the Madonna and the child, but none
of them is sufficiently substantiated. It is likely that the statue was
darkened by the soot from so many candles which were lit around it for
days and nights over centuries.
Black Madonna was the pilgrimage
destination for so many historical personalities, including St. Ignatius
Loyola, who hung weapons at her altar and embarked on the path of religious
asceticism. In 1881 the statue was canonized by Pope Leo 13th and declared
as the patron saint of Catalonia. It is believed that the Black Madonna
can help women find the happiness of motherhood, that is why there are
so many women and young couples visiting this monastery.
The gallery of the monastery
contains a small yet rich collection of classical (El Greco, Caravaggio,
Morales) and modern (Degas, Picasso, Dali) paintings.
The extensive library of
the monastery was almost completely destroyed during the Napoleonic wars.
Currently, the library contains over 400 original manuscripts, including
Egyptian papyri, rare medieval manuscripts, as well as the famous collection
of hymns Libre Vermille (Red Book), compiled by monks of the monastery
in the 14th century to be sung by pilgrims during the night vigils.
In the church of Santa Maria
de Montserrat degli Spagnolo two of the Pope Borgia family were buried:
Callistus III (1455-1458) and Alexander The 6th (1492-1503).
Hours: From June 21 to December
20, daily: 7:00 - 20:30. From December 21 to June 20, daily: 7:00 - 19:30.
Admission is free.
BREAKFASTS, GUEST HOUSES AND SMALL HOTELS
PENEDES, (BARCELONA PROVINCE)
this region has earned increasing recognition in recent years for its wines
and cavas. The Alt Penedes has beautiful, peaceful countryside. The unique
topography of the land renders it an incredible place to grow grapes and,
simply, a fine part of the world to visit.
de Can Coral, Country House/B&B, Alt Penedes
house ideal for romantic holidays. The Masia is situated in the wine country
"Alt Penedes" in 30 min distance to the beach and 50 minutes distance to
Barcelona. Guests relax in the spacious drawing-room with open fireplace,
in their rooms with private fireplace or terrace or in the Mediterranean
garden with private swimming pool and views over the vineyards.
Your hosts Rainer and Ariane take care of bookings for excursions to the
nearby wine cellars, bicycle renting, excursions in 4-wheel drives or whatever
activity you choose.
Mestre, Guest House, Alt Penedes, Barcelona Province
as a country house in the 16th century, Cal Mestre is the second oldest
building in the picturesque hamlet of Les Gunyoles, in the province of
Barcelona. Visitors will delight in the spectacular views of
the valley of vineyards from which the Penedès wine is produced,
and the unique, rugged peaks of Montserrat. Here there are so many different
atmospheres for you to enjoy: the peace and quiet of the beautiful Catalan
countryside, culture, the fascinating city of Barcelona with its outstanding
architecture and boulevards, the old Roman city of Tarragona, sports activities,
beaches and all the gastronomic delights of Mediterranean cuisine.
EMPORDA (GIRONA PROVINCE)
Masaller Rural Bed & Breakfast, Cruilles, Baix Emporda
is a 13th-century farmhouse reformed in 2010, located in Cruïlles,
next to La Bisbal d’Empordà, at the foot of the Gavarres Hills (declared
an Area of Natural Interest). The ground floor of Mas Masaller still displays
all of its original layout of stables. The wine barrels are integrated
into the dining-room located in the part renovated in 2010. Outside
the house, in what was formerly the vegetable garden, there is now a garden
of some 500 m², fully enclosed by a stone wall and containing the
house’s well and plant nursery. Mas Masaller has 6 bedrooms (doubles, triples
and quadruples) with a total capacity for 15 guests. In keeping with the
general style of Mas Masaller, the decoration of the bedrooms is sober
and elegant, with a predominance of the old furniture of the house, suitably
restored and updated.
SMALL HOTELS / BED & BREAKFASTS
small town right at the beginning of the Pyrenees mountains, in the Barcelona
Province, and 90 kms from Barcelona. Lovely area for hunting, skiing,
fishing and other sports. Close to France and Andorra.
The hotel is situated in
the beginning of the Pyrenees Mountains about 90 km to Barcelona, the best
place in central Catalonia to fishing, hunting, skiing and other sports.
This hotel is located in Berga, a little city between Barcelona and France.
This property opened in 1984, and was renovated in 2001. Halfway to Andorra
and about 30 minutes of distance by car from one of the best ski stations
of Spain La Molina.