Quite often I get hit with a severe case of wanderlust.
During those times, I've found two remedies that typically cure me fairly quickly:
1) plan a new vacation, preferably in the very near future,
and 2) get cozy by the computer and reminisce over pictures taken during past trips.
Since we already have our next trip planned out to a tee,
I figured that looking back over our honeymoon pictures would do me good.
I've realized that there are a ton of pictures that I never shared on my blog,
so I figured I'll incorporate them into Thursday Travel Tips over the next few weeks.
Today I'd like to tell you about Montserrat, Spain.
I've mentioned in the past, that Spain is one of my favorite places on earth..
but Montserrat is on another level, literally.
Nestled in the mountains,
about 4,000 ft. up,
sits the ancient monastery of Montserrat.
Thousands of people travel here every year to see and touch the medieval statue of La Moreneta,
also known as the Black Virgin.
Some believe that the miraculous statue possesses mystical healing powers,
and many newly married couples flock here for her blessing.
I'm not sure what I believe,
but since we were on our honeymoon,
we figured that passing up the extra blessings was not an option.
The best and most exciting way to get to Montserrat is via the Catalan railway.
Take a train from Placa d'Espanya in Barcelona,
which connects to an aerial cableway that will lift you up to the mountain top.
The whole journey will take a little over an hour each way,
but I doubt you'll get bored on the ride, because you'll probably be too busy gawking at the incredible views.
Once there, take your time and breathe in the fresh air.
Wander through the basilica at your own pace, as admission is free.
To view the Black Virgin, enter the church through a side door to the right,
(you'll probably see a line of people waiting to get in throughout the day).
If you're lucky, you can catch a performance by Escolania,
one of the oldest most renowned boys' choirs in Europe,
who perform daily at 1 p.m. in the basilica.
That's her below, the famous Virgin of Montserrat.
While Mary is behind a protective glass case, the royal orb she cradles in her hand is exposed.
Pilgrims can touch the orb with one hand, and hold their other hand up to show they accept Jesus and receive their blessings.
Other attractions on the mountain include a museum,
and Sant Joan funicular, which continues another 820 feet above the monastery.
From there, a 20-minute walk takes you to the Sant Joan chapel,
as well as to the starting point of numerous hikes.
You can also hike down to the Santa Cova (about a 40-minute journey),
and explore around the sacred cave where La Moreneta was originally located.