Our first stop after Barcelona on our Tour of Spain was the Montserrat Monastery.

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We managed to get away from the rain, but the clouds were still with us. And they gave the Montserrat Mountain particularly attractive mystique.

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By the way, Montserrat in Catalan means a “serrated mountain.” The jagged peak you can see in the top picture makes the name self-evident. “Where Eagles Dare,” a Richard Burton 1968 WW II movie, came to mind as we navigated the many switchbacks up the mysterious mountain.

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You can see above our jalopy for the 2,400 km (1,500-mile) “Tour of Spain.” The best feature of this BMW was that it was diesel. And that we were getting 700-800 km per fill-up. So we only had to do it twice during our entire journey! (and the third time, just to top it up before returning the car to Hertz at Malaga airport).

Spain 2014 map

By the time we came up to the Montserrat Monastery’s parking lot, we thought we were high up in the clouds “where (only) eagles dare.” So I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to find out that the elevation was only about 2,200.

“That’s lower than even the Calvary Hill Arizona which I climb even in the 100+F temperatures,” I told Elizabeth.

Another unwelcome surprise was to see so many tour buses. May is not yet the height of the tourist season in Spain.

“Must be Montserrat’s proximity to Barcelona,” we concluded.

The third disappointment was to learn that, while the location of the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey (above top) was quite spectacular, all buildings are relatively new.  When Napoleon conquered this area in the early 19th century, his armies destroyed completely the old monastery that stood at this place, a lady in the tourist office explained.IMG_3254

“That’s really strange,” I commented to Elizabeth. “What on earth would Napoleon have done that for? This place is of no strategic or military value. I am amazed that he even bothered to bring his troops here. What a waste of time and energy!”

Well, so it goes… Napoleon must have had his reasons. Who knows, maybe he’d heard that the views from up here were great. And they are that, indeed…

Montserrat panorama

We walked around Montserrat about an hour or so, and took these still shots and made a short video inside the Montserrat Basilica.

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Montserrat_Panorama final

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