Barceloneta, Barcelona

by arianambrand

We are currently sitting in a small restaurant in the Barceloneta after a very long day. (Amalia is the one in italics.)

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We got up this morning and went to Montserrat, a monastery in the mountains about an hour away from the city by train. Ariana fell asleep. I watched another girl almost fall out of her chair trying to sleep as well, and it was great.

Montserrat is stuck in a crevice at the top of this huge, marshmallow-shaped eroded rock. To get to the top, we took a dangling cable car 1000+ meters up the face of the rock. The views were amazing, especially since the rain clouds were moving in and out, covering and uncovering views of the mountains beyond. When we got to the top, we went for a little walk in the rain, past moss-covered rocks and dripping caves featuring tiled portraits of Mary. We would have walked farther, but it was raining steadily and I was pretty cold. It would be an awesome place in summer.

When we were sufficiently damp and chilled, we walked back towards the monastery. The inside was absolutely beautifully decorated and we had a nice tour around with a group of people who were all 60+ and who may have been on a pilgrimage. Hopefully we didn’t interrupt too much, although we were not the ones giggling loudly despite the “silence” signs everywhere. Anyway, it was beautiful, and my favorite part was the walkway lined with candles in colored glass of red and blue and green, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Back in Barcelona (I slept the whole way back too), we walked into the old city to this 125+-year-old Granja (milk bar) where we were served massive cups of hot chocolate and a plate of churros and gluten-free ladyfingers. The hot chocolate here is nothing like the stuff in the US and I am obsessed; it’s essentially chocolate pudding, in a cup, hot, with a drift of unsweetened whipped cream on top. The chocolate is so thick you can’t drink it, but have to scoop it up with pastries or a spoon, and the whole business is accompanied by a packet of sugar to cut the intense bitterness of the chocolate.

Sufficiently shored up, we headed over to the fancy shops in the middle of town to do some shopping. We had a lovely time trying on mountains of clothes, and I bought a beautiful shirt to replace the one I have completely worn out. Amlia got some fantastic trousers, and now I’m kind of jealous and want to get some myself.

In any case, it was a fun day, and we are hoping for less rain and more sunshine tomorrow…I keep hoping it will get as warm as it was on Monday again so we can go to the beach!

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