Our third day in Barcelona started out with cloudy skies, but it wasn't raining. Given that the weather was the best we'd seen so far, we decided to head out of town on one of two day trips that our friends had recommended. Earlier in the week at a visit to the tourism information center, the lady told us that one of the trips, Montserrat, had been closed due to snow. So we decided to check and see if would be open on this particular day and it was. Montserrat is a monastery built on the top of a mountain, offering very nice views of the surrounding country side as well as an impressive church.
So we bought tickets for the train out there and the cable car to take us to the mountain, and headed right down to the train station to catch our train. The trip is about an hour and a half or so out of Barcelona, and the cable car was right by the train station when you get there. On our way, we met a newly married couple from the states who sat across from us on the train who were quite nice. They were honeymooning in Spain over Christmas. We chatted with them most of the way there.
The weather didn't hold out for us, unfortunately. When we got off the train, the drizzly rain had already started up, and mist was starting to rise up around the mountain. Oops. Oh well, too late to turn back! So we boarded the cable car and were quickly whisked up to the top of the mountain. By the time we made it to the top, it had started to seriously rain, and the growing mist was making it hard to see anything from the top of the mountain. Doh!
We walked around a bit in the rain, before deciding to stop at the cafeteria there for a quick bite to eat hoping that the rain might stop. That was a bit optimistic, and it didn't work, but it was good to get a bit to eat anyways. So from there we headed over to check out the church itself. While the mist was unfortunate for the views, the positive benefit was the area was extremely peaceful. It made experiencing the church and its surrounding area that much more special. Its kind of hard to describe, but because there weren't that many people around, and the mist reduced the visual distractions, it made the experience more intimate (if that's the right word).
So we wandered around the church and the surrounding area and took in the peace and quiet. Some of the pictures turned out great as well, so I'm pretty excited about sharing those when I finally get around to it.
We headed back to the cable car and took that back to the train station and headed back to Barcelona. We might've not gotten the weather we wanted, but we thought we had a good day regardless!
For dinner, we decided to consult wikitravel again, and ended up at an Indonesian restaurant called Betawi. Our waiter was almost overly helpful in helping us get our meal, but it didn't take long before we were enjoying satay chicken skewers and spicy prawns.
Up next, another day trip to Figueres to see the Dali museum.