Colorful cities with unique architecture and varied cultural landscape: a short trip to the 3 largest cities in the Netherlands in autumn.More
Arriving at Girona airport, this time we took a rental car to explore the Costa Brava and Catalonia in a flexible way. In a suburb of Barcelona we had accommodation, on the so-called Costa del Maresme. The beach was 50 m away, we walked this then also immediately out of town. First to the beautiful sandy beach Platja de Sant Simó past, large palm trees lined the way. Then we wanted to visit in the city center still Nau Gaudí de Mataró, the first project created by Gaudí. Less spectacular, the hall used by a cooperative for bleaching cotton may be considered the starting point for the creative work of Gaudí.
The next day we drove north to the Montserrat massif. We took the rack railroad from Monistrol de Montserrat up the mountain. In a dreamlike scenery the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat is located in front of high rock formations. Originated from a hermitage of the 11th century, the basilica was built in the 16th century. Many visitors and pilgrims come mainly because of the statue of the black Madonna from the 12th century. She is considered the patron saint of Catalonia and is enthroned above the high altar of the basilica. The name of the statue comes from the fact that the face and hands have turned black over time.
The local museum exhibits a variety of objects, including works by famous masters such as El Greco, Monet, Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Here is also one of the oldest boys' choirs in Europe, first mentioned in 1307, the choir l'Escolanía. But the monastery is more important for the Catalan self-image. Under Franco's dictatorship, Catalan was upheld here, and monks were executed for it.
From the monastery it is still about 300 meters of altitude to the summit of Montserrat at 1236 m, a rack railroad leads there or well-maintained hiking trails. Some abandoned hermitages and caves can be seen at the top. We took one of the hiking routes further down, to the viewpoint on a rock with the Saint Miguel cross. A fabulous panoramic view awaited us.