7th ICBE Sight-seeing Tour, 10 May 2013
Though deprived of proper sleep, the delegates arrived on time for Montserrat. Many even arrived earlier, defying the stereotyped Filipino time (i.e. coming [very] late). The weather felt to be a downer – gray skies, drizzling rain and cold. Yet, as the bus drove away, such weather seemed unable to catch up, and was left behind in the city. Montserrat was a little over one hour away from Barcelona by bus. Nearing the place, an old familiar feeling of being home surged in when one saw mountains, fields, ravines, spiral roads, yet the sense that it was different was there.
Like in Montjuïc, the delegates could just enjoy the place own their own, i.e. with their families and loved ones, or with the other delegates. There was no planned route. It was a carefree trip. Upon arriving in Montserrat, some went to the restaurant to either get some warm/cold refreshments or to empty their bladders. Some went straight to viewing area where you could stay for hours just looking at the amazing view right before your eyes, absorbing all the beauty and wonders of nature. Others took some rest and munched on the packed lunch BIBAK-Barcelona prepared for everyone – ham/bacon/cheese sandwich, orange, juice and bottled water.
Even though the Montserrat itself, i.e. the serrated mountains were already a breath-taking and spectacular sight, there were other beautiful sights to see and experience. One of these was the Virgin of Montserrat or the La Moreneta (the dark one) at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. To be able to visit, see and pray to her, some delegates had to endure the long queue as probably most of the tourists purposely went there for the Virgin Lady of Montserrat since she is also the patron saint of Catalonia. There were also the Escalonia or Boys Choir Performances, the Museum of Montserrat, the Open Air Museum, the Library, and if you were daring enough to go to the highest point of the mountains, there were the Funicular trains going to the steepest parts. A piece of advice from the experiences of some delegates: If you are there with a group, make sure that you make a good planning – either you visit the La Moreneta or you take the Funicular train. It is hard to do both because you run the risk of missing your bus, unless you plan to see just these two, then no missing bus issues there. That said, though the group spent one whole day in Montserrat, it was not enough to see everything. Nevertheless, not being able to do that gives one a good excuse to go back to Barcelona again, and once more relive that breathtaking panoramic view experience.