My friend Hans told me once in an email and then must have felt he hedn’t made his point so he emailed me again, lol.
“You will die a happier man, you are so close! It is incredible'” .
Pretty much had to go after that. My wife encouraged me, people In Barcelona I spoke with encouraged me. So this morning I packed up my gear and caught a train in downtown Barcelona and an hour later was at the foot of the mountain looking up to the monastery. It’s up there but you can barely see it in this photo. It was beautiful.
The next step was to switch to a tram that takes you up a steep track in two stages and
drops you off at the monastery. Officially it is Santa Maria de Montserrat, run by the Benedictines. The mountains are startling and it looks more like Arizona or New Mexico then Spain. The rock formations are spectacular and the views are out of this world.
If you like you can have lunch here and visit the church, the museum and if course the gift shop…….but the star of the show is the mountain….and the view.
I wandered around taking in the view and then had an awful lunch in the cafeteria more reminiscent of a mess hall then a restaurant. I wasn’t here for the food so hurried through the slop and headed to Phase Three, the Funicular train. This little devil holds 48 people and takes you right to the top of the mountain, about 4800 feet.
The views just get better and better.
In this photo one of the funicular cars is headed up and the other is headed down. Once at the top you unload and are able to spend time hiking and exploring the area.
Mostly, though, you are just staring at the incredible views. I don’t know what the monks who live up here do with their time but you can bet your britches that the meditating (when us day tripper tourists have left) is pretty damn peaceful. Nature is a pretty religious experience sometimes.
In any event, I’m glad I listened to everyone and made this trip. If you find yourself in Spain I’d suggest you do it too! Give it about half a day if you are basing out of Barcelona.
The reason I write these posts is to drive home the idea of travel. “My” travel nurses and potential travel nurses regularly ask about international assignments. Travel nursing as we know it is largely an American phenomenon. Getting a high paying job with housing provided and all of the benefits you normally look for is pretty much a
USA based opportunity. What you CAN do however, is take breaks between your 13 week travel nursing jobs. There is the rub. You can take trips like this because you have the flexibility to say how much vacation you get. With paid housing as one of the benefits, many nurses are able to salt away the funds for grand vacations. For more information on travel nursing visit here.