I didn’t sleep much last night. Sofia didn’t either. We had to go up 07am this morning because for the first time in a while we had something planned early. After breakfast we took a taxi to Placa de Catalunya and then found our way to Explore Catalunyas office. At 08:30 am we found ourself in a minibus together with about 9 strangers and a tour guide called David. After about an hour on the road and the major part was on a serpentine road we were finally at our destination, Montserrat. But Montserrat is not only a mountain famous for it’s nice hiking and climbing, it’s also famous for Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey and the Black Madonna.
David showed us around for a while, then he informed the group that the hiking trails was closed because of the high temperatur and the fact that there was a level 3 warning for wildfires issued for the Montserrat area. So no hiking for us. Sofia who is scared of heights was really relieved by that. Instead of hiking we made a short visit to the basilica and saw the black madonna in a distance. You could pay to get close to it and touch it but we didn’t feel like staying in a queue in 40°C+. But looking around inside the church was nice. There was also a museum with some nice art in it’s collections. Picasso, Dali, Monet to mention a few.
Since all hiking trails were closed David asked if we wanted to leave earlier than planned and instead go to a very nice restaurant which all of the group agreed upon. The road to the restaurant was first down from Montserrat, then we had to go into some town somewhere and drive through a very dry landscape. Finally at the site for the restaurant we found the tables under some lush vines. The staff here was really friendly and funny and the food was fantastic. For some reason I got the feeling that the food here represented the catalunyan cuisine more than any restaurant in Barcelona. The name of the restaurant was Vinyanova. And the best part, it wasn’t expensive at all!
After the food we continued towards the winery called Pares Balta where we first had a short introduction to ecological wine making and then a tour in their wine cellar and finally a fantastic wine tasting. We got to taste one Cava, two white wines, one rosé and one red. All nice in it’s own way. Five “small” glasses of wine managed to get both me and Sofia a bit tipsy. But what got to follow us home was a bottle of their own olive oil.
Then after another hot and sticky hour in the bus we finally arrived at Placa de Catalunya again. After thanking the guide David and saying goodbye to the other members of our nice little group we scurried away to find a cab to get back to the hotel. After a refreshing shower we went out for dinner at a place called Muer which serves pizzas for example. Sofia had a goat cheese pizza and mine was called breakfast because it was bacon and eggs on it!