• Tag Archives Plaza de Espana
  • Montserrat

    Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain range not far from Barcelona. It’s known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat. Montserrat in Catalan means serrated mountain, and the mountains appear to have sharp edges. The Monastery of Montserrat which houses the virgin that gives its name to the monastery is also on the mountain.

    To get there I took the Metro to the Espana (also the stop for the circular Plaza de Espana and Montjuic castle) on the L3, then got lost long enough to miss my train…what I needed to do was go up into the Plaza and follow the signs to L1 Metro line (and the green/white swirly icon below)…when I finally did that there were signs for the R5 train which goes directly to Montserrat. Tickets can be bought at a ticket machine there…you have to decide whether you want to take a funicular train up to the monastery or a cable car. The cable car is quicker so I chose that option.

    After I exited the train, I took the cable car up to the monastery (and it’s straight up the sharp face of the mountain, a five minute ride), then another funicular, St. Joan, up to the top of the mountain. At the top there are some hiking options. I took a short hike which had very nice views, to St. Joan. There is a further 15 minute hike to Santa Magdalena, which is pretty steep…I went part way but stopped at the bottom of the stairs…they were pretty crumbly and I didn’t have hiking shoes on. I went back and then part way up the other side before taking the funicular back down and viewing the monastery.

    The monastery is right on the edge of the mountain…it’s amazing that something was built so long ago in such a seemingly inhospitable place. The outside was not too fancy, but the interior courtyard was pretty and the church was gorgeous. Beautiful lanterns on either side, and gorgeous stained glass windows.

    The trip back was easier but still took a while…cable car to the train, wait 30 minutes, then a one hour plus ride back to Espana, then Metro back to my stop and a 10 minute walk

    Montserrat is a special place. It’s worth a visit…preferably with a friend who owns a car! (By car. it’s only 40 minutes to the bottom of the cable car).

  • Plaza Espana, Santa Cruz Barrio & Sevilla Fan Club

    On the AVE train to Madrid..

    August 22, 2019

    I wrote this blog yesterday…and then the internet ate it so we’ll never know exactly what I said then…today we are on the fast train to Madrid, stop three on our Spanish tour. Jenny Cerff left yesterday for South Africa so Robin, Susan & Tim and Tracey are with me on the next adventure.

    We started yesterday on the Plaza de Espana, which was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It’s a combination of the Renaissance Revival and Neo Mudéjar styles of Spanish architecture. Mudéjar is the style of the Real Alcázar. We approached it from the Parque de Maria-Luisa and walked by some beautiful buildings of the University of Seville including the science building. There was a lot going on…there’s a small waterway built going around 80% of the plaza which is arranged in an oblong semi-circle. There’s a huge fountain there where we took some photos and towers on each end (we tried to find a way to climb up one but it was closed to us…most of the edifice is used as government offices including immigration. There were singers and flamenco dancers and scores of people selling fans and the clickers flamenco dancers use. Tracey and I decided to buy fans for the myriad of photos we planned to take. Gayle Prejean from Dallas, another tennis player, joined us for this trip. The fans were a hit and the photos were fun.

    After leaving Plaza de Espana we headed back to the old town. Robin and I walked to the store for lunch and others took naps. Susan and I then headed out to go shopping. We ran into Gayle and headed off for the shopping area, where we meandered for a while and I shopped for eye glass frames. Susan found a cute flamenco apron too.

    After shopping we set off for the Santa Cruz Barrio which is home to the Jewish Quarter. We wandered through the narrow streets, most only one car width wide and some which were only for bikes and pedestrians. The buildings were old, with shutters on the windows and some with peeling paint. The streets were mostly of cobblestone.

    We saw this “Taste of America” Store on our way back. Apparently it’s from the 1960s judging by what it was selling! (We didn’t go in).

    We finally met up around 8:15 for dinner with everyone…and we were of course the only ones in the restaurant so early! It was a very fun visit to Seville and I highly recommend visiting it. There’s a lot to see and the prices are very reasonable.