“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right.”
Walking along the streets, I can’t help notice how tangerine trees dot the city. The morning sun is casting that misty glow I always imagine Paris to look like in the Spring, but we’re in Barcelona…and it’s February. It’s not quite Spring so there is still a bitter chill in the air but the sun helps a lot.
We take a 1 hour train ride + a cable car + funicular outside the city to Montserrat. It’s my first time EVER on a cable car. With giddy anticipation, we travel 1350 meters up to Montserrat Monastery, a mountain retreat where monks live and welcome pilgrimages. Along the mountainside is Santa Cova or The Holy Grotto where the first sightings of angels and The Virgin Mary were recorded in 880.
Back in Barcelona, we arrive at Carmel Hill and get a glimpse of Park Guell at sunset.
I wonder what kind of thoughts circulated through Gaudi’s mind as he began designing and building Sagrada Familia in 1882. Even after his death in 1926, construction continues and is expected for many more years to come.
Rare are these moments that fit together like a puzzle. All these little moments of randomness come together so that we are able to enjoy this one event that proves to be beyond extraordinary. Disappointed in our restaurant choice, we quickly leave, hurrying back to the hotel to avoid the winter chill. Tired, hungry and irritable, we find ourselves walking towards an unusual gathering clouded by smoke. We have no idea what we have stumbled upon. We stand in amazement. We find out it is called the Correfocs, a festival of The Virgin of Mercy. Drummers, dressed as devils, rock the night away. At one point, they all crouch down and skillfully make their way into a wild crescendo with fireworks lighting the night. The energy is fantastic and unlike anything I have experienced before. The heavy beats of the drums are intoxicating and magically, our petty troubles are washed away. Karina feels alive and is already making plans to return in warmer weather.
Our stay is short but leaves us with impressions of a culture that is warm, passionate and full of energy! Montserrat is beautiful. Gaudi’s sense of design is a wonder. The Correfocs is most definitely a highlight. Unexpected, unplanned and uniquely different. And sometimes, just maybe, as we stray from the norm, we learn a little more in the borrowed space and borrowed time we have.