Legend says shepherds from early Spain saw a cave spit fireballs from its mouth. Intrigued by the mysticism of the fireballs, the shepherds ventured into the cave to find the Madonna of Montserrat, a statue more well known as “La Moreneta.”
Peaked with pride, the shepherds attempted to bring the beautiful statue to the city of Manresa, but the figure grew heavier and heavier with each step they took. The shepherds then agreed that the sacred statue wanted to stay in her holy place. As time trickled, the statue’s cave evolved into a monastery where miracles remain at the feet of “La Moreneta.”
Something almost magical about Montserrat is its rich historical roots. Legend states that the holy grail was hidden in the mountain range. The old Benedictine Monastery sits atop the mountain and is still home to “La Moreneta.” The statue acted as an indicator that the Holy Grail was hidden in that location.
‘La Moreneta ‘translates to the ‘Dark One’ – highlighting Mother Mary’s dark complexion. Statues with such a complexion were viewed as insights into where the Holy Grail lies.
Dennis Petridis is a seasoned traveler who tries to travel internationally at least twice a year. Dennis started planning his trip to Barcelona with a friend he knew understood what he was looking for; he was searching for an adrenaline rush. His friend was a like-minded local who knew places that would give Dennis his fill of adventure.
Barcelona is a place that was described as very culture driven, with an emphasis on pride in the country’s heritage. The Spanish city has a cable car system that will take you from one end to another.
Dennis fondly remembered his time in Barcelona, adding that its culture is similar to his Grecian roots. He said, “they (the locals) seem to like a bit more interested in culture. It’s like a working Museum there. There’s so much culture and so many people recently introspective on that area to be inspired.”
The pair set their sights on getting inspired by many places, but the place that stood dominant in Dennis’ memory was the Montserrat mountain, located about an hour train ride outside of Barcelona. The mountain range was loaded with breathtaking natural views and embellished with deep history and routes dating to before time was recorded.
The two decided to drive to the mountain, thinking it would be more of an adventure. On their drive, the pair came upon the ruins of a village with high walls. Dennis blamed the magnetism of curiosity on his intrusion into the ruins. He claimed to have heard whispers from another time in the village’s abandoned church, signaling to him that it was time to leave.
As Dennis and his friend reached the mountain, they realized the vastness of the range while also seeing why it differed from other mountains.
Mont Serrat means ‘serrated mountain’ in Catalan. Its remarkable appearance resulted from events roughly 45 million years ago when most of the region was underwater and part of a massive delta that flowed into the sea.
From afar, the pair saw cable carts cascading people up and down from the monastery where the legendary statue was held. Many visitors were uncomfortable with the smallness of the cart and preferred taking the bus up, while others would choose to drive their cars.
Hopeful to have a cart to themselves, Dennis purchased spur-of-the-moment cart tickets. With the small fee of only 12 euros per rider, the two could encapsulate the mountain’s beauty from what felt like a 360 view. The cart ride lasted 10 to 15 minutes and is offered every day from 9:30 am to 7 pm.
Although Dennis had his adrenaline peaked, the deep historic roots kept him consumed along with the landscape and architecture, “It’s not something you see every day. The mountain’s rock formation creates these columns, making it a unique location. Plus, the whole history behind it, what you know, piqued my interest. I guess more mystery, and I’m not a religious person.”
Dennis’ only regret was not going to higher peaks, claiming that if he were to visit again, that would be one of the first things he does, “there was another way to go even higher up and see dismal like from the Templars.”
As Dennis eagerly awaits his next adrenaline-inducing adventure, he continues to research various areas worldwide in hopes of finding a place as impressive as the Montserrat mountains were to him.