Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Traveling to Montserrat
We decided to stay at the Vincci Arena Hotel in Barcelona. It is located approximately 2 blocks from the Plaza de Espana (Placa d'Espanya). There is a hotel right on the Plaza called the Catalonia Barcelona Plaza Hotel. If one takes the underground entrance which is located right in front of this hotel, it will give you access to the area to locate the train to Montserrat. We headed straight down the entrance to the underground, followed the first right corridor, then followed the 2nd right corridor, turned left at the next opening, took the elevator down to the next level to locate the train to Manresa. At the lower level is a small booth, marked "Montserrat". The young man at that booth with tell you in English about all of the options to travel to Montserrat. We selected the most comprehensive option which included roundtrip rail from Barcelona to the funicular to Montserrat, roundtrip on the Montserrat funicular, use of both funiculars located in Montserrat, entrance to the museum, entrance to the movie presentation, and a very nice lunch at the cafeteria. The cost for this was 34.50 euros per person. You do not purchase your ticket from this young man, but rather make your way to one of the ticket machines. You must have a proper amount of paper euro money in hand to make your purchase. This is an area where a lot of pickpockets hang out, so it was a relief to meet special rail employees who stood by the machines to assist in purchasing the proper ticket. We then proceeded to the next lower level to wait for the proper train. The train on the next track was headed off in the same general direction but split halfway to Manresa to go off in a different direction. Therefore, we had a number of people on our Montserrat train who lived in several townships along the way before the train split towards Manresa. We had purchased small backpacks for this overnight trip and left the suitcases at the hotel in Barcelona. The train was very congested, and we were glad we had made this decision. It took about one hour to reach the funicular to Montserrat. It was waiting for us. The funicular maintains an hourly schedule up the mountain.