Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with secluded monasteries

With my travelling companion preferring the shops of London to the Barcelona rivals (not compared: Milan), she set off for a couple of days to the UK to get some summer clothes for our impending move to SE Asia. Not a wide selection in December, apparently, but the cheapo stores will sell any old thing at any time of the year, thankfully.


I took the time to get a special massage get out of town and see Montserrat, a monastery in the mountains. Because of the Spanish colonisation of Central/Southern America, there were a lot of places like this that made me think of that area, which is probably just as interesting for the Spanish who visit Australia and see all the Liverpools, Newcastles and so on.


It’s probably better if I tell you a little bit about the monastery, but since when have you equated these posts with high/decent/passable quality? I’ll tell you what I remember as I go through my photos.


The best bit was the cathedral, which was all the more impressive thanks to its isolation up some godforsaken (godblessed?) mountain. Somewhere inside, a queue indicated that there was a black/crying Madonna or some sort of religious guff that you could look at for a few seconds and wonder why you bothered lining up. I have no idea what it looks like, but the general interior was nice. I only noticed the ‘no photos please’ sign on the way out.


Then there’s some houses for the monks or something, a cafeteria where I got free food because of the ticket I bought and then a funicular car that took me higher up the mountain to show how the real monks lived — away from everything in caves. Someone had even built a little church up there, which looked completely out of place and, if I ever visit the Philippines, would be a great comparison that I’d keep coming back to.



I mostly enjoyed this part because it was a walk in the mountains with some nice views. I admire the priests/monks/recluses who lived out this way, but there wasn’t much to hold my interest.




And I lied about the best part, seeing this was definitely the highlight:


While it was nice to get out of the city for a day and see something slightly different, the round trip on the train seemed quite long for what I got out of the visit, but with a flight to Bangkok in a couple of days I’d soon long for a reliable and prompt train service.

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One Response

  1. Dave says:

    I won’t rise to it. Yes I will.

    In the Philippines you’ll mainly find tacky ‘grottoes’ spoiling mountains, beaches and the other remaining nature sites, featuring gaudy plastic idols of Caucasian Christ, Suspiciously European Looking Mary and the rest of the gang.

    There’s the odd old, formerly nice Spanish church, but they’ve generally been rendered unpleasant with excessive bunting and the same layer of black exhaust soot as all the other buildings.

    Don’t delay book flights to the Manila flights now

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