Tuesday 3rd of May Capellades to Montserrat

Slight cheat this morning. Instead of walking 6 kilometres from Capellades to Peira to rejoin the GR 172 (and the E4) I saw a train and jumped on it. Worse than that I couldn't figure out how to buy a ticket and got a free journey. On the basis that E4 cheats never prosper I then proceeded to repeatedly loose the route and ended up walking the 6 kilometres gained by the train anyway.

The whole point of E4 excursion into Catalonia is, I think, to take you to the Montserrat mountain and its monastery. Having a rest day here tomorrow so will find out more about the place but the monastery and the black madonna located here is focus for pilgrimage and a symbol of Catalonia. Whenever the Barcelona football team win something they bring the cup here to say thank you.

The Montserrat mountains themselves are special. Not only are they very prominent, but they also form some very unusual shapes. The organic shapes, in particular, and the colour made me at any rate think of Gaudi, the famous Barcelona architect.

Mountains of Montserrat from Peira

Getting there proved a little bit harder than anticipated. I guess all the stuff which has worn away to form the mountain has been dumped in the plain below and rivers have sliced through this causing a series of deep ravines which have to be crossed. The trail through these ravines is perfect for men on motorbikes. A lot of effort has been made to try and stop them but it looks like a loosing battle.

Three GR routes home in on the monastery (the GR 172, the GR 6 and the GR 5) and actually it is a really good walk. Brilliant views both up the mountain and across the plain. You start on the west of the range, go around it's southern flank and then head up on the south-eastern side. Once you get around the corner your looking across towards the Barcelona metropolis which is huge.

Ermita de la de Deu de la Salut

Amazing shapes of the Montserrat Mountains

Montserrat Monestry

The monastery complex seems to be a theme park for the Catholic Church with a funicular to bring pilgrims up the mountains.

Resting up tomorrow so I can keep in step with people who will joining me for stints over the next few weeks. My feet are definitely suffering a bit at the moment so a day off is probably a good thing. I'm hoping to find somewhere to watch the Barcelona game, a lot a Barcelona shirts about today, although I doubt it will be as noisy up here as it was last week.


  1. HiJohn!

    Belated greetings and many congratulations on the ground you've covered so far. Your daily diary has been enthralling and, as I said in my Church Times sketch, it puts my occasional walk to the pier and back into perspective. The only journey I can think of comparable to yours is that of the English nun Catherine Ward who used to walk across Europe from time to time - including over the Alps in winter - to pester the Pope about women's rights to education. Though I dont think that she was ever attacked by bees. I think what you're doing is fantastic and so does everyone else in Flat 2, 3 Palmeira Square. We're privileged of course to get updates from Christine, but we'll keep checking your blog.

    Pat joins me in greeting you from Montreal where this is posted. Pat's on a conference. I'm an "accompnying spouse". I think that's what I'm called. It rains a lot here. I hope that's instead of on your path.

    Warmest best wishes for the days ahead.

    John (Pridmore)

  2. Hi John

    Nice to hear from you and thank you very much for your support. Having a rest day today and getting myself ready to cross the Pyrenees. Please hold onto the rain.