Hola! I’m standing by the sandy San Sebastian beach in Sitges. We were blessed with lovely sunny weather in Sitges, Barcelona and Montserrat during our short stay in Catalonia.
Sitges is a smart coastal resort (known as the St Tropez of Spain) with several sandy beaches and an incredibly long promenade lined with palm trees and restaurants. I did indulge in some delicious paella, of course!
During a pleasant walk, I had stumbled across what I though were people but, on taking a closer look, were in fact stuffed toys dressed in colourful outfits sitting on top of some rocks on the beach. Bizarre indeed!
The Old Town is the oldest and most picturesque part of Sitges (located near the church) and is made up of narrow and winding streets.
Outside the magnificent Cathedral of La Sagreda Familia (the Holy Family) by Gaudi. Both the exterior and interior of the Cathedral are most impressive. I would recommend booking the ticket for entry in advance otherwise you could be waiting a very long time – this is the no.1 tourist attraction in Barcelona. It only takes a 30 minute train ride from Sitges to the city of Barcelona.
A mother duck and her 9 (baby) ducklings enjoying a swim – cute!
We took a private taxi to the Benedictine monastery and shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat (the patroness of Catalonia) which is on a mountain. It is a lovely drive and the scenery is stunning. All people can appreciate the beauty of the place, whether they are religious or not.
The piazza outside the Basilica. There is an art museum on the left which displays a wonderful and vast collection of antique/modern paintings and sculptures. It is a beautiful collection and a feast for the art lover. The antique Sacred art had really impressed me.
The location is remote and tranquil which is ideal for rest, relaxation and prayer. There is nothing more relaxing than just sitting and admiring the wonderful view. Heaven!
The holy image of the Black Madonna which is venerated by pilgrims in the throne room and it is a spiritual and worthwhile experience. Arriving early is recommended to avoid the long queue (before 10am, preferably earlier). Because I had arrived at 9.30am, I had been able to spend 10 minutes with the image and pray before the crowds arrived, otherwise it is only a few seconds each as people need to keep moving, such is the demand.
To reach and see the image, you need to ascend the stairway which leads to it’s golden and ornate altar. There is only enough room for 1-2 people to stand at a time as the space is so small.
(Front view of the image on balcony) (Back view of the image on balcony)
For people who have limited mobility and cannot manage the stairs, the image can also be viewed at a distance, from inside the Basilica and looking up at the balcony. There are also several chapels inside the Basilica.
At 1pm, the choristers gather to sing in the Basilica and they sound angelic. This is very popular with pilgrims/tourists. Even though I was inside 30 minutes early, there was only room for me to sit on the marble steps to the side. Many people had to stand.