This past weekend Grant and I had the opportunity to visit the Catalan countryside area around Montserrat. It was a big contrast to cosmopolitan Barcelona! Being in nature was so serene. There is something about mountains that makes me feel suddenly small. It helps me gain perspective when I look across the vastness of nature and realize that I am just a very tiny part of this world – just an tiny part of God’s intricate creation. This smallness brings me comfort. It reminds me of the Bible verse: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
We stayed with our Airbnb host from Barcelona and her boyfriend. I wish I could share photos of the place with you, but out of respect for our hosts, I’ll refrain. My words will have to suffice. The place was situated down a dirt road, remote from the main road. It overlooked the whole range of the mountains of Montserrat. We stayed in a house built cerca 1880, and most of the house had been used to keep animals at that time. It amazed me how old the house we were staying in was – yet how heartily its stone structure withstood time and weathering. There was a sweet dog that also lived there who gave us her constant company and dog-grin’s. The whole scene was utterly romantic.
On Saturday morning, Grant and I biked up the mountain to a monastery. The whole way up there were sweeping views of both the mountain and the valley of the elevation we had conquered.
^Grant all fueled up from our bocadillos breakfast. The Spanish eat light sandwiches called bocadillos in the late morning to get them through to a proper lunch around 1:30-2.
^Grant zooms ahead as I am awed by the scenery.
^Sweeping scenery as we went up, up, up
When we made it, we were actually surprised. We thought we were biking to the very top of the mountain, but as it turns out, the monastery is not at the tippity-top. We asked a pair of bikers how to get there and they responded, you are already here! that’s it!
Beautiful views of the valley and Montserrat greeted us there.
We got to zoom down the mountain on our bikes, which was the really fun part!
That night, Grant and I offered to cook dinner for everyone, and we attempted to introduce them to a Texas classic – Frito pie. No fritos were to be found at the countryside market, but we did find Bugles, which are kind of similar. So we had Bugle pie instead! Pro tip: Bugles get soggier much faster than Fritos!
On Sunday, our friends hosted a BBQ. Grant’s grilling expertise came in handy as he stepped in to help man the grill! Another couple came over for lunch, and it was a really good feeling to feel like we had friends here. It is interesting to see which mannerisms cross cultures – for instance, the inclination of everyone to NOT take the last piece of food on the plate but to keep splitting it, splitting it, splitting it until there is …. only a fraction left.
It never ceases to amaze me how diverse people are here. We were sitting around at the BBQ and someone made the observation: We are people from Germany, Italy, China, France, and America, all sitting together in Spain.
That has really stuck with me.
Now we are back in Barcelona, hot on the apartment hunt. Grant started Spanish classes yesterday – they are intense! They only speak in Spanish the entire time, and classes last four hours every day. He is picking up Spanish quickly! I am really proud of him.
Those mountains are glorious! Really, really, really beautiful. It’s so awesome that you guys brought your bikes to Spain.