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16 April 2016

Exploring Catalonia: Why Montserrat Will Make You Feel Connected

In my life, I have been to a few places that made me feel a deep, spiritual connection. Usually these have been natural places such as the sea or the mountains, so I can't recall all of them. My constant one is the woods around my house in Tuscany. However, besides feeling that at home, there are some places you just travel to and connect with at first impression. For me, Montserrat was one of these, as its atmosphere is so unique. In what way, you ask me?
Well... we could look at this from different perspectives. If you are a bit skeptical and spirituality isn't your thing, then the reason why you will feel connected and content anyway is that Montserrat is an incredibly beautiful natural site. The mountains you get to trek on, climb or simply observe from a high point are breathtaking, and even if you're not planning to, you'll very likely stop and stare, enjoying the present moment and not worrying about anything. Besides, these spots tend to be windy, reminding you should take a fresh breath of air in, a vital action and liberating feeling that we tend to forget in our daily routine (unless you are one of the monks who live in Montserrat and do that all the time. But then you would probably not be reading this). In any case, Montserrat will do you physically and mentally good, whether it's because you have decided to go for a walk up the mountains or sit down on a bench and enjoy the views, taking some time and space to declutter.




Let's not forget that the main other reason that makes Montserrat so unique is its strong spiritual character. The church of the monastery is the heart of it, however it might be quite hard to feel that as it tends to be very crowded with tourists taking pictures like crazy. The place where one can perhaps gather her own thoughts and take a mental break is the church area of the Black Virgin, the emblematic figure of Montserrat. That is where I could open myself; even though I am not religious, I am open to spiritual figures like this one for the good energy they remind you to keep within yourself. To me, touching the virgin's little sphere felt like an invitation to connecting with myself and my values, but others could obviously see it in different ways. Getting out of the church, there is an area dedicated to candles for different 'purposes', such as health, love, happiness, future etc. I really liked that bit after the church because that is when I found time for reflecting about the things I am grateful for and making a little prayer of protection for the ones I love.
Montserrat is a religious place where many people make vows or take some time to meditate (I've heard students are allowed to spend time in cells to do it) so it might also be an important stage if you are a Christian and decide to pay a visit.

There is also a museum with beautiful artworks from Catalan painters, making the experience more authentic and valuable.
Everyone has a different reaction to visiting places - I personally enjoyed seeing this side of Montserrat and sharing it with you. I understand that the experience might be different for everyone, however I suggest visiting in any case, you won't regret it!

Suggestions if you are thinking of travelling to Montserrat:
- Bring a scarf and warm coat, it's colder than in Barcelona
- Bring a camera
- Make sure you don't spend too much time on your phone and look up!

2 comments:

  1. I can totally see how this place would make you feel both mentally, physically and spiritually good! A lot of these photographs remind me of the time I went to Italy a few years ago; we stayed in the mountains, and it was amazing how peaceful it was. And the AIR was so fresh! Thank you for sharing, Assia :)

    -Lor // acozyspace.wordpress.com

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    1. That's so cool. where did you stay? Italy has also great landscapes, but I usually travel to the seaside. Should get more into the mountains! Yes the air is just fantastic in nature! <3

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