31 August 2015

Visiting Montserrat Monastery in Barcelona

I have always dreamed on setting foot to any pilgrim site since I was young. I have planned for this visit to happen for many years. I am very glad to have set foot in Montserrat Monastery in Catalonia, Spain with my daughter last June.

Almost at the top of the mountain is the beautiful Montserrat Monastery.

Montserrat Monastery is an abbey perched on the Montserrat mountain since early 9th century. The mountain looks like the jagged side of a knife from afar and much so, at a close range.

There are many ways to get there. You can go there via train, car, bus or even on motorcycle.  My daughter and I decided to take the train so we could enjoy the 1 hour ride to the countryside from Barcelona's Pla├ža Espana.

The signage that would lead to the rail line towards Montserrat.

The Montserrat Monastery and the view of the beautiful Montserrat mountain from the train.

The Montserrat Monastery is not at the very top of the mountain though. You have to take another funicular train to reach the top and from there, enjoy the breathtaking view of the Catalonia landscape, and also enjoy the nature's trail there, and the Santa Cova and the Sant Joan.

This is a beautiful view from the train while traversing the side of the mountain before we reached Montserrat Monastery.

We didn't visit the upper part of the mountain but we immensely enjoyed our time in the Benedictine grounds. There is a Black Madonna inside the Basilica in Montserrat. Some of the places you will visit there has entrance fees so it was mostly going around the grounds and walking towards the trail behind the monastery.

There are souvenir shops and museums. You can also view the beautiful landscape of Catalonia from the monastery grounds. And if you are feeling adventurous, you can go up  by taking the funicular.

I can go on and on about the beauty of the Montserrat Monastery and the mountain where it is. For us, it is another check mark in our bucket list.

Here are some of our snaps taken in Montserrat Monastery. Enjoy!

The Monserrat Monastery grounds at the Montserrat mountain in Catalonia. 

Beautiful, jagged, rounded, and even some pointed edges of the Montserrat mountain as the backdrop of the Monastery.

This is the view from the hiking trail behind the Monastery. 

The Basilica that houses the Black Madonna.

More photos of the Monastery grounds.

The alley that leads behind the Monastery,  hiking trail, and food outlets.

The museum near the Monastery grounds, just in front of the rack train station.

Such a beautiful view from where we were standing.

This is the long stairway that leads to the Basilica and the atrium.

My daughter and I had so much fan marvelling at the beauty around us. Visiting the Montserrat Monastery while we vacationed in Barcelona was one of the highlights of our summer Euro trip.

If you are visiting Barcelona, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Montserrat Monastery. It is a great experience if you want to enjoy nature, and also to enhance your spirituality.

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28 August 2015

Back to School with Little Passport

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

It's school time and the kids  are heading back to school! Check out Little Passports' most recent blog, Back to school around the World. This back to school round-up of popular posts will help you ease your way out of summer and into the school year.

Kids love seeing what other kids around the world eat for lunch and how they celebrate the first day of school. Plus, learn about a fun school activity that will inspire kids to learn new languages!

Interested in more Little Passports blog posts? Search the Little Passports Blog.

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13 August 2015

Reasons to Join a Vacation Club Instead of Buying a Vacation Home

Are you thinking of purchasing a vacation home for family getaways? You may think of this kind of retreat as an investment that will provide you with fun and memories to last a lifetime. While this may be true, there are disadvantages to owning a vacation home such as property taxes, maintenance costs, time spent on upkeep and returning to the same destination year after year. An alternative that meets the travel needs of many is a vacation club. This kind of travel membership allows you to visit quality properties located in a wide variety of destinations. Let's take a look at the many benefits joining a vacation club can offer. 

Variety of Destinations

Unlike a vacation home you return to year after year, vacation club membership allows you to visit a new place every time you travel, even multiple times per year. You'll be able to offer your family a variety of new experiences and cultures. In addition, various types of accommodations are available for the choosing. You'll never have the same vacation twice, unless you decide to. 

No Maintenance

People often neglect to consider the time and money involved in owning a vacation home. This property will require regular maintenance, repair and upkeep just like your primary residence. All of that adds up financially. If your getaway house is far from home, you may even have to pay someone else to take care of everything for you. Don't forget about the regular upkeep involved like mowing the grass or cleaning the pool. With a vacation club membership, it's all taken care of for you. 

Lower Upfront Costs

The membership fee of a vacation club is usually far less than a down payment would be on a home that you purchase. Not to mention the monthly mortgage costs and property taxes on a vacation home can be pretty steep. With a vacation club, you only pay for the vacation time that you use. 

No Depreciation Worries

When you buy a vacation home, there's always risk involved. A popular area could lose its appeal in the future, driving your property value down. When you join a vacation club, you don't have to be concerned with losing your investment. It's a win-win. You get the use of well-maintained properties in several locations without the risk. 

As you can see, vacation clubs like Bluegreen Resorts offer a number of benefits compared to traditional vacation home ownership. You'll enjoy the memories without the commitment.

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