The Black Madonna of Montserrat

Her official name is Mare de Deu de Montserrat (Mother of God of Montserrat) but most Catalans call her “La Moreneta (the little dark-skinned one)” and Pope Leo XIII appointed her the patron saint of Catalonia in 1881. Most tourists refer to her as The Black Madonna and every day people wait in line for up to two hours in order to say a prayer and touch the globe she is holding.

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MM 2-43 Curves in Monochrome

I went all the way back to January of last year to find my monochrome photo for this month’s theme of Curves. We spent a few hours during our trip to Hawaii that month visiting the Honolulu Museum of Art where we saw a lot of Japanese woodblock prints, some of them old 19th century classics and some more modern like this one produced in 1964 by Sekino Junichiro.

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MM 2-42 The View from Montserrat in Monochrome

On our day-trip visit to Montserrat from Barcelona last Fall I went on a hike to an overlook called St Michael’s Cross. I was about half-way there  — about twenty minutes from the monastery — when I took this picture of the view before me. It will be my entry this week for Leanne Cole’s  Monochrome Madness Challenge.

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MM 2-41: Montserrat in Monochrome

I have been working on the photos I took that one day last October when we visited the monastery at Montserrat and I thought that perhaps one of them would look nice in monochrome and so I picked this one to be my entry for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Challenge this week:

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The Black Bus to Montserrat

“The bus stops right across the street,” the Tourist Information receptionist told me. “And it leaves promptly at 8:30 so get there by at least 8:15. And don’t forget it’s a black bus.” I memorized everything she said, including the color of the bus.

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Getting to Montserrat

There are three ways of getting from Barcelona to Montserrat, Catalonia’s most sacred mountain and Spain’s first national park. You can rent a car and drive northwest for about 60 km; you can take the R5 train (toward Manresa) from Placa d’Espanya station; or you can sign-up for one of several half-day or full-day bus tours. We decided on the bus tour that left Placa de Catalunya at 8:30 in the morning but didn’t arrive at the mountain until noon, giving us only four hours at the Benedictine monastery called Santa Maria de Montserrat.

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MM 2-40 — Barcelona’s Barri Gotic in Monochrome

The Barcelona Cathedral is surrounded by several Gothic palaces, most of which have been turned into museums.  On our walk around the cathedral last October I paused to take this shot of the courtyard in the Palau del Lloctinent which now houses the Arxiu de la Corona d’Arago (archives of the Crown of Aragon). This will be my entry this week for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Challenge.

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