Montserrat + Oller Del Mas Winery
We did one excursion while in Barcelona, and it was definitely worth it.
Nor because we both adore visiting old churches so much, I mean, we're a little burnt out at this point. How many gorgeous churches can you see before you're jaded? (My guess is probably like 6.) Anyway, we wanted to go to Montserrat, which is literally like, "Serrated Mountain" to partake in the view from above (Mr. Nolandia is partial to views), and also, to partake in the wine tour afterward. (I am partial to wine.)
Montserrat was predictably beautiful, though we did not ride the funicular to see the black madonna, (nor did I want to) and also predictably uncomfortable, as visits to most churches are as a tourist. I always feel...like I'm desecrating the church coming in, unshriven, to take gawky looks up at the high ceilings and stained glass. My camera, shaking in my unsteady hands, worried the whole time that one of my former Catholic school teachers is going to snatch it away, give me a referral for dress code and send me to the principal's office.
Anyway, after the church we had a quick history lesson. The Spanish tourguide took us around to a bunch of carvings around the walls of the outer part of the church (there's definitely an official name for it.) and I was the only one to answer the questions correctly. (Probably because I'm an insufferable know it all, and no one else in the group gave a good goddam.) Plus, the questions were like, "Does anyone know what happened in 1492? And the answer, actually, is a lot of things. But the right answer, that any red-blooded American schoolchild would answer correctly is, of course, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue." Which is what I said, verbatim, drawing strange looks from the Canadian and English members of the group.
After that we happily drove to the Winery/10th Century Castle for a little history of the winery, the vines, the techniques used in making the wine (which was surprisingly fascinating) and then tapas and wine tasting, (yes, yes, yes, yes YES). Long story long, we bought three bottles.