Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Here's the saw-tooth crest that gives Montserrat its name. Originally it must have seemed a remote and difficult place to access, high up on a steep mountain. But it seems to have been venerated since pre-Christian times, and - this being Catholic Catalonia - acquired its statue of the Madonna very early (and a claim to be yet another home for the Holy Grail, it seems), so it has a long history of visits from the devout, which explains the impressive basilica beside the monastery.

Nowadays roads, rack railway and cable car bring up thousands of tourists to admire the views and gawp at the basilica, complete with the associated cafeterias, gift shops and so on.

But it doesn't actually take much exploring to find a path round the other side of the mountain, well away from the crush and the car-parks.

This one is lined with various signs and memorials from the many different parishes each with their own prayers to Mary.

Other paths also lead away to various points of interest, and include memorials to different local saints and heroes.  One such was the Catalan cellist Casals - and if you enlarge the photo and squint, you might just see the tiny image of some people climbing the peak above (sooner them than me).

1 comment:

  1. I never connected the dots about the name until you pointed it out !