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            We packed our bags, said our good-byes and finally took off to see the rest of Spain.  After setting the GPS for Andorra and driving about 30 miles northwest of Barcelona, we see signs for Montserrat, which we have heard of.  So even though we had left late at 4:30, we thought we better go and see it.  It is named Montserrat because it is a monastery built in the 9th century at the top of a serrated mountain.  It was a 10 mile drive up the hill and it was like climbing to Arrowhead.  At the top we saw parking spots but decided to keep driving all the way to the end and then come back to look for one.  As it turns out there was someone leaving right in front of the place and we lucked out.  The views were fantastic.  The monastery was destroyed in the 15th century and then entirely rebuilt in 1854 and taken over by the Benedictine order.  The cathedral is beautiful and it so happens it was the feast of the Assumption and I was able to attend Mass (I missed the homily in Spanish however).  After Mass I climbed the stairway behind the altar and got in line for the "Black Madonna", a special thing here to the Spanish.  We then visited the Museum they have there and what a surprise.  They had many works by Picasso, Monet, Dali, Chagall and even an intact mummy in with all the Egyptian relics.  We were amazed and decided this little 2 hour diversion was worth the trip.  Back on the road we are now really late getting into the little country of Andorra.  Manuel had booked us a room at the Hotel Roc des Caldes and it was a little tricky to find out of town and up the hill.  We check in at 9:45 and the restaurants stop serving at 11 PM.  So a quick change in the huge gorgeous room we got and I hightail it down the hill for a very long run to the other end of town.  It was exhilarating as a ran along the rapid brook that races along the road.  Now the hard part - the fast walk back up the hill.  It was a killer.  Got to the restaurant in time and we had a very nice dinner, though they don't understand what medium-rare means.  I had a practically raw filet.

The next morning it is cold and raining and I decide I will not run again here.  We walked for several hours checking all the prices.  My Palm M505 costs $608 here and I got mine for $376.  So much for the cheap prices in Andorra.  Digital tape however goes for $8 while I packed tons of it at $15.  We wanted to head to Lerida but Manuel told us there is nothing there so instead we are going to a place north of Huesca (weska) called Sallent (sayent) de Gallegos (gah-yeh-gos).  It is a ski resort in the Pyrenees one mile from the French border.



KJH                                                               Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #18 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

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SENT 8-19-01


PHOTOS: 17Andorra

[1) Church at Montserrat, 2) Black Madonna at Montserrat, 3) View of country side from Montserrat, 4) View of Andorra (Escalades) from Hotel room, 5) The brook along the street I ran down in Andorra, 6) The pyramid building in Andorra, 7) The classical food of the area between Lleide and Huesca in town of Barbastura (Restaurant Flora).]

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Copyright 2010    Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD