11/27/19 – Pilgrimage

Last weekend I flew to Moscow, to cheer my mom up a little bit. As a result, I didn’t cycle much last week. To make up for that I conceived a sort of pilgrimage: to pay a visit to a few notable Catalan churches.
I started by taking a train to Manresa where one of them, Basílica Santa Maria de la Seu, is located. The history of this church goes back as far as the year 890. However, given the fact I was on a bike that I don’t dare to leave outside, I didn’t go inside the church. On the other hand, I saw so many, I can skip one or two.

From there I headed to the city of Terrassa. When I plotted my route on Strava, there were two options: a popular route or a route with minimal elevation. I chose the former, knowing all too well that it is popular amongst roadies who like torturing themselves cycling uphill. Surprisingly, I was glad I did: despite the road going up and up and up for about 25km, it was deserted and the scenery around was wonderful. And when I finished the ascend, there was a long descend leading all the way to the next church. Actually, there were three of them: Sant Pere, Sant Miquel, and Santa Maria, which are even older than the one in Manresa, dating back to the 5th century. Alas, it was Monday and they were closed for visits.

15km down the road was the Monastery of Sant Cugat, a Benedictine abbey founded in the 9th century. The cloister is considered a jewel of Romanesque sculpture, one of the most important in Europe and one of the best conserved. Monday visiting hours applied here as well – it was closed. When I planned the trip I was more preoccupied with the weather, presuming churches are always open.

Sant Cugat de Vallès was the last stop on my pilgrimage route – or it was supposed be. As I was heading home, the road passed near Tibidabo amusement park, next to which, amusingly enough, sits the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Barcelona’s answer to Sacré-Cœur of Paris. On the spur of the moment I decided to swing by this one as well. Now the “camino” was complete.

I didn’t go inside any of the churches I passed, nor was I particularly interested in it. It was a mere excuse to do a long cycling trip.

This “pilgrimage” in numbers:

80 km – distance cycled
5 – churches bypassed
870 m asl – the highest point I reached