Montserrat is also the host to the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, a monastery notable for enshrining the image of the Virgin of Montserrat. The monastery was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between 19th and 20th centuries, and still functions to this day.
PRACTICE WITH BARCELONA DRACS LACROSSE
Following the exploring of Montserrat, the Irish headed back into Barcelona to practice with the local lacrosse team, Barcelona Dracs Lacrosse, at the National Institute for Physical Education of Catalonia, which was used during the 1992 Summer Olympics. The Notre Dame coaches and players showed the natives some new drills and inter-mixed the two teams throughout the session.
The team grabbed a quick breakfast at Centre D'alt Rendiment (C.A.R.) Sant Cugat and then headed to Barcelona to see one of its most famous landmarks, La Sagrada Familia, which is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Construction on the cathedral began in 1882 and completion is at least eight years away.
The Irish took a tour and learned about the history and the story behind the famous architecture that draws thousands and thousands of tourists each day.
The most popular market in Barcelona is La Boqueria, located at the heart of La Rambla. The scene is vibrant and full of energy, with a myriad of fresh food choices.
After a full morning and afternoon of touring Barcelona, the team returned to its base to take on the Spanish and English national teams as part of the Barcelona City Tournament.
The Irish defeated Spain by a final score of 20-2 in the opening game before taking on a challenging English side. Peter Gayhardt led the Irish with four goals in the win over the host nation.
Notre Dame improved to 2-0 on the day, as the Irish won 11-4 over England.
GAMES VS. GERMANY, SWITZERLAND & HOLLAND
Day three was the most lacrosse-heavy day of the trip, featuring a trio of games against European national teams. The Irish began the day against a spirited German side at 9:30 local time (3:30 a.m. ET).
After a slow start in the first quarter, the Irish attack kicked into gear and the defense put the clamps down on the Germans, as Notre Dame went on to win by a final score of 14-2 to improve to 3-0 in the Barcelona City Lacrosse Tournament.
Following the game, the two teams took photos together and swapped gear.
After a mid-day break, Notre Dame wrapped up Saturday's packed slate with a contest against Holland. Despite already playing two games, the Irish controlled the contest, going on to win by a score of 13-2. The win gave Notre Dame a record of 5-0 heading into the final day of play on Sunday.
The Irish played a pair of split-squad games, against Norway at 9:30 a.m. local time and versus England at 10 a.m. The Irish defeated Norway by a final of 8-5 and then pulled out an overtime victory over England by a count of 10-9 to finish the three-day event undefeated at 7-0.
Following the final game, all six teams came together for a closing ceremony. Morrison Mirer was named Notre Dame's MVP for the weekend. ND head coach Kevin Corrigan and a number of players from the teams made closing comments. A few players even took a quick, celebratory dip in the Mediterranean Sea after completion of the games.
To read more about the tournament, read John Heisler's feature here.
The team then scarfed down pizza before making the trek north to Vall de Núria, a ski resort located just south of the Spain-France border. After a 90-minute bus ride, the team hopped on a train for the last 45 minutes of the expedition. The ride featured breathtaking views of the Pyrenees mountains at every turn. When the train finally came to a stop, the players and staff were greeted with a majestic view that words can hardly explain. See for yourself below.
Upon arrival, the team had free time for the remainder of the evening to recover from the seven games of lacrosse in three days.
A number of members of the team even reached the summit of some of the highest peaks around the hotel.
After 30 minutes of jumping off the boat and swimming, everyone boarded for a traditional lunch of seafood paella made right onboard.
The second part of the trip at sea featured beautiful views of the Spanish coastline. Many of the views reminded players of the hit television show Game of Thrones, which filmed scenes from previous seasons in the nearby town of Girona.
TOURING A VINEYARD IN PENEDES
The wake-up call came a little later on Wednesday evening, as the team did not have to leave the hotel until 10 a.m. Once the time came around, the guys left Barcelona and made a short bus ride to Penedes, a region made famous for its vineyards.
Each group got to see the grapes on the vine over the expansive property and was educated on the importance of soil and how it affects the flavor of the grapes.
The team also saw the entire rest of the facility from the production of the wine to its storage.
Roses are commonly found at vineyards due to the fact that they are an indicator of diseases to the grapes and can be used to prevent the loss of product.
The experience had many impressive features that were highly engaging. The players got multiple views of the pitch from throughout the stadium and walked through a high-tech, interactive museum that focused on its history and current squad, which just won the UEFA Champions League for the third-straight season.
The tours also allowed patrons on the pitch, in the team tunnel, locker rooms and press areas.
The plaza has beautiful architecture and an endless number of unique shops and restaurants.
Right next door to the expansive palace is the Catedral de la Almudena, a Baroque Catholic cathedral known for its colorful chapels, plus a Romanesque crypt and museum.
Prior to entering the stadium, Professor Tim Kinneen ‘86, an Ernest Hemingway Scholar in Spain, provided background and history of the bullfights to the team. He explained how it is deeply connected to Spanish traditions and that the bull is the main protagonist in the event.
The night consisted of six bullfights, featuring three matadors who each performed twice.
The structure was built in the early 12th century and features many interesting rooms and views due to its unique shape and location. In the castle is also a museum and a room full of knight's armor and medieval weapons.