BARCELONA – Time for the mad dash for souvenirs and packing. We have less than 24 hours in this delightful city in Catalonia. Overnight rain washed away the sticky humidity lingering in the air.

The Good…
I enjoyed our day trip out of Barcelona to Montserrat. It’s home to a Benedictine monastery and the “Black Madonna.”

The view from up here is stunning. We took a cable car up to the main level, home to the Basilica and museum.
I listened to an organ player rehearsing inside the Basilica as tourists snapped away at the religious icons.

According to our audio/visual tour, a bunch of kids stumbled on holy visions on this mountain back in 880. Priests followed them up to a cave and found an image of the Virgin Mary. Eventually they established a church nearby. The religious site was rebuilt after Napoleon’s army destroyed it. It evolved into the holy sanctuary now known as Montserrat.

Behind the altar, we stood in line to see the “Black Madonna.”

I wish we had more time to explore the holy shrines dotted along the hiking trails. There’s also a trail that leads you to the cave where the kids had their visions. Maybe next time.

The Bad…
Some asshole stole my credit card number and wiped out my savings for this trip. I still have the card. So, it must have happened when I used my card at a machine. I found out via email. I used the bank’s collect call number for international travelers. I identified all the fake charges from Bangalore and Texas.

I already notified my bank about traveling out of the country, before boarding my flight. I closed my card while some asshole, scum-of-the-earth criminal walks away with ridiculous products from Macy’s, Zara’s and Bangalore department stores.

I know it’s not personal for these worthless punks. But I still feel violated.

Thankfully, I’m traveling with my husband. He let me tear up. He let me curse the assholes. He made me believe that everything will be alright.

I know we are blessed for having our traveling adventures. I’m grateful for seeing all the art, shrines and European sites in my young life. Often, we share trains with retired couples who waited a lifetime to see the same things.

Nobody can steal that from me.

The Yummy…
On that same night, we celebrated our friend’s 30th birthday at one of Barcelona’s best food spots, Lasarte.
On Lasarte Tasting Menu
On our tasting menu: a salad of sprouts, tomato gel, petals and lobster.
It marked my first time dining inside a 2-star Michelin restaurant. It was a revelation in flavors, textures and all things yummy.

Oysters at Lasarte
Every dish looked like it belonged in an art museum.

This oyster dish was covered when served. A strong, smoky pine aroma hit my nose when the server lifted the cover. The scent stayed with me as I nibbled on the shellfish and sesame tubers.

Beef strips over foie gras
Also on our menu : Sliced beef over foie gras curd. I scooped up mustard ice cream with each blissful bite.

This was this one of the gourmet highlights of my life.

And a Puppy…
Back to our day in Sitges, this puppy video made me laugh. It also made me miss my Daisy.

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Kris Vera is bopping around Europe with the love of her life...and they just bought a new camera