Nature Field Note

What is Nature like in Spain?

Barcelona is such a bustling and vibrant city in Spain.  Each morning I awake to honking cars, the large street cleaning trucks and people talking outside of my window.  The city is full of people, apartments, tall buildings and lots of restaurants.  My journey to the small town of Montserrat was amazing, because it was so different from the city life I had grown accustomed to in Barcelona.  Can you guess any of the differences I saw between the two cities?

Do you guys remember how to get to Barcelona?  We’ve already traveled over the Atlantic Ocean and landed in Spain.  If you look closely at the map of Spain and Portugal, it looks like a man.  You really have to use your imagination here, are you ready?  The man’s nose is located at Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, and is hair is the entire country of Spain.  Now take your finger and head towards the Northeastern part of the ‘hair’ of Spain, and now you have made it to Barcelona!

La Moreneta Shrine

Ever since Gala’s 7th birthday party, I have wanted to visit Montserrat.  One of guests at her birthday party told me about La Moreneta (more-a-net-ah), which means the Black Madonna.  This is a very important wooden statue that was built back in the 12th century.  That means that the statue is almost 900 years old! La Moreneta is a major symbol of the Catalan people.  On the 26th and 27th of April there is a large celebration called the Feast of La Moreneta.  This traditional celebration is typically filled with singing, music and lots of dancing.  Many people also travel to Montserrat see the shrine during the Feast of La Moreneta. I was fascinated by the descriptions I heard of Montserrat and decided I had to see for myself!

Yesterday my roommate and I hopped on a train, and we were off for our journey to the national park.  After taking a cable car across the expressway, we were finally at the foot of the mountain.  When we got there we waited in line, and we got to see La Moreneta in person.  While I had learned so much about the statue, I was ready to explore.  I really wanted to hike to the top of the mountain and learn a little more about my surroundings.  After all, I was in a national park and the views were breathtaking.  I couldn’t believe that this small town was located right outside of Barcelona.

What does this creature or plant look like?

There are so many amazing things to see and learn in Montserrat National Park.  My roommate decided to ride the funicular (which is like a small car) up the mountain, while I decided to complete the almost two hour hike to the top.  During my hike, I saw the forests of trees, green shrubs, roots and rocks.  This area may look like any other forest you would find in the United States, except that it has the plants and animal species native to the Mediterranean region.  There are particular types of vegetation and greenery that are only found in Mediterranean environments, because of the damp climate, seasons and altitude of the landscape.  After doing some research after I got home yesterday, I found that there are over 1,250 different species of plants that grow in this park.  Is there a park near you house?  What are some animals and plants that you see on your way to school, in your neighborhood and around New York?  How are they similar to what I found in Montserrat? How are they different?

Besides the mountains and vegetation, there are also lots of animals in Montserrat, in particular cats! My roommate even saw a wild goat at the top of the mountain peak.  While I didn’t see any birds, I could definitely hear them singing and chirping.

How did I feel when I saw it?

The two hour hike was definitely worth it!

I felt so peaceful and calm during my hike to the top.  The environment was tranquil and very different from my fast paced life in Barcelona.  I could hear my own thoughts, and it was great to just enjoy the nature around me.  There were also some other travelers hiking up the mountain, and we talked about how relaxing and serene environment around us. I had some beautiful views of the city as I got closer and closer to the top, and it was a great form of exercise.  I felt like it was never going to end, but after about two hours I had finally reached the top.

Where does it live? How does it use its environment to survive?

The animals that live in the mountains tend to stay in the forests.  They can find several different plants and roots to eat and survive.  There are many plants that flourish in this environment, because of the damp climate.

What can harm this creature or plant?

I don’t think there are very many things that endanger the animals and plants living in this environment. This is because it is a national park and protected. Plants and animals are always at risk when their habitats are threatened though.

There are many travelers in this area, and this has caused some of the rocks and hiking trails to wear down. This can be both dangerous for hikers and allow for mudslides and rockslides when it rains. Even though this can be a problem, the National Park staff constantly work to make sure that the environment is safe and preserved.  There are also several laws that help protect the environment as well.

I have enjoyed my time here in Barcelona, but it was great to get away and see another city nearby.  Where these some of the differences you imagined before?  Look at some of the photos.  Is this what you imagined the town would like?

The mountains look amazing from this point of view!


These are monk parakeets in the streets of spain


There was a wild goat near the peak of the mountain


View of the mountains from the cable car

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