Barcelona, Montserrat, and Home Safe

After a whirlwind of a week, it was finally time to visit our last city, Barcelona. It was clear when we first arrived that Barcelona was worth the wait. An incredibly vibrant, historic, and happening city. There was so much to see and do and, sadly, we only had two days to get it all in!

Quick stop in Zaragoza on our way to our final destination: Barcelona

Lately some of us have been reflecting on the role of Mary in the Christian faith. As the choir sings in Spanish churches we've been noticing the statues and paintings depicting Mary. We've been noticing how she's often dressed in blue. We've been reflecting on our own piety and the place that we offer to Mary. We've had some conversations about whether the virgin birth actually happened. 

Toledo and concert in Chin Chon

Today we visited the city of Toledo. Our first stop was the Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes. It is a 15th-century Franciscan monastery and church where our choir sang at the 1pm Eucharistic service. The choir did a fabulous job. Although we might not all have understood every word in the service, the structure of the liturgy was familiar to us and praying together felt like a good thing at this turning point in the trip.

El Escorial and concert at the Catedral Magistral

After a hearty breakfast, we headed out of Madrid to San Lorenzo de El Escorial. El Escorial is a palace-monastery, designated a world-heritage site by UNESCO. It was ordered to be built by King Philip II in the 16th century. It is currently still the site of an Augustinian monastic community. It has two royal apartments, one each for the king and queen of Spain. Each apartment is located on either side of the sanctuary, right beside the altar (King Philip II could take communion from his bedroom).

Córdoba and the Prado

It's such a joy to be on this trip! It's been a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know one another better. It has also provided us with much to reflect on, particularly when it comes to the history of the relationship between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Our visit to the Mezquita, or the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, was another glimpse into that history. The Mezquita is an architectural hybrid; mixing various epoques of Moorish and Christian architectural styles. Prior to being a mosque it was the site of a Christian Visigothic church.


Another beautiful day in Spain and a wonderfully full and exciting day in Seville. We began the day with yet another hearty breakfast and a walking tour of the city. It was indeed hot as predicted, but worth every moment.

Ronda and Flamenco

Our time in Granada ended this morning with a hearty breakfast and the memories of a wonderful first stop on our trip. As I mentioned in my last post, we were all pretty tired by the end of the day and I think everyone was eager to get to bed. Singing a concert is indeed a lot of work, but doing so after a full day in a foreign city is another story. When I woke up this morning, some of the parents that attended the concert showed me a few pictures that they took as we sang. As the sun set over the Hospital, it was quite beautiful.


Our first full day in Spain was spent in the beautiful city of Granada. We had a somewhat late start to the activities as we continue to try to rebuild after a sleep-deprived travel day. We all had a full Spanish breakfast, complete with tortilla de patatas and churros, a full spread of pastries, all kinds of meats and cheeses, eggs, juice, coffee - and the list goes on! A bit more than I expected after our tour manager told us that Spaniards rarely eat more than a croissant with a cup of coffee!

Arrived safely

After a successful Sunday morning Eucharist and afternoon Bon Voyage concert, we all loaded the bus in Grosse Pointe and headed to the airport. There is nothing like that feeling of expectation and possibility that comes as we pull out of the church parking lot about to embark on an overseas tour. Months and months of planning and preparation and the time had finally come to leave!

Welcome! Spain here we come!!

Welcome to the official Blog of the Christ Church Choir of Men and Girls Tour to Spain! Over the course of the next couple weeks, I will use this space to describe the various happenings of our trip so that everyone feels like they are part of the trip. Our travels include concerts and services in Granada, Seville, Madrid, Toledo, Zaragoza, and Barcelona. The places we will visit include the Alhambra Palace, the Mosque of Córdoba, Montserrat, and La Sagrada Familia. Check back frequently and stay connected to us as we travel!