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18 June 2024

We got up early today for a coach tour to Montserrat via The Church of Colònia Güell on the way. We had no breakfast as our hotel doesn't serve breakfast before 7:30 am.

Montserrat Trip.

I was not too upset about not getting breakfast. I didn't want to eat similar rubbish to what I ate here yesterday & would get something whilst we were out. I did sneak in & steal a glass of orange juice to take my tablets with. My leg aches this morning, & I take two painkillers now & will have to take a few extra painkillers with me.

We set off and walked the short walk to the metro & catch a train into Barcelona, where we boarded our coach with the 'Catalunya Bus Turistica´. We will first be visiting a small village called Colònia Güell. Here, we walked around the small village & were told how it used to be a small textile village owned by one man's family. When he died, the family allowed the villagers to buy their properties at very reasonable prices. There is also a small church built here by Gaudi & it is believed this is where he is buried.

Gaudi used this church to test his designs before he moved on to design the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 2005. Having visited both I think I prefer the small church here, as the larger Sagrada Familia it was never finished, here though it has been left as it was and has not been continually built on since Gaudi died. Im sure when I was little a lot of the things I liked about the Sagrada Familia were coloured bottles cemented into the wall, these have all now been covered by new artefacts and decorations, in my opinion, this is not an improvement.

We then move on to a local Cava producer just a few steps from the church. I try the very dry Cava. We are told this is the good stuff & the stuff they export is not as good quality; needless to say, if this is the good stuff, I won't be rushing to buy any Cava exports. I have to leave the building before the short tour & show as my ankle is giving me a lot of pain & I can now take two more painkillers.


We are soon on the tour coach again & driving to the Montserrat Monastery. We were not going up on the cable car, which was disappointing, but drove up to use the lower two funicular railways at the Montserrat Monastery. After getting there, we are told we will be leaving shortly & that there are only a few minutes to get a takeaway drink or sandwich at the station. I was surprised that the coach company hadn't pre-booked the tickets, but we had to wait for our guide to purchase the tickets, which took so long that we missed the first three trains & had to catch the fourth train nearly half-hour later.

We boarded the train where a Spanish boy saw me struggling and gave me his seat, there is only one seat in each compartment it's standing for the others. After a winding drive up the mountain, we reached the Monastery. Our guide collected us together & gave us his opinions of what we should visit first. Unfortunately, this seemed to be taking ages & my leg was hurting a lot, so I sat down, waiting for him to finish. I could get the details of the description from my friend Paul later.

We walked to the next station & cued to get a lift to the station. After queuing a short time, we moved up three floors & rejoined the path to the station; walking would have been quicker. At the station, I need water as I'm beginning to get hot sweats from the pain in my ankle, but I am determined to get to the top. I buy some water & do well. This machine is like a fruit machine. I wait for my water to drop to discover three have fallen; as I pull them out like an excited boy at the penny arcade at the funfair, two more bottles drop, & I collect a total of 5 bottles. I give Paul two, keep two & pass one to an Australian lady just about to use the machine. She wants one for her husband & has a go; she only gets two bottles. She can't be as lucky as me.

We climb on board the second funicular railway which is much steeper than the first, it climbs straight up at a very steep angle unlike the previous winding trip around the mountain. I ask an American lady If I can have the one seat which she does give up for me, by now my leg is in agony. We soon arrive at the top & there are walks of between 10 minutes to an hour to different viewing platforms. I tell Paul I won't be able to make even the nearest one & he shoots off to visit one of the platforms.

By this point, my breathing had got laboured, the pain was excruciating & I was getting hot and cold sweats. I walk to a seat in the station to wait for Paul as he has the train tickets. I waited for about one hour, but it got worse. I couldn't wait for Paul any longer & I spoke to the lady collecting tickets. With my basic Spanish, I explained that my friend had my ticket & that I needed to get down. I do not know if she believed my story or just wanted me out of her waiting room, but she let me use the train without a ticket.

When the train stopped, it took me about 20 minutes to walk the 30 yards to a medical assistance spot. They did not understand my Spanish much, but they understood what I was trying to say. I told them I was on a tour with a group, & they tried to contact the coach company. After another hour, Paul came down; he was worried about where I was & had already phoned the tour guide. The tour guide was soon with us & arranged for a tram to take me to the coach which was now at the same level we were at. I was helped aboard the coach, where we waited for the remaining people on tour. Before returning to Barcelona, our tour guide contacted the tour company, who arranged for a taxi to meet us & take me to the hospital. They even paid the taxi fare. The driver dropped us off at Barcelona University Hospital, where the fun began.

Barcelona University Hospital.

Barcelona University Hospital had me check in fairly quickly, but like all other hospitals, the waiting then began. I was put in a waiting room to wait for an x-ray to see if there were any breaks. After it was apparent there were no breaks, they arranged for me to have a Doppler Ultrasound in case a thrombosis was the cause. I told Paul to leave at this point as he had wanted to wait for the results. At around 10:00 pm, I was taken down for the Doppler scan, which showed, to my relief, that there was no deep vein thrombosis. I was then taken back to my bed in the waiting room. It felt like an infection of my leg, possibly caused by an insect bite. I then fell asleep dreaming weird hallucinatory dreams, which must have been brought on by the painkilling drips they had in my arm.

Big thanks to Paul Dunne.

I want to thank Paul for helping me out today & talking me into going to the hospital. If it hadn't been for you, it would have been a lot worse; indeed, I have been told I may have died.