Monteserrat

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 a fact I am not to upset about as I didn't want to eat the rubbish I ate here yesterday & would get something whilst we were out. I did sneak in and steal a glass of orange juice to take my tablets with, my leg aches this morning and I take two painkillers now & will have to take a few extra pain killers with me.

We set off and walk the short walk to the metro, we catch a train into Barcelona where we board our coach with the 'Catalunya Bus Turistic'. We will be first be visiting a small village called Colònia Güell. Here we have a walk around this small village and are told how it used to be a small textile village that was 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.

 Photos of The Church of Colònia Güell.

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 where coloured bottles cemented in to 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 Cava which is very dry we are told this is the good stuff and the stuff they export is not as good quality, needless to say, if this is the good stuff I wont be rushing to buy any Cava exports. I have .o leave the building before the short tour and show as my ankle is giving me a lot of pain and I can now take 2 more painkillers.

Montserrat.

We are soon on the tour coach again & driving to the Montserrat Monastery. We were not going up on the cable car which was a disappointment but drove up to use the lower of two funicular railways that are at the Montserrat Monastery. After getting there we are told we will be leaving shortly & that there is 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 we missed the first three trains and had to catch a 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 its standing for the others. After a winding drive up the mountain we reached the Monastery. Here our guide collected us together and gave us his opinions of what we should visit first. Unfortunately this seemed to be taking ages and my leg was hurting a lot so I sat down, waiting him to finish. I would be able to get the details of the description from my friend Paul later.

We walked to the next station and cued to get a lift to the station. After queuing a short time we move up 3 floors and rejoined the path to the station, it would have been quicker walking. 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 and do well, this machine is like a fruit machine. I wait for my water to drop to discover 3 have fallen, as I pull them out like an excited boy at the penny arcade at the funfair two more bottles drop and I collect a total of 5 bottles. I give Paul two, keep two and pass one to an Australian lady just about to use the machine. She wants one for her husband and has a go, she only gets two bottles she cant 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 by leg is in agony. We soon arrive at the top and there are walks of between 10 minutes to an hour to different viewing platforms. I tell Paul I wont be able to make even the nearest one and he shoots of to visit on of the platforms.

By this point my breathing has got laboured, the pain is excruciating and I am getting hot and cold sweats. I walk to a seat in the station to wait for Paul as he has the train tickets. I wait for about one hour but am getting worse and cant wait for Paul any longer, I speak to the lady collecting tickets and with my basic Spanish explain that my friend has my ticket and that I need to get down. I do not know if she believes my story or just wants me out of her waiting room but she lets me use the train without a ticket.

When the train stops it takes me about 20 minutes to walk the 30 yards to a medical assistance spot. They do not understand my Spanish much but get the basics. I tell them I'm on tour with a group, who I'm with and they try to contact the coach company. After around another hour Paul comes down, he was worried where I was and has already phoned the tour guide. The tour guide is soon with us and arranges for a tram to take me to the coach which is now at the same level that we are at. I am helped aboard the coach where we wait the last remaining people on tour. Before we get back to Barcelona, Our tour guide has contacted the tour company who arrange for a taxi to meet us and take me to hospital. They even paid the taxi fare. The driver drops us off at Barcelona University Hospital where the fun begins.

Barcelona University Hospital.

Barcelona University Hospital had me checked in fairly quickly but like all other hospitals the waiting then begins. 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 10:00pm 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 was felt it was 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 would like to thank Paul for helping me out today & talking me in to going to hospital. If it hadn't been for you, it would have been a lot worse,  indeed I have been told I may have died.

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