Tuesday, 29 March 2016

My Travel Catastrophe

It's no secret to anyone who reads my blog (or knows me in real life) that travel is a huge part of my life. In all honesty, the reason I originally actually started my blog was as an outlet for my travel reviews and photography, so it's something I blog about quite frequently.

To say my travelling experiences have been straightforward on the other hand, is another matter. There's been the usual hassle such as getting lost, forgetting things and most recently having my flight cancelled for 36hrs because of the French air traffic strikes (post coming soon) but I don't think anything can top the absolute disaster from my 2011 trip to Barcelona.

My friend Kate moved out to Barcelona in Autumn 2011, and a month or so afterwards I jetted out to visit her in her new home. It was my first time in Barcelona, but a city I'd had on my wishlist for a long time, so to say I was excited was an understatement.
It was also the first time I'd travelled completely alone, but being a fairly frequent flier and a confident traveller with friends and family, I wasn't phased about the airport part of the trip.
My Mum offered to take me to the airport to save me having to faff with parking, and I had no idea how incredibly grateful for that I would later turn out to be.

I landed in Barcelona late morning, having caught the early morning flight, and Kate met me at the airport. We excitedly chatted about our plans for my trip, and caught up on her new life in this bustling, vibrant city.
Shortly after dropping my stuff off and freshening up, we decided to head out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant Kate had wanted to try. I'm an adventurous eater who's up for trying anything, but the food was lukewarm and everything was covered in breadcrumbs, so I don't really know what we ate. After the food, we went on a whistlestop tour of Barcelona, looking at Casa Batllo, Barceloneta Beach, and the Marina. Our spirits were high and we were basking in the October sunshine on the beach.

Later that evening we headed out for a burger with Kate, her husband and their housemates, but I didn't really have much appetite. I put it down to being tired and the mysterious breadcrumbed Japanese cuisine I'd consumed earlier in the day. I guessed it would be nothing a good night's sleep wouldn't fix.

The following day we had an action packed day of covering as much of Barcelona by foot as was physically possible - we visited La Boqueria, climbed Montjuic and explored Gaudi's masterpieces; La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, marvelling at the beautiful colours, breathtaking architecture and quirky gingerbread house-esque statues.
I still felt slightly under the weather but fought on, determined to pack in as much as I could.

That night, we were too tired to do anything other than head out for a few quiet beers. We decided to head back to her apartment ready for my final full day.

The next day, we went to Monserrat, which was incredible. We travelled to the top of the mountain range by Aeri de Monserrat cable car, visited the Benedictine Abbey where we saw the Black Madonna, and heard the Escolania choir singing in the Basilica. The mountain range is a sight to behold and we walked and climbed for hours, looking at the breathtaking views.

On the journey back, things started to go downhill; my pale British complexion had taken on a decidedly sallow hue, I ached all over and my eyes started blurring and stinging to the point that Kate was frantically trying to figure out how to ask for eye drops in Spanish.
At this point I knew the peakiness I'd felt was slightly unusual, but I assumed I'd got something in my eye and so we stopped to watch the Magic Fountains display on the way back to the flat.

That night I headed to bed, and the hell began. I began to feel a pain in my right foot that was so horrendous, I felt helpless. I was burning up but shivering - dripping with sweat and covered in goosebumps. I knew sleep wasn't going to be forthcoming and the blinding pain meant there was nothing I could do but curl up on the cold tiled floor and wait for the waves of sickness to pass.
By the next morning, I crawled to the bathroom and attempted a shower. The pain was still all-consuming and I couldn't see past it, so I took the paracetamol Kate forced on me without argument.

I (literally) dragged myself to the airport and waited for my flight, thanking my lucky stars I'd checked in online and therefore didn't have to walk 2 miles to the terminal to check in. A 6 minute walk to the boarding gate took 35 minutes, and I texted my Mum to say I thought I'd injured my foot somehow and would have to make a doctor's appointment on the Monday.
Eventually the time came to board and all I remember is turning to the woman behind me and saying "I think I'm going to faint" before collapsing to the floor. I came round to see an entire flight-full of people staring at me, and offering water and sugar. I should have been mortified, but felt too out of it to even really care. The lovely kind lady sat behind me on the flight because "she didn't want to cramp my style" but kept an eye on me just in case. 

We landed and my Mum was there to meet me. The first part of the journey home was uneventful, until I without warning climbed into the back seat, curled up in the footwell and tried to sleep. My Mum was slightly panicked by this point, and even more so when I clawed the window, and couldn't answer questions about my own name! She rushed me to the nearest hospital who took one look at my hallucinatory state, and the telltale red marks tracking up my legs, and put me on a drip. 

To conclude - I had a nasty case of blood poisoning that was slowly spreading though my body and muscles, and was kept in hospital for 3 days (being discharged the night before my birthday) They identified that a 'foreign body' was present in my bloodstream but couldn't explain definitely how it had happened, the doctors were as mystified as I was. An X-ray showed that thankfully it hadn't spread to my bones (as worst case scenario could have led to amputation) and eventually I was sent home with a bag of medication, crutches and a doctor's note signing me off work for the next 10 days.

I still can't believe how lucky I was - I was told it was a good thing I went to hospital when I did (thanks Mum!) Also, had I driven myself to the airport and attempted to drive home, it wouldn't have been pretty. 
Barcelona is somewhere that unfortunately seems to be a bit cursed for me (my trip last week ended in flights being cancelled) but the experience hasn't made me lose my passion for travel and any future adventures!

Oliver's Travels are running an amazing competition where you can win a long weekend in the beautiful Algarve (all details can be found here) but you have to be in it to win it!
A few nights in this beautiful beach villa looks incredible!


  1. This story, even though I know it already, still scares me to this day reading this! :'( CATASTROPHE is an understatement !! :O :( so glad your ok now though, that's what matters <3

  2. The story kept me on the edge of my seat!! That's terrifying! I'm so glad you made a full recovery and it didn't stop you from going back. I've actually heard a few horror stories about Barcelona now. One of my friends on an Erasmus placement was mugged at knifepoint there very recently, in fact. It's still somewhere I'd definitely like to visit though xx

    Beth | Alphabeth

    1. Thanks Beth, yeah I've heard some real horror stories about it, but its definitely worth a visit!

      Lucy x

  3. Glad you're well! I had blood poisoning once and it is not enjoyable to say the least. x

    1. Thanks Emily - you have my sympathy its really horrible isn't it!

      Lucy x

  4. Oh my god! That sounds horrendous! You're so lucky you caught it and I'm glad you're okay now! Did you ever find out what caused it?

    I love Barcelona, it's so beautiful but it's such a shame it's left bad memories for you! :(
    Hopefully your next travel experience will be better! <3

    Tania | teabee94.blogspot.co.uk x

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Tania! No they were never too sure, but guessed it was either an insect bite or a stone entering my foot through a cut and causing an infection, nasty stuff!

      Lucy x

  5. Oh my! I can't believe that happened! I nearly got flattened by a metal structure when travelling in Paris once. I love your pictures though they are just so much fun.


    1. Thanks Rosa! oh no, that sounds pretty traumatic!

      Lucy x

  6. Oh hunni, this sounds horrific! Good thing you managed to get home & your mum took you to the hospital.

    That's one of the things that puts me off travelling, is getting ill abroad & not knowing what to do! I would totally panic! :') xx


    1. Thanks lovely, I'm so grateful she came for me, I was very lucky!


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