I write this with much angst.
We picked Barcelona for our honeymoon destination with full of hope. We were expecting a stress-free vacation with a great mix of art, history, sun, sand and shopping…to just enjoy what came along.
We were that, until before we reached the city.
I can’t help but feel a huge sense of regret for picking Barna, and self-pity for the loss of vacation days and money.
We arrived closed to midnight and checked into Hotel Sidorme, a 10-min cab ride away. It costed about 15Euros, so we decided we might take the train to the city the next day. I was half-reluctant, since we had two huge luggages and I wasn’t sure how convenient the journey would be.
The room in Hotel Sidorme was nice, clean, and pretty large. We slept well and was so much looking forward to the great days ahead! It was overlooking the Vildecans station, making it really easy to commute. The only thing was, the train frequency was not that much – almost 40 mins apart.
We timed well, and got onto the platform.
Even if our luggages didn’t give us away, one could tell that we were clearly tourists – A pale white man with an Asian girl. Everybody else were probably Spaniards; you can tell they’ve around long enough to get that tanned glow.
The Turning Point
Train came, I carried my luggage up onto the train, with slight struggle. I spied two empty seats and went straight for it. Nikolaj was in the midst of the crowd, and I heard “Gracias, gracias.”
Why did they not help me? I thought it was slightly weird, since I was a girl, and my luggage was bigger than his.
He came and we settled into the seats. Nikolaj said, it was a good way to see the city on the train.
Two stops later, he noticed his pocket was very light.
His wallet was not there anymore. Credit cards, driver’s licence, 300Euros and other cards. It was those two guys that helped him with the luggage!
This can’t be it! We hadn’t even started our holiday proper. Now we have to start with canceling cards, and going to the police station. I felt my head burn.
I’ve long heard about the infamous pickpockets of Barcelona. 5 out of 6 people I’ve spoken about Barcelona before, have told me they got pickpocketed. How could I not have thought about it, or even warned Nikolaj? I felt so bad.
I immediately tightened the knots on my bag, and made sure my belongings were intact.
When exiting the station at Passeig de Gracia, an officer (on hearing about our loss) told us there were many criminals in the stations, and we should report this.
Many others like us
We went to the police station at Plaza de Catalunya. There were many waiting. Mostly non-locals. So much that they even have two translators sitting in there, to help tourists like us to write the first draft of the report.
After speaking to the translator, we waited 2 hours………..
During that time, at least another 4 or 5 groups came in to lodge their reports…….
Similar stories, putting wallets or phones into their bags, and then realised they weren’t there anymore.
There was this mom with a toddler and a pram, came in crying and looked a mess, and loss. She was speaking in Spanish, but I could make that she lost her phone, and probably cash and cards as well.
I WAS DISGUSTED.
How can they also steal from a mother with a kid?!?
Then the drama.
An officer came out and told accompanying family and friends to leave.
Sure, I’d understand if they had more than 2 people and it was getting noisy.
I said that I was alone, and didn’t know anyone outside. I didn’t feel safe outside.
He shrugged his shoulders. And we were told we could report that elsewhere if we didn’t want to wait.
Fine. We left.
I WAS BOILING. It just didn’t feel like they wanted to do their job! Were they pressuring us to leave so that they have lesser cases to report? Yea, that’s right, the number of people coming into the station were just growing by the minute, and you’d just hope to take less cases.
And that was the start of how expectancy became disappointed became anger and paranoia for the whole Barcelona trip.
We just didn’t feel like we want to contribute to the Spanish economy anymore.
It doesn’t help that weeks before I just watched this documentary about child trafficking in Spain, and the government’s reluctance to investigate further. (“Lawyers believe that up to 300,000 babies were taken.”)