I do not have a clear idea on what to write here (yet?), nor do I have a very big audience (yet? 🙂 ), but my plan was to write a mix of everything connected to my life, my ideas and my thoughts. This cannot exclude the place I live in and that is Barcelona, for almost 4 years now.
However, regarding B, I was very determined to write nice things, about not so known spots, different ideas for people visiting, glimpses of the unknown face of this amazing city. I feel that the Internet is hugely saturated with very common to do lists about this city and I was just planning to give a special scent to the vast Internet “literature” on Barcelona.
I was focused on the positive, beautiful aspects and I still am very determined to ignore, at least when possible, the challenges one faces when living here.
As usual, a very big blablabla to get to my point., I guess that won´t help building a bigger audience 🙂 The point is that I shall interrupt my usual Sunday in Barcelona posts (you can re-read the ones already published, for brunch, good coffee, monasteries or Montjuic plans) for a day-to-day advice when in Barcelona.
I feel that this is not addressed enough when one searches for information prior to travelling, so I just need to put it out here, maybe it helps someone.
No other way to say it but directly: In Barcelona (as is the case for all the big tourist spots), there is a large gathering of thieves, capable of stealing anything and everything.
I sometimes think that there must be a permanent Commission of pickpockets here, because at least every week I see one stealing, I hear that someone got robbed or I notice them on the streets.
A combination of nonchalant tourists, high robbery skills (I think they only accept the highly skilled, exceptional ones to the Comission here….) and very flexible laws (meaning nothing really happens to them if they do get caught) led to a small little jungle in the metro, but not only.
I think that we are all responsible for this situation and I strongly believe that if we all reacted more promptly they would not be so bold. On the other hand, it is difficult to react, because it is obviously normal to feel fear, therefore we got to this point. I think it is crazy!
Yesterday, I saw with my own eyes a couple (very well-dressed, they just looked like “normal” tourists) trying to steal something from a girl´s backpack while going down the stairs at a metro station. That is frequent! I shouted, but I am not sure if that helped, because they instantly went the other way.
In the Picasso museum area and generally in the Gotic area you have to pay a lot of attention, because they steal and run and with the small streets around there and the generalized lack of action from people (I do not blame them, because it can be dangerous to try to stop them, I know cases where “rescuers” got injured. I am just saying that generally we all tend to not react as strongly as it would maybe be useful) they get lost quickly.
While buying metro tickets, especially in the very “touristy” stations, such as Drassanes , Sagrada Familia or Placa Catalunya, you need to pay extra-attention because there are ALWAYS “pickpocketing entrepeneurs” there trying to steal from you. The place is crowded, people are just trying to decide what ticket to buy, there is money needed for payment, of course, so the scenario is just perfect for them, unfortunately.
Obviously, they are always at the beach. Think about that next time you leave your money around your towel and smart phone while you take just a “quick” bath.
So I have some pieces of wisdom 🙂 from my own personal observational study:
- I know you´ll feel the need to just look to the sky, the amazing Barcelona buildings, the beautiful shops, the awesome sights, I do not blame you. But please, oh please, also try to look a bit around. Don´t let your backpack flowing around where you cannot see it, don´t put your mobile in the outside pockets, just be vigilant. Of course, you shouldn´t become scared and not enjoy the city, but just be careful, common sense does wonders.
- If someone comes close to you, generally with a jacket put on his-her arm in the middle of the sauna that is Barcelona in August, just politely (or blantly) ignore them while grabbing firmly your purse, backpack, phone, whatever you have of value. There is most certainly someone trying to steal something from you. Now I don´t say that you should completely avoid talking to people while you´re here, but please, just be careful!
- Just avoid having large sums of money with you. Also, please try to grasp firmly your precious smart phone and don´t get lost in the Facebook feed, because you convert yourself in a very easy target.
- If you see something of this type, quickly evaluate and decide if it is safe enough to act. Otherwise, just call 112. You can also follow “Mossos” on Facebook or Twitter, they provide useful information. Also, there are messages alerting the presence of pickpockets in the metro, for instance (in many languages, so you´ll get it 🙂 ). Nobody ever listens carefully to them, but we definitely should!
I realize this post is not very poetic or maybe not even interesting. Some might think that what I wrote was obvious. And it is, but reminders don´t hurt.
It is just meant to scare you (yes, you read that right! 🙂 ) and lead to more attention and action. Now, it can happen to any of us and we should not become extra-anxious, but I am disappointed when I see the same pickpockets in the same places, only with new victims. It is your holiday, so you should enjoy it, not cry around because you have no money left or no phone to Instagram the awesome places you can see around here. Just be careful and safe!
P.s. Barcelona is generally a safe place….and I know it is not the biggest tragedy if you get robbed. On the other hand, from my experience, it really messes with everything, so I think it is important to be alert!
There are also other small “dangers”, maybe I´ll detail them in another post.
Have a nice Sunday and a great next week! For me it is the last one before the summer holiday! Yuhuu!