After the theft of Ali’s purse, we embarked on Plan B and set off to Barcelona via Renfe’s 3+hr train.
A reality TV worthy moment occurred as we ambled down the cobblestone alley to a larger avenue to find a cab. I spied one at the very end of the road and waved like a monkey. Seeing him stop and not wanting to lose our opportunity I increased my pace.
I’m traveling with two wheeled bags, one sits quite nicely on top of the other. This, however, leads to some balance issues. The wheel of the larger bag caught and toppled sideways taking me with it. At this point I have one hand on the bag and the other arching straight up in the air as I try to keep from landing on my ass.
Momentum is a bitch at times. The bags came to a rest on their sides and I continued over the top of them. Don’t worry! I made it! Ha! I was straddling the bags, but managed not to lose my vertical position in the world. Thinking all was good, I yanked the bags to an upright position only to have that damn momentum kick in again taking the smaller bag over the top to the other side. Once again the whole kit and Kaboodle took me with them and off I went in the other direction. This one nearly got the best of me, but I managed to keep my footing. At this point a passerby took pity on me and, laughing together at the absurdity of the scene, we righted everything and I made it to the taxi with only a few bruises on my knees (and pride) to show for it.
I do wish I had that on film. Little did I know it was nothing compared to the rain-drenched fiasco awaiting us in Ibiza a week later. You’ll have to stay tuned for that adventure.
I’ve been on Renfe and AVE trains and both are fine. The high speed AVE is great. Trains are generally a good way to travel, especially when your bag weighs more than you do. I got a lot of work done on that ride. And the views of the coast as we approached Barcelona were drool-worthy! So much to explore in this world!
We arrived a little after three on a cloudy Sunday. Nothing to do but wander so we decided to cab it to Las Ramblas. Easier said than done. The Airbnb was literally the only one I could find south of one-hundred dollars a night, and it wasn’t south. It was spot on. Not a good location for sightseeing.
Uber said it was unavailable in the area even though a friend of Ali’s said it worked fine for him. After taxi hunting awhile it began to rain. We sought shelter and a drink in a little Mexican hole that had amazing looking food. Ali was set on better fare somewhere on Ramblas so I found a taxi app and got it working while the rain stopped.
Mission accomplished, we started strolling the main avenue of Las Ramblas.
We ended up in a place I’d never go on my own just before the heavens opened up. It was a deluge, the street and sidewalks turned to rivers. As it turned out, the NBA Cafe was brilliant! We had a seat at the window upstairs and throughly enjoyed all the humans (and many pets) dashing by to get out of the rain. A lot of them failed spectacularly and looked like they’d just stepped from a pool.
We both ordered salads and they were a real surprise. Healthy and delish beyond compare. Who knew?
The real gem of the area to me wasn’t the main boulevard, it was the side streets on the north! A delight of twisted alleys rife with shops of every kind, and Tapas everywhere! I live for those places and spaces!
The following day it was off to the US Consulate for a new passport.
That was an interesting experience, if also one I hope never to repeat. In my naivety I figured I’d work on my blog sitting in some waiting room somewhere while Ali did the Let’s-Get-A-New-Passport dance with the local US officials.
That didn’t work out. You’re greeted at the entryway by heavily armed men. Ali had a photo of her passport fortunately so we gained access quickly.
No work was to be done as you have to turn off all electronics and put everything into a cubby for later collection. This after being scanned. We were directed out the back door and across a lot to a larger building. From there it was a brief chat with a woman behind glass and a handful of forms to fill out.
The room was tiny and bare. Three rows of six or seven chairs were filled with fellow victims. All but one. Ali needed that one, and I’d be useless anyway, so left her to dance and returned to the security building. I was able to retrieve my phone and laptop but there were no seats.
The guards were kind enough to point out a little ledge outside. Making due with what I had, I set up shop and got to work on the blogs for Madrid and Valencia. #gettingshitdone
The internet sucked so I couldn’t get to my website, but good old Scrivener to the rescue. I do love this app. If you write at all, you need it in your life. I brought my laptop intending to make use of the time, but in a pinch I can access my work from my iPad and even my iPhone if needed. Good stuff. Check it out here.
I stood right next to the window where you gain entry. A constant stream of poor humans arrived with tales of crime and thievery. One guy said it was stolen from his hotel room! Ouch. I wish I’d asked where he was staying. So, use the room safes if they have them.
Another woman and her husband lost everything from Starbucks. I’m thinking, ‘why would you go to an American icon like that when you’re in Barcelona?’ Ha. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself in London, but although I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words at Senior Starbucks, I try to avoid them when possible while abroad.
Ali emerged just shy of two hours later, and she had stories to tell. What a draining experience.
One group of tourists were “Pigioned.” Delightful, it even has a name. They were standing outside their hotel getting things into a taxi when the woman got shit upon by what must have been an exceedingly large pigeon. Poop all over her lovely blouse. As they scurried to get her sorted, her bag with passport etc. was lifted away by the asshats trying to make a living.
And that’s the thing. The vast majority of these crimes aren’t violent. They don’t want to hurt people, they’re just making a living on the wrong side of the tracks. There was one little Asian woman who was pushed to the ground and her bag yanked from her hands, but that was the only one we heard of that had a physical component.
Doesn’t make it right, but in this day, with our extreme wealth and ever advancing technology, humans shouldn’t have to slave away in order to survive. It’s a very unbalanced world we live in but that’s a topic for another day.
This kind of robbery happens all the time. A sad commentary, and a reminder for the need for vigilance. Always keep an eye on your stuff.
The consulate is a pretty well-oiled machine. People go in. They come out a while later to get their photos taken in the security building, they go away again and emerge in a little over two hours with a new passport.
After Ali had her passport in hand, we squirreled it away at the flat and headed to the Beachwalk area.
We had a feast with a view at Barraca. Go there. ‘Nuf said.
If you want a cool place with amazing decor and chance for a massage to die for, go to Carpi Diem.
As I said, this was an emergency stop. Tiny beds crammed into three small rooms, but maxed out for 6-8 people. That would be one hell of a crowd.
The following day we took a flight to Ibiza to get back on our original path. The next in my nomad series is out of order: Perception and Wardrobe Malfunctions: Marseille France. If you want to skip straight to Ibiza, go here: Ibiza and the Airbnb with a Whip.
I invite you to come with me while I explore! Sign up for my blog at SabinePriestley.com
I’m Sabine Priestley, an electrical engineer and author of Science Fiction Romance novels (yes, that kind of novel). I am a dreamer and a chaser of magic. Fluent in sarcasm.
Officially nomad as of June 1st, everything I own is in a 10’x10’ storage in Florida. It’s never too late to chase your dreams, and after a recent divorce, I’ve decided to hunt those dreams down and make them real. I’m looking for home.