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Be very careful in Barcelona

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I had mixed emotions as to whether or not to post this, because I don't want to unnecessarily frighten people,  but I think if it prevents what happened to me, from happening to someone else, it's  worth it. 

You need to be more than vigilant in Spain than you think. Last Sunday morning at about 6:30am, we went to a coffee shop next door to our Hotel. As I walked out of the cafe, two young males came up to me, one went behind and one in front of me. He leaned towards me and said something to me in Spanish, I replied "English only",   when he ripped off my gold chain from around my neck and the two of them took off running. It happened so fast it was unbelievable. They were gone before I knew it. So it's not just a matter of zipping up your purse or carrying your bag over your shoulder. These punks will do anything now, including what amounts to assault, in my mind, so be more than careful. Don't carry ANYTHING or wear ANYTHING you want to keep.

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Unfortunately Spain, Barcelona in particular, is notorious for pick pockets and other thieves. 

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I tell my wife never to wear any experience jewelry in major ports/cities because of pick pockets.  Necklaces are a no-no.

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Unfortunately the OP experience is u inquest to  Barcelona.  Last month DH had his glasses taken from his backpack while we were walking up to our hotel in Santiago, Chile. Last spring our friend has his wallet taken in Rome ( no it wasn’t in his back pocket).  

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Unpleasant as this experience undoubtedly was, you were not physically harmed. As someone living on this side of the pond who hears horrible things about knife and gun crime in the US - what are the chances of being mugged - because that's what it seems to have been - in the US without being physically harmed also?

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15 hours ago, above sea level cruiser said:

 when he ripped off my gold chain from around my neck

 

Hidden or on display?  How did they know you had a gold chain around your neck?

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11 hours ago, sailing canary said:

Unpleasant as this experience undoubtedly was, you were not physically harmed. As someone living on this side of the pond who hears horrible things about knife and gun crime in the US - what are the chances of being mugged - because that's what it seems to have been - in the US without being physically harmed also?

First of all, I'm not from the US. And yes, things could have gone horribly wrong. My post was simply to make others aware of what happens ALL OVER Europe apparently, and its just taken in stride. Mind boggling to say the least.

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1 hour ago, above sea level cruiser said:

Thank you. Not looking for traffic. Just want make people extremely aware of what could and did happen to me so that they are really really diligent. 

Lol really?  Posts 3, 7, 11, 14, and 15 indicate otherwise.

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Thank you for posting this, above sea level cruiser. We’ve been to Barcelona in the past (and loved it!) and will be there again soon.  It’s a good reminder that while we’re all advised to be mindful of pickpockets in Barcelona - and other touristy cities - it’s not only pickpockets we need to be careful about!   Thanks!  

 

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Sorry this happened to you and grateful that you posted your story.   Its very easy to say that one should be aware of your surroundings but I had an incident happen in Spain a few years ago where I was totally oblivious even though I had heard about this tactic. We were in Palma de Mallorca and waiting at the bus stop. Only a handful of people waiting with us. As soon as the bus pulled up, a crowd of "Friendly" men showed up and were standing around the bus entrance. They enthusiastically opened up a wee bit of space and gestured for us to enter before them. What a bunch of nice Spaniards!  I was the lead as I had the money for the group I was with. I did not have anything in my pockets. As I squeezed through the crowd, a women sitting at the bus gestured to my brother in law by pointing to her eye. He knew what she meant and whispered to others to hang on to their stuff. As my father in law put his hand in his pocket, one of these fine citizens put their hand in his pocket. Looks exchanged and the crowd dispersed. On the bus, I was told of this and as mentioned, I was totally clueless even though I had heard of this. Thankfully nothing was taken from our group.

 

Going to Barcelona next year for a few days before hopping on the Allure. Will be mindful that bad things like this can happen on vacation and will do our best not to be a target.

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Thanks for posting this. I'm am so anxious about this when take my first trip to Barcelona and Italy in Aug. I am very friendly in nature and my bf has already warned my that I can't go talking to everyone like I do back home. He on the other hand is the exact opposite and doesn't think he needs to take precaution bc he's "very" aware of his surroundings and the first person who gets near him is gonna get punched in the face. I'm sure somewhere in between the two of us lies the mentality of where we need to be. 🙂

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16 hours ago, BobbyOrr said:

Sorry this happened to you and grateful that you posted your story.   Its very easy to say that one should be aware of your surroundings but I had an incident happen in Spain a few years ago where I was totally oblivious even though I had heard about this tactic. We were in Palma de Mallorca and waiting at the bus stop. Only a handful of people waiting with us. As soon as the bus pulled up, a crowd of "Friendly" men showed up and were standing around the bus entrance. They enthusiastically opened up a wee bit of space and gestured for us to enter before them. What a bunch of nice Spaniards!  I was the lead as I had the money for the group I was with. I did not have anything in my pockets. As I squeezed through the crowd, a women sitting at the bus gestured to my brother in law by pointing to her eye. He knew what she meant and whispered to others to hang on to their stuff. As my father in law put his hand in his pocket, one of these fine citizens put their hand in his pocket. Looks exchanged and the crowd dispersed. On the bus, I was told of this and as mentioned, I was totally clueless even though I had heard of this. Thankfully nothing was taken from our group.

 

Going to Barcelona next year for a few days before hopping on the Allure. Will be mindful that bad things like this can happen on vacation and will do our best not to be a target.

Thank you for your reply. I don't think that Europe is dangerous to the point that we all need to be afraid. We don't. I simply tried to point out that it IS very different from what most of us North Americans are used to. I too, was warned about what could happen and it did. It happened so fast it was unbelievable. Didn't ruin our cruise, I was just flabbergasted to be honest. The point of my original post was to make people extremely aware. Here in Canada, strangers will talk to strangers. Difference is, everyone gets to keep their stuff. LOL

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3 hours ago, erby2283 said:

Thanks for posting this. I'm am so anxious about this when take my first trip to Barcelona and Italy in Aug. I am very friendly in nature and my bf has already warned my that I can't go talking to everyone like I do back home. He on the other hand is the exact opposite and doesn't think he needs to take precaution bc he's "very" aware of his surroundings and the first person who gets near him is gonna get punched in the face. I'm sure somewhere in between the two of us lies the mentality of where we need to be. 🙂

Don't be anxious, just be very aware. Just be mindful that if a stranger approaches and strikes up a conversation (especially if there is more than one) you need to be even more careful. As for our trip, It was by FAR the best we have ever been on. Palma de Mallorca, Rome, La Spezia, Naples.....all fantastic. We also went to the island of Capri by jetboat. Capri is the nicest place we have ever ever been to, in my opinion. Tell your BF to keep his cool. I'm not sure, but I've heard that punching out a pick pocketer (which, here in America would likely be OK, might get you in a bit of trouble with the local authorities over there. Anyway, don't worry too much and have a fantastic time.

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19 hours ago, hun said:

Thank you for posting this, above sea level cruiser. We’ve been to Barcelona in the past (and loved it!) and will be there again soon.  It’s a good reminder that while we’re all advised to be mindful of pickpockets in Barcelona - and other touristy cities - it’s not only pickpockets we need to be careful about!   Thanks!  

 

You're welcome. I hope you enjoy your next trip there. It is truly beautiful, as is all of the Mediterranean. Despite what happened, it was actually the best cruise we have ever had. The food was to die for. It tastes NOTHING like we are used to, so fresh, so clean, no preservatives. We absolutely loved it. If you get the chance to go to Capri, GO! It is how the rich in Hollywood live times 1000. One of the hotels we walked past was apparently $30 Grand a night! It was simply the best holiday ever. I hope you have a fantastic time there again.

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19 hours ago, erby2283 said:

Thanks for posting this. I'm am so anxious about this when take my first trip to Barcelona and Italy in Aug. I am very friendly in nature and my bf has already warned my that I can't go talking to everyone like I do back home. He on the other hand is the exact opposite and doesn't think he needs to take precaution bc he's "very" aware of his surroundings and the first person who gets near him is gonna get punched in the face. I'm sure somewhere in between the two of us lies the mentality of where we need to be. 🙂

 

We were walking near the Cathedral (not the S.F.) in Barcelona and DW thought that a woman was getting too close to my camera bag (slash proof strap, cross body and locked zippers) so she moved between us.  The woman turned around and said "I am not going to rob you".  Maybe it was an act but she was insulted that we saw her as a possible thief.

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Spent Sunday thru Thursday post cruise in Barcelona.  We took a taxi to our hotel, got let off 1 block away, cabbie didn't want to enter Gothic Quarter "pedestrian" street.  About 3/4 of the block down, I felt something wet hit my hand - I was thinking bird crap.  Then I realized there was some on my back.  I put down my shoulder bag and opened my suitcase to get a clean tee, and while I changed shirts, someone swiped my shoulder bag (meds, camera, binoculars, kindle, phone).

 

We later met a couple who had chocolate brown stains on the backs of their shirts.  Seems like one person throws something at you from behind, another comes in to help offer to clean with tissues or water, and a 3rd makes off with whatever he can during the distraction.

 

We immediately cancelled phone and kindle service and changed amazon password as well.  I was able to get a 60 day supply of Eliquis in a pharmacia for about 108 euros, much cheaper then my insurance at home charges me.  We checked into our hotel and went on a walking tour that afternoon, couldn't let this incident destroy our stay - but our chances of returning to Barcelona are nil.

 

We had been aware of Barcelona's pickpocket rep and watched some youtube videos on pickpocket methods but didn't see this method portrayed.  Maybe our experience can help others become more aware?

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43 minutes ago, evandbob said:

Spent Sunday thru Thursday post cruise in Barcelona.  We took a taxi to our hotel, got let off 1 block away, cabbie didn't want to enter Gothic Quarter "pedestrian" street.  About 3/4 of the block down, I felt something wet hit my hand - I was thinking bird crap.  Then I realized there was some on my back.  I put down my shoulder bag and opened my suitcase to get a clean tee, and while I changed shirts, someone swiped my shoulder bag (meds, camera, binoculars, kindle, phone).

 

We later met a couple who had chocolate brown stains on the backs of their shirts.  Seems like one person throws something at you from behind, another comes in to help offer to clean with tissues or water, and a 3rd makes off with whatever he can during the distraction.

 

We immediately cancelled phone and kindle service and changed amazon password as well.  I was able to get a 60 day supply of Eliquis in a pharmacia for about 108 euros, much cheaper then my insurance at home charges me.  We checked into our hotel and went on a walking tour that afternoon, couldn't let this incident destroy our stay - but our chances of returning to Barcelona are nil.

 

We had been aware of Barcelona's pickpocket rep and watched some youtube videos on pickpocket methods but didn't see this method portrayed.  Maybe our experience can help others become more aware?

So sorry this happened to you but good for you for not letting it ruin your vacation.  I've pretty much resigned myself to not taking a backpack with me anywhere in Europe like I normally do in the Caribbean and just carry a crossbody purse (need to find a good slash proof/pick pocket proof one).

 

  Yes, I have heard that "bird poop" is their new tactic. Knowing about the tactic and remembering when it's  happening to you are two different things....

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Sadly, They’ve been using the bird poop for years!   Our hotel even gave us a list of the current scams.  Just don’t wear any showy jewellery and PLEASE use a money belt.   Slash proof bags and back packs can and are taken.  On one cruise out of Barcelona at least a dozen people lost passports and the garbages were full of new bags. Now that can ruin your holiday.    

With your passport and money under your clothes around your waist they are very safe. Just don’t wear  a string  around your neck. 

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I'm considering buying a cheap "decoy" wallet for our upcoming stay in Barcelona, storing it in my back pocket and filling it with quotes from either the Bible or Don Rickles... 

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Not a bad idea, we carry a throwaway with no more than enough euros to buy a snack etc.  That way our trip would not be ruined. It was pickpocketed from DH in Sicily but he grabbed the guy and got it back!  

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On 5/17/2019 at 5:16 PM, bennybear said:

Sadly, They’ve been using the bird poop for years!   Our hotel even gave us a list of the current scams.  Just don’t wear any showy jewellery and PLEASE use a money belt.   Slash proof bags and back packs can and are taken.  On one cruise out of Barcelona at least a dozen people lost passports and the garbages were full of new bags. Now that can ruin your holiday.    

With your passport and money under your clothes around your waist they are very safe. Just don’t wear  a string  around your neck. 

Just curious,  why not around your neck?  I purchased a couple for my kids.  They typically keep their phones in their front pockets.  I thought the slashproof lanyard would be good for them and they could put their passports in it too.

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2 hours ago, samavarcruiser said:

Being careful is enough, just like any other big city!

 

Yes! And the chance of gun crime is negligible, unlike some other places.

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10 hours ago, susanrobert said:

Just curious,  why not around your neck?  I purchased a couple for my kids.  They typically keep their phones in their front pockets.  I thought the slashproof lanyard would be good for them and they could put their passports in it too.

Because often they can be seen.  What you want is your valuables to be hidden.  And you don’t want something someone can grab around your neck!

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21 hours ago, VMax1700 said:

 

Yes! And the chance of gun crime is negligible, unlike some other places.

 

🙂

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