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Things to remember when visiting Barcelona!

1. Remember your passport even when travelling by land

When travelling to Barcelona for a weekend trip by bus from Montpellier in the south of France, my friend and I completely forgot that we were crossing a border and therefore needed to take our passports!!  Only realising our error when boarding the bus, we were faced with the decision of not going at all (in order to not hold up the rest of the group) or to go without our passports.  Whilst it might sound like a silly mistake to make, there were actually several people on the bus who had also forgotten their passports.  So off we set…

The guide who was accompanying us made various jokes on the way down about how we might be left at the border if our passports were inspected, so we were greatly relieved when the bus flew over the border with no questions asked.  We were a little more panicked though when the thought hit us that we had got into Spain… but might not be able to get out!


2. Keep hold of your wallet!

Having arrived safely in Barcelona, the guide gave us a 15-minute talk and physical demonstration on how you must keep your bag or valuables near to you at all times due to the many pick-pockets in Barcelona.  He showed us how to hold our bags and suggested where best to place your wallet.  Due to the masses of tourists that Barcelona attracts throughout the year, the constant bustle means that pick-pockets who make their living stealing from the tourists can usually go undetected.  I had heard of several cases in the past whereby people who I knew had had their belongings stolen from under their noses so I was rightfully wary. 

Thankfully I made it through the two days without having anything stolen.  Unfortunately the guide who had lectured us about the pick-pockets was not so lucky.  As we were just about to board the bus to go home, the guide realised that his wallet (which had been in the thigh pocket of his combat trousers) had been stolen.  Unfortunately for him, the wallet contained the money that we had all paid for the weekend trip (30 people), so one thief in Barcelona must have been delighted that day.  The guide believed that the wallet was stolen from him outside the Cathedral, in the Gothic quarter, as we had stopped to watch the entertainment outside the Cathedral.

Fortunately the guide’s sense of humour prevailed and on the journey home reminded those of us without passports that he would in fact be joining us stranded at the border if they checked the coach, as his identity card was stolen along with his wallet.     

Lesson 1: We got lucky and managed to get over the border twice without passports – it could, however, have been a completely different story had we been stopped!!

Lesson 2: If a worldly-wise guide (who is well aware of the dangers of thieves in Barcelona and who is constantly surrounded by 30 tourists) can be pick-pocketed, it can happen to anyone!!



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