TRAVELLERS BE WARNED

 
Robbers hit a friend of the club.
 
Jeanette Lynch of Keilor Rotary Club, has been a stalwart on District level on Friendship Exchanges, and has facilitated some great exchanges for our own club’s members.
 
She now reports a rotten experience for herself and husband Michael in Barcelona on Saturday Feb. 15.
 
“At 10.30am we leave the hotel and walk up to the Hop On - Hop Off bus, this time it is a 15min walk.
Splat bird droppings on us...or so we thought...then in all the confusion a man appears, starts wiping it off and you would think that we would have been switched on and told him where to go, in no time we realize he has removed my bag from across my body and ran off...I yell "Police" a lady comes with her phone and rings the Police, they arrive within minutes. Luckily one spoke good English. We went back to the hotel to clean up. My hotel key was in my bag, so we quickly had new ones reissued.  Poor Michael had his never worn, Ralph Lauren shirt on, pale yellow, turns out the thief had thrown a mixture of chocolate over us.
 
So no photos today as my camera was in my new Hedgren bag, along with my brand new Sennheiser Head phones,  a couple of lipsticks, medicine etc  The mongrel tried to pull my ring off my finger, rings will now stay in the hotel safe.
 
We then walked to the Police station, 30 mins away. They told us there was a 90 min wait until we can lodge our report. They have asked us to come back at 10am in the morning...more wasted time.
 
We got on the bus and did a circuit and came back to the hotel.  We did not want to be out as evening was rapidly approaching. Michael’s brand new shirt back from cleaning, but the chocolate has set a permanent stain by the looks, all down the back.  Will see if they can have another go.  It was $15 to get it washed.  $45 to get 2 shirts and a pair of cargo pants washed.
 
We are so cross with ourselves for getting caught out, as we know that this is one of their ploys. I think that we were just so relaxed and maybe because we have never encountered anything like this before, we were lulled into a false sense of security. Apparently the crimes against tourists are extremely high here. Looking forward to leaving Barcelona in 3 days time.
 
It could have been worse as the guy did not use violence.   Also I did not have my wallet so he did not get any cash, cards or passports.  Mind you we had eyes in the back of our heads on the way back to the hotel.
 
Some people we were with in Barcelona 18 months ago were robbed of money, passports and credit cards from a small bag the guy had on his chest. Another friend who I worked with goes to Barcelona each year to a mobile engineering conference has been subjected to an attempted robbery by the same person two years in a row!
 
Apparently another scam is puncturing tyres of cars with foreign plates...keeping our fingers crossed as we have French plates on our lease car.   If you have a look at trip adviser warnings, you would never come to Spain...we cannot wait to get out of here on Tues...worst part is that apparently the warnings are also for Seville and Valencia and that is where we are heading.
 
We are both feeling rather nervous...and we are such seasoned travellers. Guess we have just been so lucky in the past....lulls you into a false sense of security
 
Keep your fingers crossed for us!”
 
Another Rotarian, commiserating with Jeanette, wrote to her:
“Barcelona is a beautiful place but dangerous. I friend of mine was on the up escalator from the subway when thieves tried to grab his camera. When he resisted they pushed him backwards and he broke his spine.”