A dumb thing we did in Barcelona

Bad news, good news, more bad news and then some good news. And lots of lessons.

Everything they say about Barcelona is true.

It’s beautiful. The Gaudi buildings are amazing. The food is delicious. The people are gracious and polite.

You should be super, super careful about pickpockets.

Guess which happened to me? That’s right. 2 New Yorkers went to Spain and did the stupidest things imaginable. We stood in a train station poring over a smartphone trying to connect to Wi Fi and maps. One of us was supposed to be watching luggage, but maybe he didn’t realize that was his job. Anyway, when all that looking and lost-in-thought stuff was over, I saw that 1 of the bags was gone.

My bag.

There is bad news and good news. The good news: My passport was in my suitcase (not the bag). The bad: wallet, credit card, bank card, driver’s license were in my bag. Even though I’m incensed about this, it’s more — why did I even have it with me? Lesson learned. Clean out your wallet and don’t take anything you’re not going to use. 
 So long, newish possessions

Also bad: a brand-new iPad mini. I hadn’t even had it long enough to really miss it when it was taken.

But then some good news: I bought the iPad with a credit card. And my husband, who felt really really REALLY bad about the handbag, said, “Don’t credit card companies sometimes offer protection for stolen items?” Lesson: Know your credit card benefits.

It turns out they do. We use a Visa card, and a little Googling said Visa Signature offers this protection. I felt sad because we don’t have a Visa Signature card. But then by some wonderful piece of luck, it turned out that we do have a Visa Signature. I never really paid much attention to the type of Visa card, just that it was Visa, and tied to a rewards program. (I couldn’t check my card to see this because it was stolen. Ironic.)

¿Quánto tiempo mas?

You could call spending time in a Spanish police station a cultural experience. We did it because we needed the police report for the credit card company.

The Barcelona police station was busy. Adiós, 3 hours of vacation time. Lesson: Carry a charging cord at all times. In case you’re stuck in a police station and your phone is dying.

Bad news again: Visa Signature wouldn’t replace the iPad because it was a refurb from the Apple Store. “Only new items,” they said.

But good news from Apple: a full refund on the $99 AppleCare plan, because they really do care. Both Apple staffers were very sympathetic, and I got the refund by check (including tax!) within a week.

More lessons

· Don’t stand around train stations looking like you don’t know where you’re going, even when you don’t. Have a plan.

· One person should be the lookout and keep a sharp eye on the bags.

· Keep your passport in an extremely safe place.

· Sandwich smaller bags between larger ones.

· If possible, go into a store where there’s a chance you’ll be more protected from pickpockets.

Don’t let a lost wallet ruin your trip. Minimize the damage as much as possible and move on. We still had a wonderful time in a fantastic city, and met wonderful people — including the folks at the Barcelona lost & found, and the always patient officers at the police station.

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