Don’t go to Barcelona – unless you are very brave
Our weekend had its highlights (and these are all great web sites):
the amazing Casa Batlio
the Picasso Musuem
the Dali exhibition
But I have never been so happy to leave as city as I was yesterday afternoon.
Pickpockets and petty crime.
We had read all the web sites and were forewarned that carrying any personal possessions, credit cards, wallets, passports, cameras – in fact, even dressing like a foreigner, was an invitation to be robbed, scammed and mugged.
Even so, nothing prepared us for the overwhelming feeling of insecurity that pervades the place.
We were lucky – nothing stolen – largely because I had one credit card securely placed in my pocket and a small amount of petty cash.
There are no photographs because my camera, iPhone, wallet and passport stayed in the hotel safe.
The city is crawling with thieves, scammers and muggers. Nowhere is safe.
It seemed that every couple we engaged in conversation had been robbed, either on Las Ramblas, on the Metro, at restaurant tables, watching the Fountains, on the open-top tour buses – in fact just about everywhere.
Whenever anybody came within 4 feet of us, the senses were on guard and evasive action was taken.
It took me 24 hours to realise that I had been through this before – in New York in 1988, before Rudy Giuliani ordered the vagrants cleared off the streets.
I’m not going back to Barcelona unless there is a clear policy that removes the people who commit the crime – and I’d encourage you to stay away, unless you are very brave.