This time I’m going to share a story without a happy ending. Sometimes we do have nightmares, and I lived mine in September 2016 when my DSLR camera was stolen in Barcelona on the last day of our trip from right underneath our noses.
Well it wasn’t all horror, since my best friend and I just had a great 7 night Mediterranean Disney cruise on the Disney Magic. That full story I’ll will share on an other time. But we spend some time before and after the cruise in the city too. Our last full day before we took a train journey back home was the 19th of September 2016, last day of shopping and sightseeing in the city. We saved some highlights for the last moment and started of by Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada família and walked passed Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. Did a little bit of shopping and explored some more. We ended up walking past MUHBA Santa Catarina with it’s interesting roof and thought it was time to take a seat at the nearby Starbucks for some rest.
We were pretty tired, my friend took a seat, we threw our bags on the chairs and table and I went to get some drinks for us both. When I had made our order I looked towards my friend and just saw a woman tapping her shoulder and talking to her in Spanish. She was like: “wtf”, and told her she didn’t speak Spanish at all but the woman kept on talking and talking. In that time a friend of her reached over the small separation wall of about 1,10m high and took my camera that was on the table hidden between our shopping bags from that day. The woman kept on talking just as long as she needed to distract my friend, and afterwards she was looking at me like: “what has happened here?” (We assume it went this way when we think back of the moment)
At that time, we didn’t even had a clue what happened. We were tires from walking and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee. But when we wanted to leave about 30 minutes later we realized what had happened. The employees of starbucks helped us with telling us where we could find a police station and a girl even tried if she could get access to the security tapes to print out a picture, but she failed in that process.
When we reached the police station I pretty much was numbed. I felt… empty and I lost my dearest possession including all of our pictures from the last 10 days and my favorite wide angle lens. With help of a translator, we got to fill in a form to let them know what happened. And in the wait process there it fully hit me and I broke down in tears. Feeling stupid because it’s something that can be replaced, and I nor my friend were hurt, yet the emotional value is so high for me. (I got that camera for my birthday in 2011 after many people told me and my parents I have an eye for photography)
In that police station, we saw many people come and go. Loads had their phones taken away from them, but the story of 2 American men we talked to will keep in my mind too. They had rented a car coming from the airport, had to stop to replace a flat tire, and while they were doing that, some people took everything from their car. Including their passports. So their holiday could start with a trip to the embassy the next day. All they had left where their phones and a visa card.
Now the police there didn’t do a thing. They get in file after file, and my honest opinion of Spanish police is… they just don’t care. I provided a full description of my camera, serial numbers included, the room we were in, my friend described the woman and on top of that we told them it all had to be on tape cause we were in the viewing area of a security camera of starbucks. But they don’t care. And they care even less for those that don’t speak Spanish. They get in crime after crime, 90% would be little stuff, so more than just a report isn’t coming out of there since Barcelona is pretty well known about having a high number of pickpockets around. We left the police station with some papers, grabbed something to eat and went to the hotel to pack. I made up my mind that moment that I will return to Barcelona… but just to board on a Disney cruise again and just 1 day in the city to redo some of the visits we’d done and capture the views again. A full on citytrip only in Barcelona would be a pass for me.
Although I now have a new camera, it’s still a story I share with a heavy heart. Yes that camera and lens were my most valuable possessions, but those pictures that were on the card… We can never get them back any more. I cried so many tears about them already, or wanting to share some fun memories I got on picture with everyone, and not being able to do that cause the picture is not in my possession any more. It threw a dark shade over the whole trip, and I pray that moments like this, aren’t a dream away for me any more! Or for any one of you! That’s why I also want to share these tips I learned from this all:
– store your serial numbers of your devices/ IMEI number of your phone on multiple locations, but make sure to at least add 1 cloud service. This allows you to reach those important numbers anywhere you are.
– back up… in this story I lost all my pictures because I didn’t backed them up on the go while I had the equipment with me to back up! I wanted to test out the capacity of my memory card, not thinking before about what if I lose stuff. So I learned the hard way, please don’t make the same mistake.
– never ever let your guard down. How tired you may be. Not all crimes happen on the street but inside when you think you’re safe too. Be careful who to trust, but don’t go hiding into bunkers either. You’re on a holiday and want to see the local culture as well.
I do hope you all keep my story in mind and don’t have to go through a similar situation. If anyone ever had something stolen on a trip and wants to share it, please do so, so we can all learn and be more aware from each others experiences.
Main picture by corporatetravelsafety.com . Their blog also shares more tips on how to be aware for pickpocketing and scams you can find while travelling.