Barcelona, Spain

Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
1
15
Trip End Jun 21, 2010


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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Monday, June 7, 2010

Well, as our time is winding down, the group took one last trip together… From June 1st through the 5th, 11 of us went to Barcelona, Spain! In a way, for me, it was a bittersweet trip. I absolutely LOVED Spain, it was soo amazing. But with every good there comes a bad, right? Well unfortunately my amazing trip ended with a pick-pocketer stealing my wallet with all of my ID's, credit and debit cards, and cash. All of it is replaceable but it definitely wasn’t the ending I expected to such a great trip.

Well we didn’t fly out of Krakow until almost 10pm on the 1st and then from the airport it was about an hour and a half bus ride into Barcelona, then about an hour walk to our hostel, arriving there at about 4am!  The beginning actually started off a little frustrating as well because my debit card would not work, even though I had notified the bank before I left that I was going to be in Spain. Well as it all turned out, it was their fault. They made note on my account but never actually took the restriction off for Spain! Ugh, how frustrating! Anyway, got it all figured out and all was good!

The first day we took a free walking tour of the old part of Barcelona which was interesting because it definitely was something we wouldn’t have seen or found on our own. The rest of the day we walked around on our own just to get acquainted with the city.

The second day was probably the best day of the trip. For only 5 euro we rented bikes for the day! It was soo much fun! It was soo nice being able to go places soo quickly which allowed us to see soo much more in a day! We started off biking along the beach – Yep, I knew this was going to be a good day! Then we went through a beautiful park with some monuments and parliament, through the Arc de Triomf, pass the bull fighting monument, by La Sagrada Familia, and up to Guell Park. We parked our bikes here and walked around for a couple of hours. This park is all Gaudi architecture, and was absolutely beautiful! Just a little background for you – Antoni Gaudi was a famous architect and his work is admired all around the world as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles! It’s absolutely beautiful, as you will see in my pictures. He also forms mosaics in a lot of his work. After seeing all this and how beautiful it is has really made me love mosaics – just how you can make such beautiful designs out of tiny pieces of stone…I don’t know, it’s just soo amazing to me, I love it! On top of this, Guell Park had an AMAZING view of the city and the Sea! That evening we returned our bikes and went out for Monica’s birthday.

Friday we decided it was finally time to spend a day at the beach! First we stopped at La Boqueria, a HUGE farmer’s market! It was soo awesome, tons of fresh fruit, fish, meat, candy, and chocolate. It was a really cool place! So we got some fresh fruit and headed to the beach for the day. The beach was absolutely beautiful and it felt soo good just to lay out in the sun, something Poland hasn’t seen in WAY to long! I also quickly learned that public nudity in Spain is NOT illegal….haha!

So that evening we headed toward Monjuic and the Olympic Park. We took a sky lift thing up to Monjuic where there was a castle and had the most amazing view! It was getting to be about sunset so it wasn’t very crowded and I think it made the view that much more beautiful as well! Then we headed to the Olympic Park and to Palau Nacional (which I think was just a really big art museum!). From here we had a great view of the Magic Fountain for the 9:30pm showing. This was really neat because for about 2 hours they do a show every 15 minutes where they play music as the fountain is lit up in different colors and changes for water formations. It was still kind of light out when we saw it, so it would have been really neat when it was darker, but it was still pretty cool!

So then Saturday we had a few hours to get some souvenirs before he headed to the bus station to get to the airport. Unfortunately this is when I got pick-pocketed. We went down to the metro and waited a couple of minutes until it came. As it arrived I stood to the side of the door, letting everyone get off before we got on. Then as I went to get on someone ran on and stood right in front of me. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t have moved back because it wasn’t even crowed, but then she kind of started shoving me, not letting me get by her. Unfortunately she had me picked out before hand because she noticed I had my hands full. I had my luggage in one hand, a sack in the other, and my purse was over my shoulder, zipped shut and in front of me. I tried getting around her but she moved with me and kept shoving me. I was getting soo mad so I started shoving her back. I knew something was going on but at first I kind of glanced over my shoulder because I’ve heard that a lot of times pick-pockters work in teams, where one person distracts you as the other goes in, which is what I thought was happening at first. I couldn’t figure it out though so I shoved her back and finally got on the tram with the rest of the group, who saw and knew something was going on as well. So I got on and turned around to look at her again and the doors were starting to close which is when she darted out. That was immediately when we all knew what had happened. I looked down and my purse was open, wallet gone. I was in a total panic; no one knew what to do. She was a professional; she knew exactly what she was doing. She knew to wait until the doors were closing to leave so that no one could go after her. She had a sweater or something she was carrying so that I couldn’t see her hands. Well a guy on the tram over heard us talking about it and he was very nice and tried to help me. He showed me to the police station and helped translate for me, but it would have taken a half an hour to file a report and the bus we had to get on was leaving in 15 minutes. He even offered to file the report for me and then contact me if he heard anything, but the police would not let him. He told me this lady has done it hundreds of times and she really is a professional.

                As horrible as the situation was, I had to look at the bright side: I still had my passport, everything she had gotten was replaceable, and I didn’t get hurt. I was able to call home right away so that mom could cancel my credit and debit cards. I’m also very lucky that, if this had to happen, it happened now, four days before mom and dad would be getting here. I still had a little cash in Krakow, enough to get me by until they came. And my friends have all been great about it, everyone willing to let me barrow money or anything if I need to. Also, as one of my friends pointed out, it’s nice to know that with every horrible person out there, there is someone super nice, willing to help, just like that guy. He was willing to drop everything he was doing to help me out. He even made sure we found the right bus after we left the police station and shook my hand, wishing me luck. What a nice guy.

So here I am, two days after the incident, knowing that everything will be fine and can be replaced, but still have that scared, hollow feeling in my stomach. I know, it’s in the past, everything is ok now, but I just have that feeling of being violated. Sure I’m angry, no doubt about that, but more than anything I just feel soo violated. It just kind of stings yet to think about it.

BUT, now to get past that, I have to look forward to these last two weeks here! That’s right, I will be home in TWO WEEKS!! Mom and dad will be here in TWO DAYS to spend the rest of my time here with me! We will be spending a couple of days here in Krakow, then 3 nights in Prague, 3 nights in Vienna, and the last couple back here in Krakow. We will then fly out on June 21st and I will be back HOME!!! I’m soo excited! So this means that I probably won’t have time to update about my travels with mom and dad until I get home, so be sure to look for it again in 2 weeks!

See you all very soon!!

Love,

Chelsea
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