We woke up early to catch the train to Tarragona, a small beach town outside of Barcelona. The train was crowded with locals heading to the beach but luckily we got seats; we should have known on a Saturday this would be the case. The scenery on the way was gorgeous, I tried to photograph it but on a moving train with less than perfectly clean windows it was hard to get anything good.
Once we arrived we grabbed a map and headed towards the Ruins, which were an advertised attraction of the town. We ended up walking through the town in a backwards sort of way. Most little towns in Italy are like this too; they have a beautiful and well-kept old city in the center but on the outskirts of town it is more industrial and dirty. The smells were pretty awful and the heat only made it worse but we tried our best to give Tarragona a chance.
The center of town was better but the ruins smelled horrible. Sorry to offend any Tarragonians but we started to refer to it as ‘Spain’s litter box’ because there were all these stray cats (for some reason all most ruins have this, all the ones in Italy did too. The Coliseum in Rome, kittens galore) and it smelled like their toilet. However we were quite impressed with the agave plants, which were beautiful and gigantic!
The closer we got to the beach the better things got, and smelled. We went to the market in the center (which was not in the building it was supposed to be in as that was under renovation but still very busy and filled with locals and food). We bought some fruit then decided the beach was calling us and moved on.
On the way to the beach we went down Las Ramblas (like Barcelona has but much, much smaller) then to the Coliseum for some photos. I actually got yelled at (by the officials across the way in loud angry Spanish) because I stood on the edge but Megan got a photo first. Then we found a really amazing tree.
Finally we reached the beach, where we spent the rest of the day and also where I had my first topless experience. It was pretty liberating until I tried to go swimming and ended up getting quiet an audience while the waves thrashed me around. Then I realized most women sun topless but not many swim topless. At least I didn’t get sunburned; my Sister fell asleep and got a red back.
After some gelato and a stroll we decided to head home. With the salt and sand on our skin and some sun on our faces we rode the much less crowded train back to Barcelona.
After changing and dropping our stuff off we decided to go out for drinks. We stopped by an open restaurant that had a bar with some great cocktail specials. After a few mojitos I was very tired and cranky so we left.
On the walk home I was in front of my Sister when I heard her scream and felt the wind of a man running past. It happened very fast, we were both screaming and chasing him. He was fast and knew the streets; I kicked off my heels and chased him around three corners but by the forth I couldn’t see which way he had gone and the people on the street didn’t seem to understand when I asked “which way?!”
Then I heard my Sister behind me, still screaming and starting to cry. People finally started to notice what was happening. A man and two girls came up to her and were very sweet. More than anything she was angry, she had just gone to the ATM and taken out 200 Euro, all her cards were inside, and no one helped at all when it happened (there were many people on the street and everyone just watched)
(Diagram soon to come)
A little back round on my Sister, she has lived in Jersey City and worked in New York for 6 years now and has been through some sketchy neighborhoods before. She’s always been very street smart and careful. Not only were there people around us on the street the night this happened but, we were also a block from our apartment in the nice little square I mentioned in the first post about Barcelona.
Obviously my Sister was very upset. The two Spanish girls who had come out of their apartment nearby to help gave her water and comforted her. I was still out of breath, missing a shoe, and trying to explain what had happened to the Spanish man. Once he understood he called the police and they came by in a car; I explained it to them through a series of gestures and Spanglish and the nice man found my shoe. The police said there wasn’t anything they could do, if we wanted we could go to the station downtown and file a report. We knew it wouldn’t do much good so we decided to just go back to the apartment.
After we calmed down we went online for the number of Megan’s bank. The first day of the trip she had many problems with her bank letting her take out money and when she called the numbers weren’t working. Unfortunately it was just as bad this night. We had no phone so we used the pay phone down the street, which costs quite a bit. When she finally got a hold of Bank f America they hung up on her a couple times, then she finally got a hold of a girl that seemed understanding about the theft but very stupid about everything else.
Sister: “Yes, my wallet was stolen and now I am at a payphone in Barcelona and I need to cancel my card”
Bank of America Rep: “If you go to one of our branches they will help”
Sister: “Yes but I am in Barcelona, Spain in Europe you don’t have a branch here”
BA Rep: “We have one in London”
Sister: “But I’m in SPAIN, I can’t just go to England. Can you help me at all?”
BA Rep: “Dude, I totally understand what you’re going through but I can’t really do anything for you.”
DUDE?! So unprofessional! Ridiculous. Eight Euro later we were finally able to cancel her card but no one knew how to help her get any of her money. At this point we were so done with everything we decided to try in the morning.
There was a man on the street selling beer from a six-pack and we decided it seemed appropriate, we had about three Euros and some change left. The guy wanted ten or eight or something. My Sister tried to explain and then just went off on this guy. She had grabbed a bottle opener from the apartment for protection so she was holding the swirl part out like a knife and yelling obscenities, he gave us the six pack for our change and walked away quickly.
We walked around the city talking and finally ended up getting some take away food with my card and going back to the apartment to eat and sleep. We both had a hard time falling asleep, and I ended up hugging her feet the whole night to feel better.