Is Barcelona full of thieves, or not?!

Discussion in 'Community' started by Lau, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Lau Guest

    I'm off to Barcelona for 4 days in a week and a half or so, and have been doing a bit of research. All I seem to find on the 'interweb' is that I will have my bag snatched, or someone will con it off me, or my friends, probably several times in the week.

    Is this true? I doubt it, but there seems to be a lot out there about it. I've travelled a bit in Europe, and have been to New York, and have never felt unsafe before.

    Any other tips to survive (or even enjoy :)) the week would be much appreciated. I intend to learn the basics of Spanish in the next week or so.
  2. Guitarius macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2004
    I've been to Barcelona a couple of times, and haven't had a problem. But then again, I'm a big guy, so most people don't mess with me. There might be some people trying to con you out of some money, just don't listen to them and keep walking. Just use common sense about things is the best advice I can give.

    It's a beautiful city full of life and culture, so have a great time. You should also try to visit some of the other cities in Spain if you can. Salamanca and Avila are amazing. Pamplona is great too.

    Oh, and learn how to say "We forgot our key in our room" in Spanish. This was our biggest problem when my friends and I went. On both trips to Spain, we forgot our key in hotel room, and had a hell of a time figuring out how to tell the desk clerk.

    I fell in love with Spain the second I stepped of the plain into Madrid, and hope to one day call it my home. But I guess we'll see what reality has in store for me.

    But yeah. Enjoy your trip. Use your head, and you'll be just fine.
  3. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2004
    Nah you'll be fine. If you can survive London & New York and travelling in Europe Barcelona will be fine.
    El Rey de la Gamba (The King of Prawns :eek: ) at the end of Port Vell does a great fideau (sp?) - the Catalan version of paella.
  4. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    If you survive in London, you'll survive in Barcelona. Follow the same rules with your handbag - make sure it's zipped, carry it over your shoulder, make sure it's not on the back of your chair and hook the strap under a bag when having an al fresco cerveza. And yeah, there are con people but they use the same tricks as in London - trying to distract you with maps while someone else nicks the phone on the table/bag off the chair.

    There's a great restaurant called Taxidermista (it's in the old Natural History Museum) in the corner of the Playa Royale (?) - the big square near the bottom of the Ramblas. They make the best dessert in the world... a chocolate mocha mousse served in a tiny espresso cup. I assure you that my friends and I were nearly licking out the cups!

    Have a great time - when you go to La Pedrera, check to see if the evening concerts are on. They hold them on the roof of the building at dusk and it's a wonderful experience. Taxis are cheap so if you're going to see the Parc Guell hop in one rather than trying to find the bus/metro that goes up there - it's a very steep hill!

    Take lots of pictures of the Sagrada Familia - if you go back to Barcelona in a few years, it's amazing to put old and new together and see exactly how much they've built in the intervening years.
  5. Lau thread starter Guest

    Thanks guys. Great advice. I'm so excited about going, partly because I totally can't afford it and so it's an entirely decadent treat.

    I figured that we're all savvy enough to cope with most stuff (having all been bred in the tough essex 'hood :p), but you don't want to be too blase, or that's when you get stung. I'm going to try and travel fairly light anyway, if only for the reason that I've got to lug all my stuff to the MR London meetup, then to my parents' for 3 days, then to Barcelona, then back to London, then to Reading for the day, then back home. When I'm deliberating over that 2nd camera or pair of shoes, I'll think of this. :p

    I reckon if I learn some polite phrases, some food and drink stuff, and a few "get off me, scamartist" type phrases, all will be good. A cheery smile/withering look depending on the circumstances should go a long way. :D

    And thanks for the restaurant/sightseeing tips, these are just the kind of thing that's so useful for a short trip. Nothing sucks more than a bad evening meal when you're only having 3 on the whole trip!

    And Mozer, whether I will risk being trampled by bulls remains to be seen....
  6. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    Yo estoy pedido. Nesesito ir al Hotel de...

    I am lost. I need to goto ____ hotel. It helps to have the hotel address on hand at this point too.

    recto = straight sometimes heard in a phrase as "todo recto" or "go/all straight"
    derecha = right heard as "hire la derecha" or "take a left"
    izquierda = left heard as "hire la izquierda or "take a right"

    I found these very helpful, while i lived in spain. i got lost quite a bit. The bus drivers went on strike quite a bit while i was there. i had to walk a lot.

    In Barcelona your'll hear a lot more Catalan than Castellano (Spanish).
    The only Catalan I know is bon dia and bon anite which is good day/morning and good evening/night as far as could discern. If you know enough spanish you can start picking up Catalan, but just know that a lot of people switch between languages so it might be confusing. You don't seem to have a background in spanish so you probably won't notice.

    btw, guitarius the easiest way to convey your message next time to the clerk is "No tengo mis llaves" which means I don't have my keys. i think i forgot my keys is a bit harder to says. "yo olvide mis llaves". my big translation problem was the second night i was in spain and i had to ask a shop keeper for direction. he told me the direction perfectly he just said every street in catalan and the direction in spanish. took me two hours to figure out that.
  7. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    Like any place, there are good areas and bad areas, and if you look like a tourist you're probably at more of a risk in general. But, all you have to do is be wary and be smart and you should be fine. My fiance did mention that Spain and italy were two of the worst places, relatively, she's been in Europe when it comes to pick pockets, etc., but again, it depends where you are, and you just have to be smart about things. - crime can happen anywhere.

    And as for NickyGoat's earlier comment on New York, I actually have found The Big Apple to be one of the safest cities I've been to. Again, it obviously has it's areas, but in general, I've always been very impressed every time I've been there. Guiiani really cleaned the place up, and it has been voted America's safest large city in recent history. A great town, one of my favorite world capitals! :cool:
  8. Lau thread starter Guest

    Superbovine, thanks for the language tips. I'm half tempted to learn the little that I'm going to learn in Catalan, since I literally know no Spanish or Catalan, why not learn the native one. I'll see what I can find out, but I suspect Spanish will be more flexible in the long run. i expect I'll end up waving my hands about and smiling a lot, whichever I choose. :D

    Shard, it's funny you say that, because I went to New York last year (first time in the US) and I felt totally safe the whole time, really. I've felt more threatened in Southend on a Friday night. Even when me and my friend ended up at some dodgy bit down by the docks by mistake (as you do :p), I never felt personally threatened.
  9. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    It doesn't surprise me. I've been to New York a lot, and in fact, I've actually noticed a difference in people's overall attitiude in NY since 9/11 - people seem to be a lot more friendly and open now than prior to the attacks. I hate to say this because of the way it sounds, but if one good thing came out of 9/11 it was possibly that people took a step back and learned to appreciate life and each other just a little more. :eek: :cool:
  10. am1971 macrumors member

    May 18, 2005
    Like any big city you just need to be sensible.

    Watch out for me though, I'll rob you in a second :D
  11. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2004
    That must be perdido.
  12. Lau thread starter Guest

    Well, thanks for all the advice. I had a really fantastic time, it just went far too fast and was back in a traffic jam on the North Circular in the rain, at midnight all too quickly. It was truly a city of many equally good things - delicious food, excellent *hic* drink, awesome architecture, very pleasant beach, friendly people, thriving nightlife and the most efficient public transport I've seen in a long time. Our Spanish/Catalan was ropey as anything, but we generally were presented with plates of food that resembled fairly closely what we thought we asked for, and people seemed chuffed that we'd tried. We certainly weren't as bad as some of the irritating Britons around "The bill please, mate, the BILL". Ugh.

    I thought I'd attach a few holiday photos as evidence of the above- the market down the Ramblas with loads of great food, the Sagrada Familia as evidence of rather spectacular architecture, a nice tacky beach photo and the escalator (!) up the giant hill to the Parc Guell. Now that's a city with good transport when they put an escalator up a hill. (Sorry Applespider - we got the metro and figured we could always get a taxi if the escalators weren't working and they were, much to our relief).

    And no, we weren't robbed, even by am1971 :), and didn't feel particularly at risk at any point. Maybe we look menacing and streetwise, as there were a few shady types, but they didn't seem to want to try their luck with us. In fact, aside from holding onto yer handbag, it felt really safe, so much so that we (4 laydees) got the night bus home every night.

    Oh, and I have deliberately omitted any evidence of the plentiful booze, for your safety and viewing pleasure. :p

    Attached Files:

  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    :eek: :eek: You'd eat in a place named after the art of skinning various animals and displaying the skins? What if some bright spark sees a cost-cutting opportunity there? :eek:

  14. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Strangely enough, when we were first told about it, that was exactly our reaction! But it was just round the corner from the apartment we'd leased in the Barri Gotic so we decided to go and have a look one night and discovered just how marvellous it was - cod baked in a salt crust followed by that amazing dessert. Delicious!

    Nice pictures, Lau. I do love wandering around La Bocqueria - it always smells amazing - though I've never bought the pics in your picture. My sister was desperate for one of those ducklings they sell along the Ramblas but we put her off in the end.
  15. vouder17 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2003
    well i have just been there on holiday. really beautiful city. i had a great time no worries about thieves or the like. But i must say that the spanish have a funny way of naming things... :D :D

    Attached Files:

  16. sebisworld macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2003
    I was in Barcelona about two years ago from school. We were about 40 and three of us got their wallets stolen... So, just be careful and don't play any of the games offered on the streets! Especially the games that seem easy are hard to beat - since, once you give the other person your money, they just run away.
    Other than that, Barcelona is a really beautiful city. If you follow a few simple rules, you will truly be able to enjoy yourself.
  17. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    Not that it matters anymore, as another poster said, it is perdido, and derecha= right, izquierda= left
  18. Tahko macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2005
    Remember, esé doesn't mean pal. I made that mistake when talking with some spaniard chic in Greece. :p

Share This Page