Thursday, January 19, 2012

Valencia to Barcelona...Be careful!!

As we walked to the bus stand (only 10 minutes walk) with Paco helping me with my luggage, I felt a sense of regret.  I should have decided to stay more days when we booked the place.  Three days and three nights were not enough to enjoy with Paco and Paula.  We had so much fun, there was still so much to learn from both of them.  Paula even wrote me a little note teaching me how to order different kinds of pan (bread).  I laughed when she handed me the note and said’ Now, you will not go hungry in Spain. We had wonderful hosts.  We said our goodbyes, 'two kisses' and then the bus arrived.
I took a last picture of the street of Valencia...with fond memories in my heart.
We arrived at the AVE train station.  It was only a short ride in the bus.  I sat and waited whilst hubby went to the ticketing counter to ensure that we are at the right station.
Hubby took the picture. He was watching us.
Never ending helpfulness...The man (in the picture above) was showing me how to drip eye-drops into my eye.  (Laughters).  It all started when I was trying to drip some eye drops into one of my eye reddened by some foreign particles embedded inside.  The drops kept rolling off my cheek and not into my eye.  The man patted me on my shoulder and spoke in Spanish.  I apologised and shook my head...I do not understand Spanish.  How kind, he gestured that I should look at him.  He showed me how to do it. I followed and finally the eye drop went into my eye.   We sat 'speaking' to one another even though we could not understand a word but managed to reply.  He was also going to Barcelona and he is from Valencia.  I told him I am from Malaysia and going to Barcelona.  Amazing as it may sound, we understood each other even though we do not speak each other's language.  
When it was time to board the train (an announcement came on the PA system), kind man asked to look at our tickets.  He boarded the No. 3 coach and we boarded the No. 7 coach.  He walked with us to the No. 7 coach; made sure we got up onto the coach.   Thank you; Muchas words would be enough.  The train started to move.  The journey from Valencia to Barcelona took 3 hours and 4 minutes.  (If the train ticket were booked ahead, there would be a discount given.  The amount varies according to the clerk at the counter.) The cost of the journey per person was € 44.50 per person.
The scenery outside the window of my seat...they looked almost similar to my journey from Madrid until...
I spot a castle in the distance...
I thought the houses in this area looked like the houses in Malaysia
...we approached Barcelona; I saw the sea on one side of the train.  There were many must be a marina.  
We arrived in Barcelona (3 hours 04 minutes).  As like so many times before, hubby would go off to the ticketing counter for tickets.
It would be a last purchase for AVE train tickets. From Barcelona, we would return to Madrid before flying back home.  
There are many exits at the train station in Barcelona.  Please make sure you get out the right one!
We exited (actually it was me) the wrong exit.  Our host was waiting for us elsewhere.  Since we exited the wrong one, hubby had to walk quite a distance to look for the road map.  Hubby left me standing 'smack' in the middle of the sidewalk with our luggage, hubby's backpack, my own handbag and a bag of polvorones (sweets eaten during Christmas in Spain).  I stood there and waited.  Suddenly there was a very strong gush of wind.  One luggage toppled over and then the next one followed suit.  In the midst of picking up the luggage, my own bag fell and I heard a loud 'thud'.  Geez...that was the camera.  I arranged everything and with one leg guarding the backpack, I took out the camera to check.  In a split second, the backpack was gone!  How could anything happen so fast? By the time hubby walked back, all he saw was... me jumping.  No, it was not because I was happy to see the sun in Barcelona.  Someone took our backpack!  I turned to look at the stall behind me.  The black man was nowhere around.  I told hubby there was a black man who stood watching me with his back leaning against the stall.  There were no comfort words from hubby.  Our host (he said nothing) and was upset that we made him walk to where we were.  
Spot where my backpack was STOLEN.  
I was upset.  I was angry.  Hubby was angry as he thought I had walked away.  I did not walk away to take any pictures. I only took one picture (above) to test the camera.  Now, the one thing I noticed as we walked out from the train...there were many blacks.  We were warned about how Gypsies conned unsuspecting tourists and how a group would work together to pick pockets.  It never occurred to both of us that we would lose our belonging in such a way.
The apartment did not attract me...I wanted to return to Valencia
Hubby looked guilty when he walked into the room after our host briefed him.  (Unbelievably, the host just left without even finding out more about our lost.)  I was crying.  It was not totally my fault.  Even if I had seen the man take the backpack, I could not run after him.  I had the other bags to watch over.  Anyway, I was not crying because hubby scolded me.  I cried because I had a whole backpack filled with my souvenirs.  All my porcelain pieces...Big and small pieces, all gone in the blink of an eye!  Darn.   Later as we talked over the incident, we thought we were lucky in a way.  It was a blessing in disguise as we had let out guards down.  We had become complacent after our pleasant stay in Madrid and then Valencia.  It did not occur to either one of us that, we could lose something. When we related to the young girl (staying opposite our room), we found that her uncle had his wallet picked even before he got down from the train.    On a happier note, we could have lost any one of the luggage and it would mean the end of our adventure.  Things that are more valuable were inside. Goodness! I could not help wondering...what is in store in Barcelona? Even though we were in a new city, our evening was dull.  I was not in the mood to enjoy except buy some dinner and return to the apartment. :o)


Miss A said...

Awww, sorry to hear about what happened. This is why I'm careful when travelling abroad. I'm from the Philippines and this thing happens everyday here(I think) so I'm more alert than usual. said...

Hi Miss A, Its alright. TQ. Would hv been worse. Consolation was we learnt a lesson. LOL.