The week that started great and ended in hell! Robbed !
Yes, you read that right, this week has been a mixed bag! Wedding anniversary celebrations, amazing friends that looked after the girls, luxury tours, helicopter rides and fun with my husband. But it all ended in being robbed by two guys on bikes that slashed our tire and robbed us, without even realising.
This week has sure had its highs and lows if ever we’ve had one! At least now I have the experience of dealing with Barcelona police and the amazing job that they do.
How it all started!
Wedding anniversary celebrations were amazing. We stayed at Hotel Condal. The first room was a bit of a nightmare due to them painting the room next door. We were given a bigger & better room which started the beginning of our week off perfect. We were exhausted from 3 nights of no sleep in Zaragoza, thanks to no air-conditioning in 37 degrees. So we slept the afternoon and early evening away with an afternoon nap. With some yummy pastries for dinner, we called the day quits as the following day was going to be huge!
We woke up feeling great after actually sleeping and then we were filled with excitement about what we were doing! We headed to these gorgeous markets for breakfast and coffee. Then caught a cab to the meeting place in Ramblas for the start of our day.
Even though we had travelled extensively around Barcelona already. We headed to places we had already been but our travel guide was so lovely it was nice hearing what she had to say. Especially her description of the places such as Sagrada Familia. Learning about Gaudi again was quite nice and made us feel like we were already locals.
The exciting part was pulling into the port of Barcelona and being led down to the helicopter pad. You can see the helicopter and you’re filled with nervous butterflies. After the safety briefing, we were off and even though it was only a short flight it was amazing! We could not have picked a more beautiful day but in saying that every day is stunning over here in summer! Beautiful blue skies and not a could in the sky it was the perfect backdrop for our anniversary flight! There were 5 of us on our flight. Everyone seemed to be in their own world and just living in the moment. After having a few pics taken, we were then off to the next part of our day.
A quick two-minute drive and we were dropped to the port. We had to walk over the big bridge to our boat that was waiting! We selected seats at the back of the boat. Then ordered a couple of gin & tonics to sip while we cruised! It was such a stunning day and smelling the sea breeze and feeling the wind on our faces was pretty special. It was a lovely way to end our special day!
A night out
We stopped at a beautiful restaurant on our way back to our hotel and had a bite to eat. A couple more drinks and then went for a nice casual stroll. I decided that was a good time to go into the Nike store and get some comfortable walking shoes. In hindsight after a few gins. It’s probably not a good idea to go shoe shopping but you couldn’t tell me that. With a husband that hates shopping and a very tiddly me I selected some shoes that I really liked! I was quite excited (probably more so due to the gin) and we headed home. We decided to stop and buy a bottle of pink gin to have a couple of drinks before bed! We laid in bed judging the synchronised swimming on TV. Like we were experts ourselves, we were laughing and judging and having a great time! It was the perfect end to a great day!
Waking up we were feeling a little hazy, but we upped and showered and got ready for the day. As I was excitedly getting my new shoes on I realised I had accidentally brought the wrong size. I had to go back and do a quick swap over without obviously telling them the whole story. We were now on our way!
We were heading to friends to collect the girls. They had been staying with them for the weekend when the unthinkable happened!
As it happened
As we were driving along a major road in Barcelona I felt a tap at the back of the car. Looking back I saw two men on motorbikes. I commented to Adriaan “There’s room for them to get past, why are they waiting there?” I turned back around and we carried along the main road. We turned off and only had 950 meters to go until we reached our destination when a man on one of the bikes rode up alongside the car shouting at me to wind down the window. Alerting us we had a flat tire. At the time I remember thinking “How did we not know the tire was flat” but anyway! We thanked him and pulled over and parked so we could tend to the tire.
I fluffed around for a few minutes getting hold of our roadside assistance thinking we just got a flat tire and needed to get it fixed. While I was on the phone to roadside assistance a guy appeared on a motorbike and he was riding the bike into us shouting at us, I kept saying “No Espanol, no Espanol” as he was constantly shouting and it seemed like he was trying to help us. This went on for about a minute until he rode off saying “two minutes, two minutes” we were a little baffled and thought he was trying to help us. We wondered what he was going to do when he came back. Thinking maybe he lived around the corner or something. How lovely and friendly these people are wanting to help us in our moment of need. Little did we know, we’d already been robbed.
We waited a few minutes and gave the instructions to roadside assistance to turn up to help us. As we were so close to my friends’ house I walked there so I could spend some time with them before we left to head to Montpellier (France).
We didn’t even realise
When I arrived I had a call from Adriaan who was surrounded by Police. Telling him that someone had called them and they think we were robbed. He told me to check my jewellery etc that I had on to make sure nothing was missing and I wasn’t pickpocketed. I thought it was strange. At no stage during the 1/2 hour prior did I feel like we were in danger and that we were being robbed. There was quite a language barrier here so it was hard to understand what was happening. One of the police officers stayed with Adriaan which we thought was strange. They were obviously waiting for the guys to come back and rob us as that’s what they do. We had never heard of anything like this happening before. We were a little stunned and very naive to all this sort of stuff.
Adriaan was given the number of where he needed to get the tire fixed and that’s when it all changed! The tire was purposely slashed. We needed to replace the tire. The girls and I were starting to feel really uneasy at this stage, Worried about Adriaan not being with us. What could have happened as we were still with my friends and he was on his own.
Then reality hit us
We were still feeling really lucky that we had escaped being held up and robbed at this point. It wasn’t until Adriaan arrived at my friends to pick me up that we realised his bag had been stolen. Our hearts sank, we’d been robbed. While the guy was shouting at us distracting us the other guy had come back and had gone through the front of the car and stolen whatever he could. We could see that a few things had been taken.
Then Adriaan said: “Tas where’s your medication” and I lost it! They had stolen the cooler bag with all my medication in it. I have no way of getting in Europe, it is thousands of dollars worth of injectables that he will most likely open up and throw away and I needed that medication to survive. It all became a bit of a blur after that. While we sat there and trying to think about what we needed to do. There were a few swearwords and we just did not know what to do so we headed to the police station.
Dealing with the Police
The First police station had a huge queue that would have been at least a 3hr wait to be seen. We were amazed at all the people that were there with things from muggings, pickpockets, stolen bags, robberies like ours and who knows what else.
There were people from every nationality all sitting there getting inpatient looking hot and bothered and were just generally over it. The translator we were talking to was amazing as his flatmate has Crohns Disease so he knew how important the medication was and didn’t want us sitting there when we had so much to do. I feel when we had that personal connection we went from just another tourist to people that he wanted to help. We were so thankful as he gave us the name of a hospital to go to so I could get emergency medication and his recommendation was to go to a less busy station which we did so we went from Grand Via to Sants-Montjuïc.
Doing the report
We arrived and we were the only ones there so we were seen promptly. Sargent Hector was excellent but had limited English so communication was hard. He was sympathetic as he said he sees this type of thing every day. He knew exactly how it happened and even seems to think he knew exactly who it was after we managed to give very good descriptions of both of the men. We were still trying to put all the pieces together of how this happened but when he told us how they do it we were left speechless.
It seemed this guy was trying to help us but he was, in fact, distracting us while the other guy robbed the car. We were lucky that most of our bags were in the boot of the car which he could not access but he took everything he could! We were watched by the robbers for a good 10 minutes while we were talking to roadside assistance, not a nice feeling at all.
After a long couple of hours at the new station doing a statement, we were on our way with a full police statement all in Spanish. We had the statement translated to English by a friend. We needed that as we were now on our way to France and needed to get it to our insurance company within 12 hours or the claim would not be accepted! In the end and when we had our police report translated it was generally what we were trying to relay to the Sargent with a few errors due to the language barrier but nothing major.
We had to produce receipts for items that were stolen and everything organised for the insurance company while trying to figure out how to get access to my medication while I was over the other side of the world. This was just the beginning of a very sleepless week trying to get it everything organised. After a lot of organising and friends and family in New Zealand helping I managed to book a flight to Copenhagen to meet a friend of a friend who brought me another cooler bag from New Zealand with all my medication that I needed. As for the insurance, I’m still working through that weeks after the event but hopefully that all goes through without a hitch and we are reimbursed for everything. To date, we are still waiting to hear from our insurance company to see if they will pay out for our claim.
The good and the bad
So there you go folks, that’s honestly how easy it is to get robbed while you’re away! The Police informed us that we were very lucky and my goodness we felt it! It could have easily of been worse and we could have been stabbed or had the whole car stolen. They said they targeted us as we had a French tourist numberplate on, thanks for the heads up!
Without support from family and friends, this whole situation would have been a lot harder than it was. I think the main things was showing our children that even though terrible things can happen its all about the way you deal with them. We showed them that we can overcome everything and still stay strong as a family and nothing is going to stop us! Sure it was horrible but we survived!