Ripped Off

Flew to Barcelona and all hell broke lose.   Here’s a picture of the Pyrenees from on high.
Took a cab to our apartment that we got on VRBO and we jumped out of the cab at the Barcelona location the apartment owner recommended.  And we walked about 30 yards.  A young man, tapped Rayman on the shoulder and told him his jacket had something on it.  I thought it was bird poop.  It was brown and extended the length of his jacket and down his pants to the end of his derriere.  The man handed Rayman a folder paper napkin.  Rayman took off his coat and the next thing we knew, his backpack was gone.  Not I’m not going to linger on this because in the final analysis it was just stuff…like 400euro, a diamond ring, his money belt, a book, his ipad.  And the backpack.  Oh, and his light turquoise sweater.  Oh, and all our pills.  Below is a picture of Rayman and Ali after the theft a bottle of wine!!

OMG.  The next thing I knew, Xavier, the owner of the flat we were renting, was called by his wife because I called her to tell her we were running late.  Then I called her back reporting the theft.  The Xavier found me.  But by that time, the woman, a muslim, called the police for us.  At this point, we(Xavier) left Rayman to wait for the police and Xavier and I went to the apartment to drop off our stuff (what was remaining).  Then Xavier informed me that Rayman had been carted off by police to the police department to file a report.  So Xavier showed me the apartment and how everything worked, then he walked me to the police station.  There we waited for the Rayman who eventually escaped from the bowels of the building to say, “I told the interrogator that I was likely the only one to see the inside of a police station re: this matter.”
And with that we withdrew 340 euros and paid Xavier as we cried crocodile tears and he bid us a fond adieu and we went our separate ways with me proclaiming my ability to find the apartment.

So, we couldn’t find, let me rephrase that, I couldn’t find the apartment.  Xavier had marked up a very rudimentary map.  It would be like having a map of San Luis Obispo with only Foothill, Higuera, and maybe Marsh Streets actually named on the map.  And the street was off Garden.  Impossible.  So, we spend the next two hours walking all around the area I was just sure was the area.  I called Xavier’s wife and announced we were lost…and she said, “What?  Again?”  This was very unhelpful because we were really lost, it was getting dark.  We were hungry.  And did I mention the Rayman’s mental state?  He was beside himself.  And the more we didn’t find it, well, the more upset him became.  He finally threatened to check into the Hyatt near by if we didn’t find the place in the next 45 minutes.  OMG.  What were we thinking?  “Didn’t you remember any landmarks?”, he barked.  “No.  I was traumatized just like you.”, I whined.  It wasn’t pretty.   At one point I told him to shut the f*%#..up.

I’m not even sure how it happened but I think I called Ali, my cousin’s daughter who is in Barcelona teaching school.  I gave her the address info I had.  She told us to go to a certain subway station and stay put.  She was on her way.  She thought she knew where our apartment was located.  At this point, Rayman and I felt ancient, old, feeble, helpless, frustrated…all at the same time.

Ali arrived about 15 minutes later and led us to the door of our building in about 2 minutes.  The street was misspelled.  And the streets change names.  And some of the streets are not clearly marked.  And boy, did I feel stupid.  And grateful to Ali.  She sensed our desperation and frustration and immediately ran down to a market and bought a bottle of vino rouge and we downed it in about 20 minutes.  But who’s counting.

It was then that we met her beau, Bernat, a Spaniard who is the sweetest guy in the world.  And the four of us went out to dinner.  Sitting outside munching on lightly fried eggplant doused in honey, sliders, beans, asparagus and calamari, with catalan bread we polished off more wine (2 more bottles and an after dinner herbal alcohol drink) an creme brûlée, we finished up about mid-night.  Here’s picture of brulee   IMG_1705At 2 a.m. I went to bed.  It took time to figure out a way to save our digital privacy from the robber.  We are bit worried about that (read freaked out).  I also expanded my data usage for overseas and that took an hour.  AT 4:15 woke up worried as can be.  Fiddled around a bit more, took a “relaxation” pill that Rayman bought along with many of the drugs that went missing.  In the states all these drugs are prescription.  Here you just go to the pharmacia and they sell them to you without a prescription.

Anyway, I got a good 3-4 hours sleep and then it was 9:20 a.m. and they were coming at 9;30.  The alarm didn’t go off.  OMG.  Mad scramble.  They showed up at almost 10 and it was off to races.  We just got home at 10:30p.m. after walking all over Barcelona, taking in art, eating three meals.  Picasso art museum.  Wonderful building and great art.  Dedicated to him.  A most famous Spaniard.
Fabulous day.  Dead tired.  Pictures galore.  More later.  Here’s a ham with the hams.

Woke up this a.m. (Sunday) around 9.  Didn’t move all night.  Tired beyond belief.  Then it was jump in the shower, throw on the clothes and hit the subway.  We were meeting Ali and Bernat for another day of seeing the sights.  Today it was all Gaudi. We are top of the roof of an apartment that he designed.  This is one of the chimneys.

Looks like something out of Star Wars.   And this is a picture of Ali and her fabulous Spanish amigo!!  And dinner last nite.  Mucho gusto!!
Gaudi puts Frank Lloyd Wright to shame.  Like Wright he designed furniture, gardens.  He did it all until he was hit by a trolly crossing a street in front of Sagrada Familia, the famous cathedral.  It is expensive to get in with out lines, but that’s what we did.  Paid the money.  Wandered right in.  OMG.  Other-worldish in some ways and downright beautiful in others and not nearly complete.  Projection is 2026.  Looks more like 2050 to me.  We also toured one the houses he designed yesterday.  He was all about arches.  Lots and lots of arches.  Was inspired by nature, trees, honeycomb, python skeletonsand such.  And very forward thinking.  Many columns were used to transport water from the roof to the cellar to form a reservoir.   Mind blowing.  Stained glass in the cathedral.   This depiction on the alter looks like Jesus skydiving using a jellyfish.  My impression.   Picture on the right is looking straight up.  And this isn’t going to be the highest point in the church after it is completely.  Is is like nothing I have ever seen before, building wise.

We just parted company with Ali and Bernat.  We will meet up later.  Need to sit down and be quiet.  Nap perhaps.  Then it is off to eat.  Love, love, the food.

And Rayman.  Is is handling all this pretty well.  I’m going to buy a paper to see if there are any lost and founds tomorrow and we’ll stop by the policia to see if anything was turned in.  But, realistically, color it all gone.

Last night we ate a family style restaurant.  Yummy.  Grilled calamari in squid ink with asparagus, lamb and potatoes, Spanish tortilla topped with egg and foie gras and shrimp pasta washed down with 2 bottles of wine and a piece of chocolate cake (split 4 ways).  Done to perfection.


Here’s Rayman at the Gaudi park.  Looking out toward Barcelona.  Notice the mosaic and the gingerbread looking Gaudi building across the way.

IMG_1748That’s all for now.  Too tired to write and fight the software!!


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