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Trip Report Francebound in Barcelona

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Arrived in Barcelona from Vancouver via London Gatwick, on an uneventful flight with Vueling. If you travel with carry-on like we do be sure to check beforehand the size & weight restrictions for baggage. It's pretty restrictive. If you pay on-line before you go you pay less than if you just arrive at the airport.

Being cheap we didn't pre-book and pay for our seats so I didn't get to see the nice view of Barcelona from the air unless I leaned over the British chap next to me who was in the window seat. He was loudly sniffing and sneezing all the way from Gatwick. Hoped it was just allergies because picking up some virus on the first day was not part of the plan. Is it really too much to ask that people sneeze into their sleeve if they don't have a kleenex? He also seemed to be unaware of the etiquette rule I wrote that dictates the middle person in a row of three (ie. me) has the right to the arm rest.

Looking at the options before leaving we decided on the train/metro into the city. There's a free bus that takes you to the nearby train station and the train runs every 30 minutes. One metro ticket takes you the whole way in and you buy your book of tickets from the machine in the station. We got our first warning about watching our belongings carefully from the station attendant.

About pickpockets in Barcelona:
A lot has been written on this topic, so might as well tell our experience, for what it's worth.

We were aware of the problem because of the research we'd done, but also personally because our 27 year old son was robbed last year. He knew it was going to happen but couldn't do anything. He was walking alone, at night, and a woman took hold of his arm, and while he was quickly able to secure his wallet, the accomplice scooped his expensive mobile phone from his other pocket. He stupidly didn't have an immediate setting on his passcode so the thieves ran up $1,700 worth of calls to Somewhere-istan.

No doubt about it, they are professionals and good at what they do.

We took the following precautions and hoped for the best:
Only went to ATMs where we felt it was safe and one of us always watched carefully. We never carried large quantities of cash or our passports or if we had to we were super-vigilant.
We had back up copies of passport etc both printed and digital.
Didn't carry an expensive camera.

I did think a few times that "if I was a pick-pocket I would go for that person". Either they had put their purse down or had a wallet in their back pocket with a bit of it showing, or they just seemed vulnerable in some way.

Still wouldn't have skipped Barcelona for fear of being robbed. We took the metro everywhere and it was fine.

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