Saturday 23rd July – Barcelona continued
This afternoon we decided to go our own way for an hour and have a bit of a wander around the shops. Ian is more focused on sports apparel than I am! We decided to meet outside the police station. You may think this is a strange landmark for us, but we were quite familiar with it.
On arriving in Barcelona and checking into our Hotel, we discovered that Ian had lost his passport. We guessed he had left it in the taxi since he was sure that he had it with him when we left the airport thinking we might need it for customs.
Travelling tip 1: Get a receipt from the taxi. We paid with cash so waived the receipt but apparently,the receipt has useful information like the taxi’s car number that could have been helpful in tracking the driver.
Travelling tip 2: Don’t have a technology-free holiday. It was great being able to Google what we needed to do to get the necessary documentation we required to leave the country and to be able to email said documents to London.
This is where the Police Station comes in. The first thing we did in Barcelona was to go the Police to file a lost passport report. We needed to have this information before we visited the New Zealand Consulate. (The New Zealand Embassy is in Madrid).
Travelling tip 3: Know when and for how long, the siesta’s are.
We duly arrived a bit hot and sweaty at the consulate at 1 pm to discover that it was closed for ‘lunch’ until 4 pm, at which time we had to return.
The Consulate was in a building that looked like an apartment block. We climbed up two flights of stairs in the semi-darkness and were faced with two door and two doorbells. No signage suggesting we were in the right place, only our Google map and a Spanish name above the doors. We chose a door, rang the bell to be told it was the other door!
The New Zealand Consulate phones London on our behalf. London is one of only three places that can prepare and print New Zealand passports. Apparently, emergency documents weren’t good enough for Singapore. They would let us leave Singapore on them but not enter the country on them.
With instructions about what to do, we went back to the hotel to open the email with the paperwork. Fortunately, the staff at reception were so helpful. They printed, then scanned the documents we needed to email back to London. We rang London to check they got everything they had requested. They had, but their system was down, so nothing could be processed!
Anyway, after a bit of stress, the story ended well. The new passport duly arrived and I am only allowed to blog about it because it had a successful outcome. One sheepish husband.
Travelling tip 4: Put you passport away when it is not required and make sure you put it in the same place each time or give it to your wife to look after.
Yesterday we thought we would head out to the beach, one that was a little less crowded than the first one we visited. The concierge gave us some great directions and we caught the V15 bus all the way down to Hotel W. I have included a photo of this sail-shaped building. With towels, sun cream, hats and camera packed we headed off and shortly after the rain started, then the thunder, then the lightning! Good choice to go to the beach. When we got to the beach, a voice came over a tannoy requesting that people get out of the water due to the approaching storm.
We took shelter in a seaside cafe, dodging the rain that was splashing off the umbrellas. After a while, we decided to abandon the swim and head back into town. Four hundred metres down the road, the rain stopped and the sun came out, so we turned around and went back to the beach. The sea was too ferocious for my liking, but Ian got his Mediterranean swim. Actually, swim probably isn’t quite the right word, more of a pounding. It was almost impossible to stand upright.
We followed this with a visit to the Gothic quarter, a wander around the Gaudi museum (which was fantastic), a look at the Arc de Triomf (yes, another one) a meander through the Barcelona Cathedral (which was huge) and a taxi ride home for a couple of tired tourists!
At dinner, an Indian Spaniard came around the tables selling red roses. We had decided to leave everything at the hotel except our credit card so we had no cash. He comes over to our table and Ian says “no thanks”. The lovely man looked a bit surprised so I piped up “he doesn’t love me enough”. Smiling, the man pulled out a rose from the bunch and gave it to me. He said he is in the business of selling love! Anyway, this simple act led to a conversation about cricket – a stretch from a romantic red rose I thought.
We also had a waiter that looked like Manuel from Fawlty Towers. He was being given a lot of orders from the head waiter. Anyway, he delivers our dinner and we see his name is Keith. This seemed so out of place so we asked him about it. Keith was Peruvian, and his father “was a friend of the French”. Not sure how that fitted in, but Peruvian Keith, who lived and worked in Spain, was delightful.