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Travel,technology and petty crime France,Lisbon and Barcelonas

Updated on July 11, 2011

The Moulin Rouge

Lisbon Trams

Barecelona Pickpockets

Some thoughts on travelling in Europe

Hello all I am back from my European trip to Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona where I attended and gave a paper at a conference.

Technology

The thing that struck me about this trip was firstly the technology.In a year the airline systems have changed substantially. You can book a ticket, book your seat and get your boarding pass online, or get the boarding pass PDF'ed to your smartphone. No waiting, no queues just dump you baggage at th baggage drop off at the airport and go. This takes a lot of the hassle at airports away. Last year I was impressed by the smart card system on the Sea Princess for passenger and credit control but this is really different.

CRIME

The second thing that struck me about Europe, was the crime. We watched a pickpocket in action on a tram in Lisbon. The thief hopped on the tram pretended to swipe his electronic ticket (oh another impressive technology item - the Lisbon travellers card) opened the guys fanny pack,removed his wallet, and jumped off the tram in a matter of seconds. The driver picked up the theft and told the victim to chase the pick pocket but he was just too slow (and dare I say it too fat).
In Barcelona three of our delegates lost Wallets to thieves, one on the subway (an experienced traveller) who had his arm bumped, wallet removed and the thieves left as the train doors closed. He said he wished they could do it again but slower this time to see the brillliance in execution. Two other guys were taken,seperately, on diffferent days, they were accosted by groups of three men, pretending to be policemen asking for passports, and proof of cash which they promptly took. My dearly beloved and I were accosted by a similiar group at the Port Olimpique area. They first guy pretended to be a tourist with a map loooking to find the Sagarda Familia. I kept my distance from him, gave him directions and he left. A while later he got into a BMW parked near the beach with two other guys, which was odd in itself. He then followed us around as we turned so did he. He tried to engage me in conversation again but I told him to f*ck off. Next his pals came up from behind, the one showed me some sort of Id and claimed he was a policeman but he was one of the guys we saw in the car. I told him to F*ck of too, and we ran into a restaurant. There were security guards at the restauarant promenade area,once they saw us near these guards, they took to their heels. On another occaission a group of three tough portly individuals jostled us on a subway train, trying to seperate my dearly beloved and myself, but I realised what was happenning and jabbed both the men sharply in the ribs with my elbows (the one stood on my foot trying to distract my attention) and I roughly pusheded the woman between wifey and me,out of the way

The Travel Part.
Oh by the way the trip, was also great in Paris we saw the Moulin Rouge accompanied by dinner and champaigne, We visited the Eiffel Tower, The amazingLa defense precinct with it's ultra modern buildings looking down on the Arch de Triomphe. It also has a fabulous Mall (in Paris a mall, dearly beloved was delighted)! We made full use of our Paris vistors card which we bought at the Airport on arrival. We stood in a long queue, but it weas woirthwile as we really got value for our card.

We had pastis de nata in Belem (invented there apparently). We had two great meals in the Baixia area as well as a good one in Beira Alto in Lisbon. We visited Cascais beach and Sintra as well.We rode on the fabulous trams all over Lisbon which is a very hilly town.Here too we took advantage of a traveller card which we bought at the airport.

In Barcelona, we also had two superb dinners at restaurants in the Barcelonetta near the yacht harbour. We also visited the Sagrada Familia church (Gaudi started building this and it is still incomplete after 100 years)! But A heavy cold later (not swine 'flu) we are safe and sound and back at home.

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    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      freehans

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Nice of you to stop by and comment.

    • freehans profile image

      freehans 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Very interesting and informative hub. Nice info

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Marisue

      Long time no hear! your travel adventures are also pretty cool too! I am off to Europe again soon and perhaps I may be inspired to write a couple of Hubs again.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 

      8 years ago from USA

      Oh my!! your travel experiences would and do make a terrific read...and since I'm a very big scaredy cat, I don't make the best traveler. I've been to Mexico, which in my opinion, at least near the US borders, is the scariest place in the world. I nearly had a heat stroke on a Bus coming across the Bridge in Juarez...and the nicest little mexican man fanned me, giving up his own newspaper he was using... The everyday people were wonderful, it was the gangstas that made me shiver...and we have that in the good ol' US of A, right?

      Clive, You've been gone too long and I hope you get this comment...be well! I miss you, my friend.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thank you for this. Really good advice on what to look out for in terms of thieves...

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Indeed I did have a great time. As you say Paris is much safer than Spain or Portugal but Prague (Chekoslovakia) and Budapest (Hungary) are even safer (and much cheaper!).Both of these bill themselves as Paris of the East.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      It sounds like you had a great time, except for the pickpocketers :(

      As I mentioned before, that is one reason why I feel so safe in Paris, despite the density of people crime is very low and you can feel relatively safe.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Para yes the paper was well recieved even though I was last but one speaker on the last day my session was well attended and well reviewed.

      As far as crime goes I think it is worthwhile to temper glamoruos travel tales with a dose of reality.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Sorry to hear about the crime encounters. It takes the shine off things, even if you're not a victim yourself. I like Lisbon very much and you're right about it being hilly, some of the hills the direct result of the famous Lisbon earthquake way back then. Hope the paper was well received?

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