Travel,technology and petty crime France,Lisbon and Barcelonas
The Moulin Rouge
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.
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.
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.