Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bad Memories on Leaving Barcelona ...

I left Barcelona feeling that it was a city that was tired of tourists ...

In fairness, I was looking for the cheapest possible trip. I was there to spend 12 hours of two and half days in the city with Mary Lou. I didn't research Barcelona in the way that I normally would. I had just returned from my 17 days in Genova, that city I fell so deeply in love with, and had fitted in that 3-day work trip to Berlin to came back, repack and fly out to Barcelona.

RyanAir did a great job and Barcelona Bus, on the ride from airport to city gave me no clue that my camera gear and laptop wouldn't be welcome on-board the bus when departing the city. But in fact, it wasn't and that last 24 hours in the city was a mix of good news and bad.

I am tempted to title this post, 'The Grumpy Old Men of Barcelona Estacio Nord' but perhaps that's a little too mean when it only involved the fierce and angry overseer, and the mean bus driver, both of whom have clearly been dealing with tourists forever. I was stunned when he tried to snatch my bag out of my hand and when I protested, he snarled at me that I should catch a taxi to Girona – some 100kms out of the city. His fury was impressive and intimidating ... as I tried unknowingly breaking the rules of the kingdom of this particular bus, trying to explain that my carry-on bag had my photography equipment and laptop and that the same bus company hadn't had a problem with it when I arrived in the city. We were all allowed our bags on-board the bus and my bag wasn't that much bigger than a small full backpack which were allowed on-board.

In Italy, I'm almost sure that, had they imposed the same rule, they would have put my bag in the hold with charm and exaggerated gentleness, promising to guard its precious cargo ... mocking perhaps but so much gentler than the rage of the Barcelona Bus men ... whose colleagues were, as I said, so much nicer on my arrival.

Perhaps it was seeing the pickpockets at work that left me uneasy about life in the city but on leaving, the only nice thing that happened was the taxi driver who drove me back to the bus station, delighting me when he charged half the fee of his colleague who made the same trip with me on my arrival. My heartfelt 'Gracias!'surprised him, making him smile too.


Carlos Lorenzo said...

Sorry I wasn't here to suggest tips and all. In fact I have been in London all weekend including Monday. I have been browsing your posts. You are so true about your impressions that there's this tourist overload in the city. But we don't blame tourists but authorities. Well, I mean in general. There are exceptions. Those bus drivers are really harming their company's policy. There are people that should never work in tourism. On the other hand, coming to Barcelona is like playing Russian roulette. It may be the trip of a lifetime but when you get the bullet it is of course lethal. I am deeply sorry that someone like you coming from a place so far away meet these stupid people along the way. As to your pictures, I am amazed at your wonderful images. You caught all the beauty and in a very artistic way. Thanks for sharing them. And once more, I apologize for being unavailable. I have to thank, Lydia for suggesting me your blogs. I guess I just check one of them and didn't find this one in your profile before.

Di Mackey said...

Thank you for the generosity of your comment, Carlos. I found it difficult to write about the negative of Barcelona and knew that most of the experiences could happen anywhere but from the beginning of the trip, I had decided to write to write the truth of this trip and not just the high points.

And a quiet thank you for your comments about my photographs of your city, especially after seeing your work.