We flew to Barcelona last Thursday and journeyed on to Sitges to enjoy the infamous Pride Festival there. It was both excellent and horrendous, due to…events. And I spent far longer in a Spanish police station that I’ve ever wanted to.
On the plus side, I got plenty of time on the fabulous beach next to our hotel, spending hours lolling about naked in the sun and walking up and down the strand with my feet in the ocean. Perfect weather and a perfect environment. Meanwhile, @TheFrankFlyer got to enjoy his time in the shade, under a massive parasol.
As it was Pride, the beach was fairly busy, but we managed to snag a bed each morning by getting down fairly early, and got talking to some lovely fellow sun-worshippers each day.
We had some really fun evenings in town, bar-hopping and enjoying delicious food. The atmosphere was incredibly friendly, as ever, and we got talking to some lovely people each evening.
All was going swimmingly until Saturday night/ Sunday morning, when we were squeezed into one of the last bars open. It was about 3am when I suddenly realised I couldn’t feel my iPhone in the front pocket of my shorts. Neither could @TheFrankFlyer and neither could the new friend we’d made on arrival – a super guy from Mexico that we buddied up with for beers each evening.
We’d been robbed.
Spilling out onto the street, we met several other people who’d also been robbed in the near darkness and I was, frankly, furious. Wandering back to our hotel on the other side of town, I kicked myself for being so stupid as to bring an iPhone out on a night like that. But at the same time, I was annoyed that you can’t go anywhere without someone trying to rob you!
Luckily, I had an iPad back in my hotel room, so we spent the next while changing passwords, logging out of online accounts and generally trying to make our iPhones as useful as a brick. We popped over to the local police station first thing the next morning to report the theft and get an incident number for our insurance.
The weary look we got from the police officer told us all we needed to know. This happens far too frequently and there’s not a lot they can do. I had given up all hope of getting the phones back – I just wanted to claim on the insurance and get a replacement as soon as possible.
The next evening – still reeling from the thefts – we met our Mexican friend to watch the main Pride parade. I wasn’t going to let the lack of a phone distract me from having more fun. And thankfully, the thief had left my wallet, so I could afford beers!
A glimmer of hope
That’s when we bumped into a couple I’d met the evening before, just outside the club. Unlike me, their ‘Find my iPhone’ software actually worked and they tracked down one of the phones to a police station one town over, in Villanova. Apparently, one of the thieves had been caught with a whole stack of mobile phones in his backpack.
It didn’t take more than a couple of minutes for us to agree that we should try to get a taxi to Villanova and see if the police had rescued our phone.
They were, in a word, useless. Unlike the officer back in Sitges, they were rude and cold, and cutting a very long story short, we spent four hours waiting to be told that they only had one of the phones: our Mexican friend’s one. While we were relieved and happy for him, I was annoyed I wasted so much time while their bureaucracy churned over. It should have taken no more than 15 minutes to check our identities and confirm whether or not they had the phones.
Anyway, we enjoyed the rest of our time in Sitges, despite the thefts and afterwards I made my way up to Barcelona to see some clients. I’d managed to order a new phone, to be delivered home back here in London. It was waiting for me when I arrived back late on Wednesday night and I was up and running by Thursday morning, when I had to go present at a conference.
Life without a phone?
I’ll be honest. Life without my iPhone was trickier than I’d imagined. No access to my Apple Wallet, no maps, no searching, no text messages to find each other, no camera. It really underlined my reliance on technology to get things done.
That said, I had an iPad for the work I needed to do in Barcelona and it was 4G connected so I could be productive on the move.
I’m not sure I had any meaningful epiphanies, except that I don’t want to ever have my phone stolen again. It’s quite a violating feeling. Though I’m lucky. In the more than twenty years I’ve used mobile phones, this is only the second one to be stolen from me. And as the first was in the middle of a mugging, I think I got off quite lightly.
In fact, that’s what we’ve been focusing on. Neither of us were hurt. Just annoyed. While we’ll definitely go back to Sitges, I’m not sure I’ll bring an iPhone when out clubbing.