Remember “Stolen Passports OMG”? Well I promised to write more about this dilemma – so here’s it!
Carry-on bag stolen from hotel lobby – manager calls American Embassy Barcelona sets up appointment. There the hassle begins.
We grab a cab (rainy-in rush-hour traffic) for a seemingly-endless ride to the Embassy (based on the Euro cost it WAS) – driver drops us off 2 blocks from destination – have never been so happy to see “Old Glory” in our lives – we walk through the rain and enter the building – safe at last (or so we thought.)
To begin with, in order to pass through the locked doors beyond the entry, one must show proof of American citizenship – hullo(????) passports and driver’s licenses stolen…..BUT (thankfully) we had copies of all and were granted admittance. Filled out the necessary forms for document replacement and were advised the photo booth was out of order – but there was a photo booth “6 blocks down the street by the church.” Off through the rain we went looking for the (by then –“danged”) church……there it was – okay now we can get this thing moving! Small problem – no Euro coins for the self-serve booth. Found a coffee shop 2 blocks away - changed paper for coins and trudged back (still raining) to get the necessary photos. Of course the instructions were all in Spanish…..so found a 10 year old kid who helped us through the process (for a 5 Euro tip) and we were on our way back to the Embassy – the photos reflected our moods at the time – LOL. Oops – the Embassy was closing and we plaintively pled our case to a guard who finally granted us re-access.
We presented the (by now) soggy photos and waited. A while later a somewhat disgruntled clerk (guess she had been ready to go home for the day) called us to the desk - and 200 Euros later, she presented our replacement passports. We were home safe – NOT! She advised that she could not call a cab for us, but that if we just walked back down the street we could hail one……it was another trek through the rain – 5 or 6 blocks before we were successful in flagging-down a ride back to the hotel. Again, another endless “Euro-eating” ride!
Is it any wonder that after finally checking into the hotel near the airport our first visit was not to our room but to the bar?
FYI – had we been in any city in Spain except Madrid or Barcelona we would have had to travel to either for this process – GUARD YOUR PASSPORT!