New Year's Eve started out like any other day, really. It was Monday and Barcelonians were up and working, stores were open, the city was buzzing. We began with one of the better meals of the trip, at Flash Flash Tortilleria. Flash Flash opened in 1970 and apparently hasn’t changed since. It's style is once again of the moment, a lounge decorated entirely in white with black Twiggy-esque murals on the walls. The food was terrific and not expensive, bustling at 2 in the afternoon with families and couples enjoying, I imagine, their first real meal of the day as we were.
In the evening, we wandered back to Ciutat Vella in pursuit of some of the small bars we’d seen on our strolls. As usual, we hadn’t made plans for dinner so we thought we’d get lucky if we tried to get into a restaurant early – and we were right. We passed by several places that had a prix fixe menu, but chose a tapas place in El Born. It was perfect, low key and reasonable. As we dined, the place filled up rapidly. Lucky indeed.
After dinner we wandered around until we stumbled upon the Sub Rosa bar. It was a tiny place in an ancient building, and we found a corner table where we would sit and drink until ’07 became ’08. People came in and out, including a guy who seemed to zero in on us – he entered the bar and immediately approached our table, holding one rose and wouldn’t leave us until we paid him something for it. It cost 1 Euro. Thinking back, it may have cost us more.
After midnight, we left the bar and started down one of the alleys. We ended up in an enclosed courtyard, and before we knew what was happening, a young guy was on top of us, pushing us together, yelling fervently for us to kiss. I had a sense that something wasn't right, but couldn’t get my bearings before the guy was gone. And so was Dan’s wallet.
Yes. We should have known better.
It happened really fast, and it was maddening. My opinion was to return to the hotel immediately and call the credit card companies, maybe even call the police? I didn't know. In all my traveling, I'd never been robbed before. We started walking, and when we reached La Rambla - still packed with people celebrating the New Year - Dan announced that he wanted to try to find the guy that robbed us so he could get his wallet back. Full stop.
We didn’t argue about it for long. I tried to convince him that he wouldn’t find anything but trouble, running after thieves in Barcelona, but he didn’t waver. I spun around and started walking back to the hotel, thinking - of course he’ll follow me. He wouldn’t let me walk all the way back to the hotel by myself in a foreign city at 1am on New Year’s eve. (full disclosure: this was a calculated move to win the battle. I wasn’t worried about walking back to the hotel)
He didn’t follow me. Two blocks later I figured it out, and it was too late to turn back. I had to keep going and leave Dan behind, to do whatever he wanted.