I returned to the hotel and approached the front desk to tell them what had happened to us, hopeful that they would be able to advise me on what to do; or, at the very least, give me a free glass of rioja to make me feel better. No such luck. The front desk attendant gave me a weak smile (dare I say, disdainful?), and said he was sorry to hear about our trouble. When I remained at the desk, he asked me if I wanted to call the authorities? I didn't really, and resigned myself to what had happened. He said to me that it is a common story, being robbed in Barcelona, as if that was supposed to provide me with comfort. Anger changed hands with concern, and I began to wonder whether Dan would return or not.
He had taken off from where I left him to find the neighborhood ring of thieves, in the hopes that someone would lead him back to his wallet. He asked around, and it didn't take long before he found himself in the Arabic section of Barcelona, in a plaza where I'd taken his picture a few days earlier. For 50 Euros, he was told he could get his wallet back. Someone handed him a key and led him to a building, where he waited outside for further instructions. There was an argument, followed by confusion about why he was there, and when he was asked 'where's your girlfriend, the blonde?', he decided that entering the building and continuing on his quest was no longer a good idea. (this is my version of the story - Dan, feel free to fill in the details...)
Almost two hours later, he returned to the hotel in one piece with an adventure story buzzing in his head, which became even more interesting when this story broke, not a month after that night.
Despite the distressing first hours of new year, we managed to recover the next day. At sunset, we found a place in Port Vell with a view of the harbor and the sea, where we sat outside under heat lamps. It was our first meal on New Year's Day, and over rioja and a gorgeous paella, we recounted the unexpected adventure and astonishing beauty we'd found in Barcelona, and decided to keep it on our list. Of places to return to.