This is part 2 of 5 of our 2020 Europe Trip. See part 1 here.

We packed a lot of sights and food into our week in Barcelona. Some of them include: the MNAC, Ciutadella Park, Labyrinth Park, Montjuic Castle, Barcelona Cathedral, Pablo Picasso Museum, La Rambla, Barcelona’s Triumphal Arch, among others.

But there were two sights that stood out the most for us. One was the Museum of Barcelona’s History, with its underground Roman ruins. It’s basically an entire city block of preserved Roman ruins underneath a modern buildings. It’s interesting to see how the city developed and re-used the Roman stone blocks for other projects over time, for example, how the Roman temple became an early Christian church, etc. Fascinating history.

Fast forward to modern times, the most famous architect of Barcelona is Gaudi and it’s easy to see why. His designs are so different and spectacular in their own way. His unfinished masterpiece is the Familia Sagrada Cathedral. Amazing! Some of his other interesting works that we saw include Parc Guell and Casa Batllo.

But even the beautiful, sparkly city of Gaudi has it’s shadow side. Our kids, being homeschooled in a fairly sheltered environment, were not used to the problems of large metropolitan cities. We had lots of safety briefings and conversations about crime, and warned them of petty thefts such as pickpockets. Little did we know that one such scene would unfold before our eyes.

Standing outside Casa Batllo (photo above left), we had just gotten our pictures taken. Another family was also in front of the Casa Batllo, a man about my age, his wife and young son. The man approached me and handed me his digital SLR camera. “Please,” he said gesturing, and I understood that he wanted me to take a picture of him and his family.

I set up the shot, framing the building in the LCD display. The man walked toward his wife…and then proceeded to walk away from them to a bench.

Confused, I followed him. Perhaps he was looking for a better location to take the picture? He and his wife started arguing in another language, all the while walking around, ignoring me. This was the strangest request for a picture I’ve ever had.

Only when he started asking the security guard in front of the building did I realize he lost something. Perhaps a bag or backpack. Over the next few minutes, I pieced together that he placed a gray bag on the bench, and it was stolen when he left it to take pictures of his wife and kid.

He and his wife were now distraught. Voices were raised. The kid was running around asking questions to anyone who would listen.

After a few minutes, the man realized I still had his camera and came back to me. He asked if I saw anyone take his bag, before taking back his camera.

I felt for the poor soul. They were probably hoping that someone would show up with it, or bring it to the security guard, but that was wishful thinking. Especially when there was an underground metro station 20 feet from the bench. A thief would likely run off and disappear into the subway system.

But our kids witnessed the unfolding scenario and saw firsthand the importance of securing their belongings.