Breakfast in Madrid is a Steal… Almost literally. ..

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“Beware of snatch thieves!” That’s what almost everyone told me when they heard I’ll be in Madrid after completing the Camino de Santiago up north of the country. Well, it’s my third day in the Spanish capital and seriously it has to be one of the most convenient cities that a tourist can find themselves in. As a new travel friend said, the city is big but necessities and amenities are extremely conveniently within reach. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, most of the locals especially service staff speak brilliant English. And if you keep your things tightly around you, especially in crowded areas, the city is relatively safe…

However an amazing incident this morning proved that you have to be on your guard at all times, even INDOORS. Before making my way to a tour of the Santiago Bernabau (home of Real Madrid), I opted to have a leisurely breakfast at a nice cafe a few doors down from my hotel on Gran Via called Le Pain Quotidien. I chose a table by the glass door entrance, seated facing it, meaning technically I can see everyone coming in. I ordered the nice set of items you see in the picture at the top. Ok, that huge baguette was an overkill as I didn’t know the Huevo Ecologico (soft 2-minute egg) came with 3 different pieces of lovely bread. The delicious Cortado coffee was served in a bowl and I drank it like I would Chinese tea. All these for just €6.50. Without the baguette, it wld have been only €4.40… Anyway, as any Singaporean would, I took a picture of the delightful sight with my mobile and placed it right next to my plate, as I usually do…

As I was whipping my egg – sorry, I’m not uppity enough to eat a soft egg in an egg cup – suddenly a young lad came over my table shoving a brochure of what seems to be baby strollers into my plate. He was pointing frantically at it and as I couldn’t understand a word he said, I said a firm no and just pushed his hand away cos frankly what annoyed me most was that the brochure was getting into my egg! I simply though he just wanted money cos there are well dressed beggers, mostly the elderly, who do that but here’s where a Madrid citizen hero, or rather heroine, sprung to my rescue. Before you could say Holy Batgirl!, the punkish waitress rushed out from behind the counter, grabbed the kid’s hand, snatched the brochure and voila – my handphone was right beneath it! With her fellow waiter, they both proceeded to throw the cad out of the cafe. She came back to me saying, “Don’t fall for the brochure ruse, that’s how they take things from the table.”

Ay Carumba, but I was inside a cafe! You’d think you would be safe! Well, that goes to show you need to be on your guard all the time in Madrid. Just want to thank the good Lord for protecting me, keeping me cool and calm throughout the whole proceedings – I actually continued eating my breakfast as if nothing happened as did the rest of the diners – and most of all, that there was a super duper alert and plunky waitress around to save the day for me. God knows what I’d do without my phone….

So lesson learnt: be alert at all times and don’t leave your valuables lying around as easy bait! In Madrid or anywhere else in the world for that matter!

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2 comments on “Breakfast in Madrid is a Steal… Almost literally. ..

  1. I had my handbag stolen in a coffee shop in Madrid. It was right next to me and someone came from the side and ran off with it. Unfortunately we didn’t catch him but months later the American embassy in Madrid sent my credit cards (which had been cancelled of course) and drivers license to my address in Brooklyn!

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    • marfield49 says:

      Whoa, thanks for sharing Sham! Proof that one definitely need to be on the alert with their bags and belongings at every time while in Madrid. On the streets I was extra careful to hold on to my sling bag away from the road, and while shopping I was literally sitting on it while trying on shoes. But I seriously didn’t think it could be done in a small cafe! Glad you got your important stuff back though. I wasn’t that lucky when I was pickpocketed in Paris – lost the whole wallet. Paris residents was telling me not to bother – just cancel the cards immediately and make a police report! I had to wake Siew Hwa up in the middle of the night in Singapore to cancel my cards with the banks then as I didnt have the right numbers!

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