How I Caught the Barcelona Blues

How I Caught the Barcelona Blues

My first time in Barcelona was inspiring. The architecture. The people. The energy. The art. The food… you know? It’s just so special. But it’s so special now- that I’m looking back. In the moment, I was suffering from the worst downhill spiral of events. It all started on La Rambla and involved an allergic reaction in Barcelona.

La Rambla is a boulevard for pedestrians lined with trees and restaurants, littered with street performers, people watchers, cafes, and so much more. It’s so lively and full of tourists…  and therefore thieves.

But the thieves weren’t the problem for me, in the beginning. It was La Boqueria, the huge and incredible public market that hosts vendors selling everything from fruit and flowers to pigs and chickens. It really is a sight to see. And it’s the place to go if you want to taste Barcelona through food.

But only if you live an allergy-free life or are extremely cautious. When I went I was cautious… just not quite cautious enough… apparently.

I was with two friends and we decided to get some meat, cheese, and fruit, and have ourselves a little picnic. My personal favorite!

I love picnics for a few reasons:

  1. You can bring your own allergy safe food
  2. People watching is the name of the game, and I’m team captain
  3. It’s relaxing

To be fair, the list could go on. But let’s just pause there on the picnic list and continue with my story.

So we found a spot and started snacking. And kept snacking. Until my throat got itchy. And then my ears.

These were symptoms I recognized – but the origin I didn’t. I had eaten some cheese, then I ate some meat, then I ate some fruit.

It simply didn’t make any sense. An allergic reaction in Barcelona… from what?

I took some Benadryl and shortly after the symptoms went away. But I had to be absolutely sure (duh) that I completely eradicated the symptoms so I took my epinephrine – fully knowing that it most likely wasn’t necessary.

Why? Well, simply put: better safe than sorry.

So I went back to the hostel to rest up and be around people, and wouldn’t you know it… I made a friend.

He came with me to go buy more epinephrine from a pharmacy and then walked me back to the hostel.

All was good! It was good until dinnertime when he accompanied me to meet my friends back on La Rambla so we could get some food. Admittedly, I was nervous to eat something foreign, so we opted for McDonald’s. Always safe, always unhealthy.

We got our food, sat down, put our backpacks under the table by our feet, and started eating, When we got up to leave, I noticed something: my backpack was gone. My backpack with my brand new, very expensive EpiPens was gone. My friends backpacks, though, were still there.

We searched high and low. And that’s when I realized it had been lifted… somehow. Just my pack, of course.

So I went back to the pharmacy, bought more epipens in case of another allergic reaction in Barcelona (doubted it would happen, happy to say it didn’t), and went straight to the airport. 

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