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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Remember, not everyone's on holiday (or, how, no matter how chilled you are, it pays to keep your eye on the ball)

The old saying 'you never think it's going to happen to you' rings particularly true for something that happened whilst we were on holiday in Spain recently.

We've been there lots of times. Indeed, we have had a small apartment there for the past six years (pictured). Tucked away in a very quiet spot away from the main drag, it was meant to be an investment, but sods law we bought it at the time the property market had peaked and the euro was 1.65 against the pound. Today it's worth less than we paid for it, plus one English pound only equates to around 1.14 in euros, which means in effect that everything costs a good 40% more than it used to. But all that's another story!

Three days from the end of our break this time round and one of our friends had recommended a beach we hadn't been to before, El Rosario, which is between Marbella and Calahonda on the Mijas Costa (or 'Costa del Sol' as it is better, but not in a good way, known). 'Very good for kids' he said. 'Goes out a long way before getting too deep to paddle in'.

Always game to act upon a recommendation, we set off, first for the shopping centre to get a few bits and pieces and then on to El Rosario.

Sure enough, it is a lovely beach. Very busy at this time of year, but once you get your pitch it's a great place to while away an afternoon with the kids.

Except for one thing.

All the time we were there we had kept a careful eye on our belongings and one of us was always within touching distance of our almost two year old son who, mid afternoon, dropped off in his pushchair for his usual nap.

We decided to leave around 10 to 5, gathered up our stuff and made our way back to the car, which was parked some 300 yards away.

It was only upon getting back to the car however, that my wife made a horrible discovery. Her bag was missing. Passport, driving licence, credit cards, 150 euros on cash, camera phone complete with pictures taken during the holiday as well as a customised ring tone of our older son singing - all gone.

Of course we did the usual running back to the beach and looking in places we knew it wouldn't be in, but it soon sunk in that it had been stolen, on the beach in broad daylight whilst we milled around the 'pitch' that we had chosen for the day. How, we're not quite sure, but that somehow wasn't important at that precise moment. We had to somehow remedy the situation the best we could.

A trip to the police station some 30 minutes away followed. In the interim one of my brother in law's back in the UK had texted me the numbers to cancel the credit cards.

When my wife phoned the card company she was told that someone had tried to draw out 200 euros barely 15 minutes beforehand. Luckily they had failed in their quest but it was evidence enough that it had been stolen, not mislaid.

As it happened on a Friday afternoon, there was nothing we could do about getting an emergency passport until after the weekend on what was meant to be the last morning of our holiday. We were flying at 3.30pm so had to leave early to go to the British Consulate in Malaga, whereupon we had to shell out 115 euros for a passport that is valid for one trip! You could say it was an expensive trip!

So, a word of warning - it CAN happen to you, particularly when you're so chilled that you're not keeping your eye on the ball - or in this instance, bag.

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