Robbed #when in Athens
The thing is I’m a little bit conflicted posting this. You see, there have been a lot of awful stories from other travelers even pro-backpackers from being robbed and left with nothing. In comparison, we got off lightly and were lucky not to suffer from more horrific loss.
On our first day in Athens we were perfectly fine, the neighborhood of the place we stayed was pretty safe even during late nights. Not on our second day, we were up early to visit Acropolis, Plaka and the markets. We brought each of us small bags few things we needed for documentation and some necessities. Hiroki had his black body bag with him, inside was our passports, watch and his two wallets. One- with the ids’, cards and money and another empty but pricy wallet -don’t ask me why on earth would you bring something pricy and not necessary, because it was already there from the start). We just did what we should on that day, visited many attractions, sat under an olive tree while watching painters draw the beauty of Acropolis, watched the sunset at the top of Mars Hill/ Aeropagus, walked the villages that paved way to Plaka and haggled for souvenirs. Not around nine in the evening while we were walking around the village near Loakim, Hiroki discovered the empty wallet was not inside his body bag. He presumed he might have left it inside our room because I reminded him, to ditch off items we will not use outside.
We were so frustrated at first that we almost turn our room upside down to look for that one “valuable” purse and to our dismay we were doubtless it was missing. Since it was already late in the evening, all we could do was to recall where did the incident took place. We remember reading some advises about the thieves being very common in crowded areas especially inside the subway, market and outside the airport. We then realized while we were getting off Syntygma station on our way to Acropolis, though the train was not even full, Hiroki was left behind got stuck among the passengers. And when I looked behind, something dropped on the floor and I noticed it was my sunglass (which was inside hiroki’s body bag). As I was to pick it up a lady suddenly grabbed the shades and handed it to me. I sensed something was weird but we were not bothered at all because all our things seemed untouched and everything happened so fast. So all we have now is just assumptions as to where the villain did his/ her ninja moves.
Fortunately, we both have travel insurance, Hiroki called the insurance company and was advised on what should we do so we can claim the value of the lost item once we are back in Japan.
The next morning, after informing the hotel of our incident they gave us the direction to the police station (we needed to get a police report copy as a requirement for the insurance claim). But the police station address that the hotel gave us was different as they don’t cater tourist and transfered us to different station. When we arrived at the tourist police station, there were few tourists complaining of stolen travel documents. The greek police were helpful as some of them speak english and since they can no longer do anything about our case they made a detailed report documentation of our incident,in Greek. It only took us 15 minutes to finish everything
Why I’m Writing This post
It’s not that we were not aware about the precautions traveling to Athens. And I know for sure it is not only in Greece where these kind of crimes happen. I, as a Filipino; who have experienced living in province and Manila, am aware of these crimes (especially pickpocket) and how to avoid them as much as possible.
And as a couple, we talked about whether to keep this incident privately within us and our families or write about it. So the reason of this post is not to entitle myself and pretend this is something unbelievably shocking to happen to us. It could have been worst where the snatcher could have stolen not the empty wallet but rather our passports or ids, however, we were still lucky. But it is for this exact reason I want to share it, because for sure this incident won’t stop me from travelling and made me realize how to act in certain situations….and hopefully someone out there might benefit from reading what I learnt
- If you are in Athens, other police stations don’t cater complaints of tourist except the one which is located near Klafthmonos Square in central Athens, in an arcade at 4Dragatsaniou Street, as they call it tourist police.
- Importance of getting yourself an insurance when travelling especially to areas where there is a real threat of getting robbed. Actually, it was Greece Embassy’s’ one requirement during the visa application. I am not infact used to enrolling myself into insurances because of my belief that if you will be vigilant and practice common sense, take the utmost care of yourself and your belongings, then there will be a little chance of you being involved in such dangers. But having this insurance kept us from the burden of bearing the loss.
- Just because you are inside a guarded area or not on the street, doesn’t mean there’s no threat of being robbed. Make sure to take EXTRA precautions not leaving your belongings unattended.And hold your bag, put it in a position that no one will have the chance to open it except you.
- Of course all thieves have one thing in common, they want something they can generate money. So as much as possible spread your cash around you, by using different wallet s or putting some amount inside the pockets of your bag so that you’re less likely to lose everything all at once
- Stay calm. After the incident, pray for guidance and to see greater things beyond this unfortunate experience. Don’t let it ruin your long time planned vacation.
I remember before we left Athens, the owner of Cocomat hotel talked to us and expressed his sympathy. He also said this might be one reason why we need to go back to Athens someday to experience more of its beauty and of course to see Meteora
See our Athens, Greece travel guide
Or visit the specific Precautions #whenin Athens
Is Travel Insurance necessary?