Local people, Madrid
You have all heard this a million times before, but beware of the pickpockets. Although I believe it is not as bad as places like Barcelona, but just keep an eye and hand on your belongings.
Don't keep a wallet in your backpocket in crowded areas, and wear a money belt, or just have front pockets.
Please alert the police there, I am back home in California and can't find the local police's number. I signed up while there on a couple of internet mailing list and I suppose that's how they got my email, so TOURISTS, DON'T LEAVE YOUR PERSONAL INFO ANYWHERE!
They send an email claiming you won the "Loteria Shop Nacional Award Español 2007" and that you now must pay processing fees to collect your money. The phone number they give is in Madrid, with the country code for Spain (34) in front of it. It is 652-541-356. They also give a fax number: 34-940-468-530. The so-called claims agent's address is given as Mr. Sabastin Antonio, C/Santander, 1 28008 Madrid, Spain. It seems however that the email itself is coming from Germany (.de suffix), so they have an accomplice there. That email is email@example.com. I haven't been to Germany since I was 9 so that's not where they got MY email...
Someone local, please let the local police know about this so they can stop these people. I'm a European living in Los Angeles who travels A LOT and this is my only bad experience with Spain. I was in Ibiza and Palma De Majorca when I was 12 and had a GREAT time! I LOVE Spain! Of course, there are some pick-pockets but they are everywhere! You just have to be careful. Women, don't cary a purse. Wear high boots and keep your ID and $ in there! :)
Pickpockets run rampent in Madrid. Do not fear your life, for the pickpockets are not violent criminals. If you catch them they will most likely run away. But they are seldom caught. Stealing for pick pockets is their trade and they are damn good at it. They scope out their victom for a while and then strike. SO DON"T LOOK LIKE A TOURIST.
Madrid is said to be one of the worst cities in world for petty theft. Thre subways are the place to always make sure that you know where your belongings are. Pick pockets use many set ups and gimmicks to trick people. And remember pick pockets up can be anyone, from the very young to the very old.
I personally never was pick pocketed in Madrid while I lived there, but I was I a few situations where I felt I was being eyed up for a pick pocketing. So just remember to who where your things are when a lot of people are close to you. Don't let it comsume your mind, but just remember it on subways, puerta del sol, plaza mayor, and other crowded places.
If you are a blond girl you are going to get hassled. I don't really know why, as there are lots of Spanish girls who are blond. Just be prepared to have "Rubia" (blond woman) shouted at you wherever you go. Just what these men think they are going to achieve is beyond me....
Perhaps as five Irish students we were totally naive, but we SO didn't anticipate the amount of comments thrown in our direction walking down the streets. Most of the time it was harmless fun, but there were one or two incidents where we all felt unsafe. Opening the door to our apartment building,a young guy approached my friend,offering to open the door if she gave him the key.When she refused he became extremely irate, and started swearing at us in spanish. He even came back a second time to offer more abuse!We were also followed on the metro by a group of young boys who insisted on standing beside us -not the nicest thing at 9 at night!Just be careful!
In this pic you can see two very dangerous persons: Jose Luis my beloved friend in Madrid and the actor Florentino Fernández. They are very dangerous. Sorry J.L and Flory! This is just a joke... ;-P