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England or Spain

Old Jun 24th, 2018, 10:21 AM
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England or Spain

Hello all,
my wife and I have our European trip coming up in September and we’ve yet to decide we’re to go. Our options are England (focusing in London with trips to Oxford and Bath) or Spain (Madrid with trips to Toledo and Salamanca).

We we are in our mid twenties and speak both English and Spanish fluently so language in either country is no problem. Now this is our first trip to Europe and would like to explore more places but unfortunately we only have 11 days in total, which I imagine traveling will take up 2 days.

Our interests are as follows. I enjoy museums, history, and generally making new friends. My wife enjoys experiencing new food and culture. I imagine the weather is probably better in Spain during September but I actually enjoy cloudy rainy days (am I wrong thinking this is English weather?).

To to make things short we just want to have a fun time, make new friends, and soak in a new culture. What do you guys recommend? Which would you chose?

Thanks!
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Old Jun 24th, 2018, 10:40 AM
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That is a tough question!

I love England and have been many times and never get tired of England. I love the history, culture, people, the beautiful countryside, the lovely quaint Cotswolds towns, etc.

I have never been to Spain but it is a country I plan to visit soon.

I don't think you can go wrong with either choice.
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Old Jun 24th, 2018, 10:51 AM
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I agree with nanabee that either would be wonderful ... but if food is a priority, I'd easily give Spain the nod. For Spain, I think the combination of Madrid, Toledo, and Salamanca perfect for the time you have.
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Old Jun 24th, 2018, 10:51 AM
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I have been to both several times. They could not be more different, but at the same time they both have fabulous museums, history, food, and culture. Making new friends isn't always easy in new surroundings, but I imagine your chances are equal in both places. If weather is an issue, then the balance could be tipped in favor of Spain, I suppose. I'd also give the edge to Spain with regard to food.

Keep reading and researching and with luck you'll find something about one place that makes it a bigger draw than the other.
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Old Jun 24th, 2018, 11:00 AM
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London has AMAZING restaurants. The food in Spain is wonderful too of course, but don't let the naysayers convince you British food is 'pants' (look it up )

>> I imagine the weather is probably better in Spain during September but I actually enjoy cloudy rainy days (am I wrong thinking this is English weather?). <<

Not necessarily. Early Sept can be really hot in parts of Spain. One can never generalize about British weather - it could be warm, cool, cold, clear, breezy, cloudy, rainy . . . and in 11 days you'll likely see all of the above.

The two could not be more different but both are terrific. Flip a coin and then plan on visiting the other one next year or in the future. . .
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 12:49 AM
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Two countries that represent two dissimilar things.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 01:25 AM
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I'm British and so have a bias, but Spain is a fine place and the area around the capital is very nice and can be too hot for me in August but by September is beginning to cool down enough to be bearable. London weather is relatively dry compared to the rest of the UK but every day in the UK is a "weather adventure" though the BBC webpages are getting relatively accurate there is no way of knowing what will happen in September.

Spanish/British food; well neither really exist as both countries are big enough to have regional foods, both countries' foods have come a long way in the last 20 years and I've certainly had disgusting meals in Spain and similar in the UK in my youth. Now a-days you will eat well in both though I think that the Spanish still struggle with the term vegetarian.

Making friends in just a few days in busy capitals.... could do.

For me the big difference between the two is that one includes London which is one of the world's two A+ cities (the other is New York) it is way bigger than Madrid and houses the museums of the world's biggest empire nearly all of which are free. London also houses people from more than 185 countries and so it is a little bit of the world in Europe.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 01:36 AM
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>> "I imagine the weather is probably better in Spain during September but I actually enjoy cloudy rainy days (am I wrong thinking this is English weather?)."

I am sitting here in the east of England watching the grass in my garden turn brown. It hasn't rained in at least three weeks, and the temperature in London is expected to reach about 30°C later this week. By September it will probably be pouring with rain.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 06:17 AM
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temperature in London is expected to reach about 30°C l
A mere 86F, lol. Last week the temps here in North Carolina hit 99F (37C) and I was thinking (yet again) about moving back to the UK where it would be cooler. But I do have central AC.

I am a big fan of London, and not so much of Madrid, although I loved Salamanca (deserves more than a day trip). One problem I have with Spain is the daily schedule. Even in the north, in late autumn, everything shuts down in the afternoon, and dinner doesn't start until 10:00pm (although you can eat tapas instead). I am not sure either country is great for instant friendships with locals.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 06:26 AM
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Last week the temperatures in Denver were in the high low 90s. It was dreadful.

Salamanca and Toledo are places shrouded with mystique and intrigue, at least in mi mind. That is a huge reason why I have them both on a possible itinerary.

I am leaning more towards England right now for numerous reasons. Thanks for the tips.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 06:32 AM
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Thursdaysd, before I moved to the UK I lived in Texas, where 99F is about normal this time of year, but everyone stays near AC whenever possible. Last summer I stayed in a modern hotel near Twickenham Station that wasn't air-conditioned, and the heat in my 9th floor room was almost unbearable.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 06:43 AM
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In NC we used not to hit the high 90s until July, but summer is starting earlier and lasting longer, and I am very tired of spending it indoors with the AC. But I do agree that Europe including England is ill-equipped for higher temps. I was in London in July a few years back when there was a heat wave and it was miserable. But short-lived. (I remember Germans arguing that you didn't need AC in Berlin, I didn't believe them and was very glad I hadn't.) I do think the humidity is worse here.

I wouldn't say that Salamanca was shrouded in mystique, but it does have worthwhile sights, see:

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ely-salamanca/
https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...rky-salamanca/
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 06:50 AM
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Actually I was reacting to "cloudy rainy days" being typical English weather. Right now I would welcome a good rainstorm to water my garden, but it doesn't look like we will have one for at least another week.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 06:58 AM
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Madrid is fine, but there's only one London. You could easily spend your entire time in London and still leave with your list barely scratched.

But the virtue of London is that you can be pretty much anywhere in England, even southern Scotland, in just a few hours, while in Spain you'll be pretty limited to areas close enough to Madrid for easy access, like Salamanca or Toledo. In the same time it would take you to get to Salamanca from Madrid, in England you can be in Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, even York. Just more options.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 07:16 AM
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“Even in the north, in late autumn, everything shuts down in the afternoon, and dinner doesn't start until 10:00pm (although you can eat tapas instead). I am not sure either country is great for instant friendships with locals.”
Many stores close for a few hours in the afternoon but bars and outdoor cafes are generally open all day .We love the outdoor, late nighs lifestyle in Spain ,
( probably because it is so different than ours)
Almost everywhere one can have a formal ( sit down restaurant) dinner by 9:00.
We visited both country many times ; the Brits and Spaniards are
friendly and helpful although I would not expect “ instant friends “ anywhere.

Madrid is usually hot ( figh 80s) into October.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Madrid is fine, but there's only one London. You could easily spend your entire time in London and still leave with your list barely scratched.

“ while in Spain you'll be pretty limited to areas close enough to Madrid for easy access, like Salamanca or Toledo. In the same time it would take you to get to Salamanca from Madrid, in England you can be in Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, even York. Just more options.
Incorrect
From Madrid (In less than an hour) one can reach : Toledo, Segovia, Escorial, Cuenca, Alcala de Henares ,Aranjuez.
in 1:40 minutes : Salamanca, Córdoba , Valencia and Zaragoza.
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Old Jun 25th, 2018, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
One problem I have with Spain is the daily schedule. Even in the north, in late autumn, everything shuts down in the afternoon, and dinner doesn't start until 10:00pm (although you can eat tapas instead).
BMH, that's one of the things I enjoy most about Spain! IME, there's at least something to do mid-day, even for those of us who (like me) don't dine then; in contrast, I appreciate that things are open a bit later. But then, I don't usually eat until very late in the evening, even when not traveling.

As for days trips / nearby locations, I think the facts will support danon -- at least with today's high-speed rails, one's options within an hour or two of Madrid are extensive.

BTW, I think bilboburgler's warning to vegetarians may be worth noting: IME, it can be difficult to find strictly vegetarian dishes on Spanish menus, particularly if not at a tapas or pintxos bar. Another Fodorite once said that vegetables are (like chicken -- which is also infrequent on Spanish menus) considered too pedestrian for an occasion that would call for dining out. I don't know if that's true, but it could be a consideration....
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Old Jun 30th, 2018, 03:35 AM
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After having visited both just recently I would pick Spain. Great food, and we seemed to have a better standard of accommodation than in England. Salamanca and Burgos are beautiful and so is Madrid, with my favourite place being Seville.
England is a beautiful country as well just expensive. Whatever you decide enjoy the planning.
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Old Jun 30th, 2018, 05:15 AM
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England is a beautiful country as well just expensive.
Not necessarily. The big museums in London are free. You can eat cheaply if you try. Staying in B&Bs is more fun and a cheaper than hotels.Walking in the countryside is free and there are load and loads of places to do that. I will give you that trains are expensive, but even then booking well ahead will help.
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Old Jun 30th, 2018, 08:49 AM
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>>England is a beautiful country as well just expensive.<<

Can be expensive of course (as can Spain), but not if one does adequate research re all the free stuff, reasonable to downright cheap quality accommodations, 2for1 schemes, etc etc.
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