Help in Madrid/Salamanca!

Jun 15th, 2006, 02:25 PM
  #1  
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Help in Madrid/Salamanca!

My friend and I will be traveling to a conference in Salamanca. Other than the day we arrive, we won't have any time in Madrid, but I would like for her to see the Prado and some of the sights around town before we catch our train (or bus)to Salamanca. (I've been before--but 20 years ago.) Is there anywhere to safely store our luggage (lockers, etc.) at either the Chamartin train station or bus station while we zip around town for the day? If not, we will have to go straight to Salamanca and try to find a day during our conference with no workshops to go back to Madrid. Also, what's best: bus or train? Our flight leaving Spain (sad, sad day) departs at 11:30AM. I know that there is a train leaving Salamanca at 6:00AM, but is there a bus? Are there taxis available in Salamanca at oh-dark-thirty to take us to either station from our hotel or will we be hoofing it that early? Any help is greatly appreciated!
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Could you go directly to Salamanca and then add a night at the end in Madrid? That way you wouldn't have to worry about getting to the airport on time.

The bus to Salamanca is quite nice.

Salamanca is a very pretty city. If I had to choose between Salamanca and Madrid I would choose Salamanca for a place to spend your time.

Taxis will be available any time you need them.

Have fun!
Judi is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:42 PM
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Please, don't think you will arrive on time to a 11:30 AM flight if you stay the night before in Salamanca. No matter bus or train..the connection is too tight and I don't think you want to lose the flight You can leave your luggage in lockers at the station (train , not sure on bus station)in Madrid.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:09 PM
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I agree with Kenderina.
You won't make a 11:30 flight if it's international by leaving Salamanca at 6.
It's a 2 1/2 hr. bus or train ride, plus you'll need to taxi to Barajas airport , plus for an international flight you'll want to be at Barajas a full 2 1/2 hrs. before the flight. Check in lines (unless you're first class /business or gold card) are extremely long at all times.

And if you're flying out of the new T4, it's truly enormous and to walk from one end to another can take a full one half hr. (not kidding!)

Yes, taxis are available at all hrs. in Salamanca.

As Kenderina says, you can leave your luggage at the "consigna" at Chamartín station or at the Auto-Res bus station (it's the co. that services Salamanca).
For the bus schedule see
www.auto-res.es
The first a.m. bus from Salamanca to Madrid is at 6 a.m. The latest evening bus departs at 9:30. Both are express service.

I like taking the express bus btwn Salamanca and Madrid because it has leather seats, a video is shown, beverages served, it has a 2-1 seat configuration and holds only 30+ passengers and is usually very quiet and takes about 2 hrs. 15 min. door to door.
Plus as another poster noted recently, it's easier to allow the bus driver to store your luggage in the underbelly of the bus than to lug it up the train steps yourself and then try to find space in the luggage racks at the end of each wagon or the tiny overhead bins. Also the train is aT.R.D. and tourist class only.

That said, I would go straight to Salamanca and come back to Madrid the night before your flight out, as Judi wisely suggests.

Hope this helps.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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Thanks for all the advice everyone!

We would love to spend the mnight before in Madrid, but the hotel reservations had to be made way before the flights, so we are stuck with what we have. The sponsors of this conference have been SO unorganized and it's really frustrating. I know we'll be cutting it close to take the 6:00am bus/train and get into Madrid at 8:30, but that still gives us 30 minutes to get to Barajas and be 2 1/2 hours before our flight. Is this truly not enough time? It will cost us a fortune to change our flight reservations plus we'll lose the night's lodging in Salamanca and have to pay for another night in Madrid. Any suggestions for cutting down the time?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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Siwash,
Take the express bus, which at that hr. should actually get in 15 min. early to the Auto-Res station on Conde de Casal. Then rush to a taxi to Barajas. From there it should be a 15-20 min. max trip to the airport via the Avenida del Mediterráneo and M40, provided it's not the beginning of a bank holiday. Will you be leaving from T1 or T4? What is your airline? If you're flying business or if you're a gold car member of certain airlines (US Air, for example) you'll get a much shorter line.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:53 PM
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We are flying on Continental, but I have no idea which terminal they use. How do I find out?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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It's Terminal 1. One World Alliance (American BA, Iberia) uses Terminal 4.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:59 PM
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Hi Siwash,

I have to concur with the recommendation of going the night before to Madrid. I have flown on Continental from Barajas several times and the lines there are sometimes not to be believed! And then you might get "lucky" like my husband, and be pulled to yet another line where you are asked to empty your suitcase and then repack it! That time he barely made it to the gate on time , and this was after arriving 3 hrs. prior to the airport!

I understand the financial implications you explain but , based on my experiences in Barajas, I know I would gladly bite the bullet and pay for the "extra" hotel night in Madrid. That way at least I would have peace of mind. But of course, that's me. I always worry about "Murphy's law"!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:41 PM
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You don't have to change flights..just lose one hotel night in Salamanca and pay for it in Madrid. I'm sorry the conference organization hadn't thought about it, they should have do it.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:20 PM
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Again, thanks for all the help. It would make me feel better, too, I just haven't been able to work it out yet and money is definitely an issue.

I will ask the hotel in Salamanca--maybe I can get a refund for that one night. Any suggestions for a good, safe, cheap hotel in Madrid? I saw some on Expedia with free airport shuttles for around $75. Does anyone know anything about the hotel in the Chamartin train station?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:24 PM
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Siwash92
I really think kenderina, Judi and cruiseluv are right,
A night's lodging in Madrid might be a very small price to pay rather than risk missing your flight to Newark because you've cut it too close.

Everytime my husband and I arrive at Barajas 3 hrs. early (and we use ff miles to upgrade to business or pull out our gold card so we enjoy a short line) I'm very glad that we did.

If the extra night's lodging cost is a major concern, you can find something at
www.hotelsearch.com
Better still if it's on a weekend.
Or check
www.bancotel.com.
Something will be available for one coupon, and you can buy individual coupons at all Viajes Iberia travel agencies. No need to buy a 5 coupon checkbook, as the Bancotel site indicates. There's a Viajes Iberia in Salamanca, on Plaza Canalejas 22, so buy your coupon there-there's a 3 euro service charge, but well worth it.
Halcón Viajes travel agency, with branches everywhere, has a similar system called "Weekend Plan" (but hotels available every day, not just weekends) with low Madrid hotel rates, if you're not particular about where you stay or how many stars.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Sorry Siwash,
While you were writing, I was composing.
I'm sure you can find something for 75 euros on the internet. The sites I gave you or Expedia or
www.utell.com
www.atrapalo.com
www.edreams.es
www.laterooms.com

Yes, there's a hotel at Chamartín station, but I haven't used it.

Here's a site to check the myriad airport area lodgings (there are a dozen-some with free shuttle service)
www.madridairporthotelguide.com
Maribel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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SiWash,

Obviously, I don't know the particulars of how this hotel reservation in Salamanca was done but my experience with hotels(unless they are small bed and breakfast type) is that they allow you to cancel up to 24-48 hrs before arrival. So it certainly doesn't hurt to approach the hotel in Salamanca and propose this.

As usual, Maribel is a wealth of information. I'm sure you will be able to find some reasonable hotel in Madrid using one of the sources she suggests. What time of the year are you going?

Good luck!

cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:07 PM
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Hi cruiseluv and Siwash,
Yes, as crruiseluv says, your Salamanca hotel probably has a liberal cancellation policy, so I wouldn't worry about that.

One more:
www.placestostay.com

cruiseluv,
On another note: If you'd like a list of our favorite tapas bars in Santander, just send a email to my web page, and I'd be delighted to send you some recs.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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Thank you Maribel, will do!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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I stayed last June in a clean and well located 2* hotel in Madrid:
Hotel Mexico. My friend in Madrid booked it for me and I was completely satisfied. Simple but clean, breakfast available, nice staff, decent bathroom and close to the Prado as well as great pedestrian streets w/ food & drink. If you are interested I can find the info on it...

I stayed there by myself and felt safe.

(Don't know if they have any airport transportation)
annabelle2 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 05:14 AM
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Siwash, please try to cancel that last night in Salamanca and get a hotel in Madrid or even better, near Barajas airport.

Also, if possible, get the bus. My friends in Salamanca prefer it to the train, and with good reason (it is faster and nicer).

I have stayed a couple of times in the Husa Chamartin (I guess thatīs the one you are talking about, right on top of the station). Nothing fancy about it. Itīs OK if you are on a business trip and you just need a place to stay, but the area is not specially interesting and you wonīt be saving a lot of time for your morning trip to the airport.

Rgds, Cova
cova is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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Siwash,
We might be able to help you more specifically about low cost Madrid lodging if we knew the date of your last night. If your trip is coming up very soon, your options aren't as broad.

Also do you specifically to stay at an airport hotel or would an inexpensive place downtown do as well?
In the intense Madrid summer heat, a/c is really a must, so I would direct you to a small hotel or hostal with a/c and preferably a lift.

As cova and cruiseluv confirm, the bus is more comfortable than the train. If you take the bus it wouldn't make much sense to stay at the Chamartín train station hotel.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 09:01 AM
  #20  
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Thanks again, everyone! I never expected so much help!

We are leaving the US on June 25. We lose a day going over, so we arrive on the 26th and leave on July 3rd. Based on what everyone is saying, we will need to leave Salamanca on that Sunday, July 2 and spend that night in Madrid in order to make our flight out of Barajas. That will be easy enough to do with all of the busses (not trains--I get that!) that run between the two cities. I'll find a cheap hotel in Madrid and enjoy the peace of mind!

Trying to get to this conference has been a complete nightmare. First of all, who has a conference in a city that has no airport--and makes no arrangements (or gives info) for the attendees to get there by bus/train? Add that to the fact that they are holding the conference at the university and just gave everyone a list of hotels--not necessarily nearby--instead of having the conference in a hotel and reserving a block of rooms. If it weren't in Spain (which I love), I would probably have given up a long time ago, especially after the trouble I had getting my passport. All of you have been so helpful--bad news and all--this posting has been the highlight so far!!

As for location of the yet-to-be-named cheap hotel in Madrid, I was thinking close to the airprt would be best, in order to save time on the morning of our flight. However, depending on what time the conference is actually over, we could leave Salamanca earlier and have some time to play in Madrid. In that case, something fun downtown would be nice--especially if it were close to the tapas bars. That would be a great way to spend our last night in Spain! It's been 20 years, but from what I remember, you can get anywhere in Madrid easily enough with the metro and a metro map. How much does it cost now, anyway?

The Hotel Mexico that was mentioned earlier might work, but if anyone else has a specific suggestion, that would be great. It's hard to know what's good just by looking at pictures on the websites. Maybe close to the airport is best for time's sake and just plan on using the metro for our night before excursions. A trip to Corte Ingles will definitely be in the works--the one on Gran Via is open on Sundays, right? Any other suggestions for cheesy souvenir shopping? My friend and I are both Spanish teachers, so we will be looking for things to use in our classrooms.

Thanks again!
Siwash92 is offline  

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