Help in Madrid/Salamanca!

Jun 16th, 2006, 09:34 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
You are Spanish teachers ? Then a conference at the university it's the best place, specially in Salamanca, the most ancient university of Spain.
So the idea is a very good one. I can see the organizers don't have a clue about travelling and making things as easy as possible. You will love Salamanca, sure , it's gorgeous !!
kenderina is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 09:46 AM
  #22  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
I get that having it at the university will be cool. I am also into history, so it's a double bonus for me! My issue with the "organizers" is the lack of organization about the whole thing. We didn't even get a schedule of workshops until after the registration deadline. How are we supposed to know if we want to go until we see what's offered? I guess they were counting on people like me who said--it's SPAIN--who cares??? I know we'll have a great time regardless of any glitches that pop up, but seriously, you would think a professional organization could have handled the arrangements a little bit better, you know?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 09:49 AM
  #23  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
By the way, any suggestions about clothing and weather in Salamanca? I know it's beastly hot in Madrid this time of year, but the weather info I have seen on Salamanca is pretty vague--only giving average temperatures. I'm planning on mostly linen crop pants and cotton tops. Will I need anything for cool evenings or is that just wishful thinking? I'm sure I will overpack--I always do--but any suggestions?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 09:56 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
You are right, too bad organizing !!!
Salamanca is just as hot as Madrid is in summer , maybe temperatures go down a bit in the night but not enough to care too much about it My mom is from Salamanca and I happened to be many summers there...awful terribly dry hot !!! No one in the streets before 9 in the night , but that is a bit later than your dates, you will have still a rather plesant weather, I hope
kenderina is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 10:29 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,215
SiWash,

I'm so glad for you that you have decided to go to Madrid for the last night. I don't think you have to worry about traffic going to the airport on Sunday morning, there should be none( somebody correct me if I'm wrong). You should be able to get to Barajas airport in about 20 mins. from Madrid City center( if you're taking a cab).

It'll be great if you can leave Salamanca early Sunday, that way you have time to go to the Museums ( if you so choose) and a nice walk in Retiro park if it's not too hot. And in the evening, go for some tapas in Plaza de Santa Ana and end in PLaza Mayor. I love Plaza Mayor at night!

I agree with Kenderina, clothing for Salamanca should be summery. Bring a light sweater in case it gets cool at night ( it happened to us 2 years ago in Madrid during July. At night temps. went down and I was happy I had my sweater. You never know!).

Hopefully Maribel or other posters can suggest a hotel for your last evening that fits your requirement.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 12:27 PM
  #26  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Thanks cruiseluv for the traffic info, but we'll be heading to the airport on Monday morning--I'm guessing during rush hour. ICK. We'll be sure to get up early and allow plenty of time for traffic and for the legendary lines at Barajas.

BTW, I checked the hotel's cancellation policy in Salamanca. It says that any cancellation 10 days or fewer prior to arrival will lose the fee for the entire stay. OUCH! I'm not actually cancelling the reservation, just changing it, so hopefully I won't lose that last night's fee. I emailed the hotel today, so we'll see.

Thanks for the weather/clothing advice. It's pretty much what I thought. I'm in Oklahoma (talk about being beastly hot AND humid), so DRY heat will be a nice change. What's the time difference from Central time in the US? Isn't it 7 hours? I guess I could look it up...

Any tips on places to shop in either city? Best/cheapest place for Lladro? Leather? Cheesy souvenir crap?

Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 12:28 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
Hi Siwash,
I'm relieved!

About your questions:
The huge El Corte Inglés department stores are only allowed to be open a certain number of Sundays per year. I've checked the schedule at www.elcorteingles.es, and you're in luck! The huge downtown shopping complex at Preciados will open OPEN July 2!

About weather:
Salamanca, my former university, can get the extremes in temperatures-very hot (like Madrid) in summer and quite cold in winter.
It won't cool down much at night.

If you can leave the conference early, it makes much more sense, as cruiseluv says, to stay downtown and enjoy some of the city.
A taxi on Sun. morning should take absolutely no more than 20 min. and should cost 21-22 euros, including the obligatory supplement for the run to the airport (no charge for luggage carreid in trunk).
Upon your arrival in Barajas, pick up a brochure "taxi, bus, metro '06" for estimated fares. My normal run from in front of the Hotel Palace to the airport has been 20 euros lately.

If you want to be in the thick of things in Old Madrid in a cute little, attractively decorated, very well run, dependable hostal with a/c and elevator, btwn the Plaza Mayor and Plaza Santa Ana (tapas bar central),
CALL or FAX the Hotel Adriano (it takes them a while to respond to the flood of emails- there's not enough time). It's a favorite on Madridman.com and has been used by a very trusted Fodorite friend of mine (who may see this and reply and has very good taste). It's extremely popular given the high price/quality ratio and may already be fully booked for the summer. but give it a try. Only 63 euros for a double.
First see it at www.hostaladriano.com

For your date I also checked Bancotel (site is easier to negotiate in Spanish). It gave me 8 pages of hotel availability, but it's hard to know which to choose if you don't know the city-a pig in a poke. It gave me 142 hotels all over the place, ranging in coupon price from 60-250 euros. from 3 stars to super luxury.
Bancotel has changed its coupon system this year.-no longer uses just the 50 euro coupons. Remember you make your reservation on bancotel.com, then BUY that coupon at the Viajes Iberia branch in Salamanca.

I see two decent downtown bargains both for 60 € double.

My choice:
3 star Hotel Opera, next to the Royal Opera House and a stone's throw from the Royal Palace.

Other choice: 3 star newly renovated Hotel Tirol on Princesa in Argüelles, near the Plaza de España.

Also if you have to be near the airport, Bancotel has availability at the 3 star NH Express and 4 star Auditorium, both for 60 euros.

I also checked Halcon Viajes
http://www.halconviajes.com/viajes/a.../jsp/index.jsp
You purchase your coupon on their web page). I found two downtown.
my choice: Hostal Persal-more like a modest 2 star hotel and across from the new Hard Rock Hotel (still construction going on-yet to be officially inaugurated-so would need an interior room) off the Plaza Santa Ana for 63 €
Another choice: 2 star Hotel Asturias, 2 blocks from the Puerta del Sol for 60 €
These aren't fancy but have a/c, elevator and are cheap.

We sometimes use Halcon Viajes for last minute city stays. Got a 90 € rate at the 5 star Hotel Palafox in Zaragoza from them for your same date.

But I would definitely call or fax the Adriano first.

Good luck!



Maribel is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 12:35 PM
  #28  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Oh yeah, I forgot...

What about wearing crop length yoga-type pants on the airplane? Too utterly tacky? I want to be comfortable on my 16 hour+ flight (not counting the bus to Salamanca), but I don't want to be the obvious "ugly american" tourist, either. I know that shorts are a definite no-no, and I have seen enough other posts to know that people have some very strict ideas of what is and is not appropriate in Europe. I have some others that would look a bit nicer, but would not be nearly as comfy. At this point (and weight) in my life, being comfortable is a higher priority than looking good. That's 2 kids, a love for all types of carbohydrates and about 60 extra pounds will do for ya!
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 12:37 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
Oops,
That taxi ride is on Mon. morning, but it still should take no more than 20 min., and I would leave no later than 8.

Since El Corte Inglés will be open in Madrid on Sun., you can do your shopping in one fell swoop, even the cheesy stuff-just go to the "turismo" dept. Salamanca doesn't have a ECI, but there's a nice university shop that sells posters and tasteful memorabilia.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 01:30 PM
  #30  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Thanks, Maribel! You (and everyone else) have been awesome!

Since you seem to be Maribel-the-all-knowing-all-seeing-all-powerful ;-)~, what's your opinion on the yoga pants?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 02:10 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
The yoga pants are ok, but you can wear shorts..who said you cannot ? You are on vacation !! That said, don't wear them in Salamanca, they dress up to the nines for going to the bakery in front of their home !!! It's almost ridiculous for me, used to a coast location
kenderina is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 02:11 PM
  #32  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Also, what do you recommend regarding money? I am seeing on several posts that traveler's checks are outdated, but I can obtain those in euros, if that helps. Does it make a difference? What about just carrying cash (carefully) and a credit card? I don't have a PIN for my credit cards, plus I get charged outrageous international transaction fees, so using that at an ATM is not really an option. Any advice?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 02:20 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
No traveler checks , please !! And if you carry some..is better in dollars. You won't find very easily a place to change them (many banks don't want to do it)so, if you can't change them..if they are in dollars you can have your money back at home.
Best thing for cash are ATMs but with a debit card not a credit one, and use the credit for paying at hotels, restaurants, department stores... .
Maybe you can ask your bank for a debit card or an ATM only one. It's the easiest and cheapest solution.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 06:13 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,215
Hi Siwash,

Sorry that I missed you're flying out on Monday not Sunday. But like Maribel says, it shouldn't be a problem.

The yoga pants... What are these like? Like palazzo or gaucho pants?

Good luck with the cancellation. Today is exactly 10 days before so hopefully they will not charge you the fee!

All this talk about Salamanca makes me want to go back!!!!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 06:27 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
Hi Siwash92,
Change banks! I get charged practically nothing, zipoo, for my withdrawls from a Spanish ATM through my US bank. Nobody, I do mean nobody, uses travellers' checks, they're truly obsolete. Put enough money in a new account in a new bank to cover your expenses, in a bank that offers you a debit card that won't charge you outrageous fees for using a European ATM on the Cirrus/Plus system. And alert them that you will be using your ATM card in Spain.
I do carry 2 credit cards for major purchases and my ATM for cash withdrawls. I haven't bought travellers' checks in years, literally in years! There are more ATM machines in Spain than in any other Western European country.

About the yoga pants on the plane:
Who cares? I see anything and everything on the plane to Spain-people dress for comfort. It's a long ride from Oklahoma to Madrid (I actually know this!) Just be comfortable, and if you're comfortable, you''ll be happy and arrive happy, which is what matters.
But once in Salamanca, I would switch to long pants. It's a rather conservative town, as kenderina knows.

And again, good luck and have fun!
Maribel is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 09:19 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 609
Maribel, you are a walking guide book!

We went to Salamanca for the first time last fall and we liked it very much. There wasn't much English spoken in that town. Siwash, you will have many opportunites to use your Spanish!

As a light packer, I wouldn't wear anything on the plane that I couldn't wear again at my destination. I certainly agree that one needs to dress comfortably but perhaps that could be elastic waist black pants.

It is probably too late to get a new credit card but for future reference Capital One adds no additional charges to international purchases. We use that card only when we are traveling out of the country.

Our ATM transactions cost practically nothing. I agree, no traveler's checks.
Judi is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 12:46 PM
  #37  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Thanks everyone. I guess it's definitely ix-nay on the traveler's checks. Poor American Express. Whatever will they do? J have a Capital One card, so I will double check with them about fees. Thanks Judi!

Between all the different responses, I think we;ve covered this, but the yoga pants are almost like crop-length sweatpants. Good quality, but VERY casual. If Maribel thinks they are ok, then they must be. ;-) I have mostly crop length linen pants and a skirt for the rest of the trip, so I should be ok. I won't be dressing up for the bakery, so maybe that will keep me from going in...Ha ha.

I may have missed it somewhere along here, but we do need to go to the south bus station, right? And they do have a place to store our luggage for a few hours? I went to the auto-res website and tried to find out which station it is, but I couldn't find it. Must have overlooked it.

My friend read this post yesterday and emailed me to say how excited she got just from reading what everyone had to say. Our flight arrives at 9:30AM, so depending on how tired we are, we may stash our stuff at the bus station and explore Madrid for a few hours before we head to Salamanca. We may be exhausted from the flight and decide to head straight for the bus, so I'm glad we'll have most of that Sunday before we leave, just in case. Then again, just being there and breathing Spanish air may be enough to re-energize us. Thanks to all of you, we have the flexibility to wing it.
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 01:00 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,215
Hi SiWash,

It sounds like you're set to go! Did you find a hotel for your last night in Madrid?

With respect to the bus station: When I did the Madrid- Salamanca bus ride 2 years ago it was out of Estación Conde de Casal, calle Fernandez Shaw. So maybe double check if it's still from there.

Maybe Maribel knows for sure and will post.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 01:03 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
if i have missed a solution to your hotel, ignore this advice. there are NUMEROUS airport area hotels from 60 euros or so.
www.hotels.com, www.lastminute..com

www.rumbo.es has a nice list sometimes.

www.bancotel.es is not as great as it used to be as so many websites are now also getting similar rates without the coupon hassle.

we stayed at silken puerta madrid and it was great. (60 euros)
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 01:15 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 609
We left from Conde de Casal last October. The buses at that time were leaving at forty five minutes after the hour. We missed a bus by about five minutes and had to hang around the tacky bus station for an hour.

You will be happy with the bus; it is quite comfortable.
Judi is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:14 AM.