Help in Madrid/Salamanca!

Jun 17th, 2006, 02:50 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,850
I have been sort of detached recently, but am excited to see someone is headed to Salamanca, though the organization is spotty. I hope at least the conference content is interesting!

There is so much to do in Salamanca, though since the last time I was there, Casa Lis (a great little museum) has closed. Perhaps by now it is re-opened. If it is, you should go, and if not, at least look at it from outside so you can see the stained glass.

Though there is no sea in Salamanca, there is a little "beach" by the river where I have gone sunbathing (top on, as no one else had theirs off). It is a nice place to relax on a sunny day and it would be a pity to return from Spain without a little color.

Have drinks in the Plaza Mayor and if the Tunos are out at night, enjoy the show.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 02:58 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 609
Here are some photos from our last Spain trip (we go every year) including some photos of Salamanca.

http://homepage.mac.com/pj2592/PhotoAlbum58.html
Judi is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 04:37 PM
  #43  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Awesome pics Judi! Wish we could travel as mush as you!

Hotel reservations made in Madrid at the Silken Puerta Madrid, as recommended. It was 80 euros, but looks nice and I've seen several posts that say the same. Hostal Adriano sounded perfect, but was full. Maybe next time. SPM has a free airport shuttle, so that's nice. I haven't heard from the hotel in Salamanca yet, but at least this part is taken care of. Now all I have to do is get packed and get the rest of my ducks in a row. We leave a week from tomorrow!
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 05:01 PM
  #44  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
One more thing for those of you who know Salamanca...Is there anywhere to find a good flamenco show? My friend has never been to Spain and I would really like for her to see a good flamenco. I know it's more of an Andalucia thing, but surely there is a good one there somewhere? I saw one in Sevilla that was great. (At least, I thought so, but what does a 14 year old gringa know about flamenco anyway?) My friend is a big Mexico fan, having studied there and in New Mexico, but I am slowly trying to convert her. No more "lonchear" and "troca". (She will see this and laugh!) I love Mexico, too, but I lost my heart to Spain early on and never got it back. I hope it's not another 20 years before I get to go again!
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 05:29 PM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 609
I don't know if you will find flamenco shows in Salamanca but I rather doubt it.

Does your friend speak Mexican Spanish? If so, she will find there is a differnce. I think Salamanca speaks the purest Spanish; in Andalusia it has more of a "southern" accent.

I am fortunate to be able to get to Europe twice a year. I am leaving for Paris in three days and my husband and I will be back to Spain in October with an eight night diversion to Lisbon.

I know you must be excited. Safe and happy travels to you and your friend.
Judi is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 05:57 PM
  #46  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Yes, I have read all about how Salamanca and the surrounding area prides itself on speaking the "purest" form of Spanish. We live in Oklahoma, so we have alot of influence from Mexican Spanish, as well as trying to deal with the English influence on the Mexican Spanish. That's where things like "carro" and "troca" come from. My Spanish teacher got her Master's from the Complutense in Madrid, so I have her influence on grammar and vocab--everything except the zeta pronunciation. That, I pick up in Spain when I am there, but I don't use it at home because the native speakers here, mostly from Latin America, perceive it to be a bit snobby. Whatever. I tease my friend sometimes, but it's all in good fun.

BTW, does anyone know if there is a bank in Madrid that will still accept pesetas for exchange into euros? I know the deadline passed a long time ago, but I read somewhere (can't find it now, of course) that one branch of one bank in Madrid will still do it, but ti didn't say if it was bills only or coins, too. I ahve leftover pesetas from my trips and those of everyone else I know (some have early Franco dates, like 1945), but I don't want to lug them over there if I can't do anything with them. Any ideas?
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 06:46 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,850
Siwash- where are you from in OK? My family is from Cushing.

Flamenco- you will not find a good flamenco show in Salamanca unless some big name is performing at a local theatre. Good flamenco is hard to find even in Sevilla, which is the axis of flamenco, and Salamanca is very detached from that cultural endeavour. There is probably a tablao there, but I can guarentee you that it is geared towards tourists who think that flamenco is everywhere in the country and are willing to pay good money for it.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 10:46 PM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
Hi Siwash,
Glad your plans have come together nicely.
I've been travelling all day, so I'm just now catching up on your trip. I forgot to mention that the Silken Puerta de Madrid is available for your Sunday, July 2 at www.bancotel.com for 60 euros. So if you want to save 20 euros, you could make your reservation thru Bancotel, remembering to buy the coupon at the Viajes Iberia office in Salamanca and cancel the other one. But it may not be worth the effort to you. The Silken properties are quite nice, and you'll have that free shuttle to the airport. We've stayed at the Silken Rhin in Santander and the Silken Gran Domine in Bilbao. We have a friend, owner of a Spanish travel agency, who represents the Silken hotels. You should have a very comfy last night's stay.

Enjoy your conference and your time in Spain! And keep those peseta coins. I gave mine to my students when I retired last week.

I just checked www.elmundo.es, Metrópoli section to see if there would be any flamenco stage performances in Madrid on Sun., July 2. At the Teatro Real Cinema on Plaza Isabel II (where the Royal Opera House is located), you could catch a 7 p.m. very last performance of España Baila Flamenco 2006, by the Compañía Ballet Flamenco de Madrid directed by Sara Lezama. I've never seen this company, so I'll leave it to laclaire to give her review. But this would be far better and more genuine, for sure, than anything you would find in Salamanca. I've seen the very best of Spain flamenco companies perform in Madrid theaters during the Festival Internacional Madrid en Danza in June and July.
Just an idea...
Maribel is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 10:58 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,384
Siwash92, any Banco de España (Bank of Spain) branch will take your pesetas and change them into euros. There is no deadline. Coins are accepted too, but only those that were official currency as per 31 Dec 2001.

www.bde.es, in Madrid Alcalá 48 (at the very, very centre of Madrid)
mikelg is online now  
Jun 18th, 2006, 03:18 AM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
the puerta madrid is 65 euros/night on their website.
no breakfast.
www.hoteles-silken.com

depending on where you bought your room, you might be eligible for a best price guaranteee rebate. check it out.

also, the shuttle has LIMITED hours. 8-12, then again in the afternoon. keep it in mind.
works for most flights.. but you need to know.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 03:36 AM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
hotels.com has this same room for 112 euros.

one really needs to shop around.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 10:48 AM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
mikelg,
Thanks for the info! I thought the limit to the peseta coin exchange had long past.
I just found here the pictures of the coins that the Banco de España will exchange for an unlimited amount of time.
www.bde.es/billemone/peseta/canje.htm

Siwash,
The only time you would have to do this would be on Mon., 7/26, your arrival date.
After such a long trip, you may just want to taxi to the Auto-Res station at Calle Ferández Shaw off Plaza Conde de Casal (cabbies know that station well) and hop on that bus to Salamanca and get some rest during the 2 1/2 hr. ride.

Assuming your plane arrives on time at 9:30, plan on at least 45 min.- 1 hr. to get through customs, pick up bags, get euros from the ATM (hope you got a debit card), grab taxi from the official stand outside Terminal 1 (we can sometimes sail through this in a half hr. but not when several transatlantic flights arrive at the same time!). There are express bus departures to Salamanca that day at 11 and 12, costing 16 euros.

From the SPM hotel to reach downtown to do a bit of the museum triangle, you'll probably want either to take the bus from the Avenida de América stop (long ride) or just take a taxi. The disadvantage of the the Silken Puerta de Madrid is that there's no adjacent metro station-the closest one is a long hike away.

For all,
linacasanova makes a very good point. When choosing an airport hotel with free shuttle service, make sure the shuttle operational hours are good for you. If you have to be at Barajas at a very early morning hr. for example, most airport hotel shuttles don't run 24/7.

Also as lina says, when checking these discount hotel booking sites, be SURE to comparison shop, as rates can vary widely.
One site can have the highest rate for one particular hotel and the lowest for another. You absolutely never know.
When booking city hotels, I check all the dsicount sites below (a time consuming process) then the hotel's own site, which sometimes oiffers a promo rate even lower than a Bancotel rate or will match it. I find hotels.com usually to list the highest rates of all. Atrapalo provides cliente feedback (in Spanish).

So to summarize the aforementioned sites:
www.bancotel.com
www.placestostay.com
www.halconviajes.com
www.atrapalo.com
www.edreams.es
www.rumbo.es
www.laterooms.com
www.lastminute.com
www.hotels.com (usually on high side)
www.hotelclub.net (ditto)
www.charming-spain-hotels.com (best deals on 4-5 star hotels)
www.utell.com
www.hotelsearch.com
(this site has the cute and charming Hotel Plaza Mayor in Old Madrid-my very fave budget hotel there- for 59 euros in July-the lowest price I've seen-summer special!)

Now, Siwash,
have a great, great time in Salamanca

Maribel is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 11:52 AM
  #53  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Laclaire, I live in OKC. Small world, huh?

I made my reservation for the Silken Puerta Madrid on their own website. It turned out to be 86.5 euros including tax for a double room. I didn't really check around, but I guess I should have. After trying the Adriano and it being full, I was just glad to get one that had been recommended. Were you guys maybe looking at single rooms? My friend and I are going to share.

Thanks for the info on the pesetas. I'll check what I have and see if it's worthwhile. We're bringing our own euros from home, so that will save us a few minutes at the airport when we arrive.

Maribel, thanks for going to all the trouble of finding that flamenco show, but we'll probably spend that evening exploringas much as we can. It's too bad about the flamenco, but maybe next time. That gives us an excuse to go back--as if we needed one!

As for the shuttle, if we take the one at 8:00, when they start, we should be fine, right?

Picked up some of my travel size stuff today and my adapters and converters. Fun, fun! BTW, has the toilet paper changed since the 80s? When I was there it was pink scratchy stuff that felt like crepe paper streamers that we use for decorations. I'm guessing that's because I was in a college dorm and they notoriously buy the cheapest stuff. (I wrote a letter home on it to my parents--still have it today!) I'm thinking that our hotels will have the good kind, but I'm asking just in case. If they don't, the space of a roll in my suitcase is well worth it!

If anyone has any other tips or advice, feel free to keep posting it here. I'll check in everyday and I'll probably think of more dumb things to ask anyway!

Thanks for everyone's help and good wishes. I can't wait!
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 12:30 PM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
Hi Siwash,
Like lina, I get a 65 euro rate on
www.hoteles-silken.com for a standard DOUBLE for your date. Hmmmm....
Does your 86,5 euro rate perhaps include buffet brk and 7% VAT?
If not, I would email them to see if they'll match the 60 euro bancotel price.

Case in point about these discount sites:
Halcon Viajes rate a SPM for that date is 91. You never know!
Maribel is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 01:09 PM
  #55  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Hmmm...It includes the VAT, but it doesn't say anything on my confirmation about breakfast. Maybe they charge extra for reservations made from internet connections in the US...ha ha. You know us yankees, we're all rich and everything...NOT!

I just clicked on the site and refigured my reservation. When I add the second person to the double room it bumps the price up to 80 euros. That's what the difference is.

BTW, is the VAT refund paperwork really worth the trouble? It sounds like a big hassle.
Siwash92 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 11:12 PM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,384
Regarding the toilet paper...well, I also have memories of that one youīre describing so well...it was called El Elefante, the cheapest brand available, popular in bar toilets and hostals...NO, we donīt have it anymore, we use the softest kind, our asses are now being treated in the most gentle way...

Spain has changed A LOT in the past 20 years, in some aspects it is a more modern and advanced country than the US...it may even disappoint you as I think we have been losing our personality in all this "Modernization" years...but it sure is for the best. This is a rich country, with people driving expensive cars, wearing expensive clothes, dining at expensive restaurants (and Iīm talking about the middle class, not the high, very rich one)...You will notice a lot of immigrants in Madrid, the major change in the recent years (and, to my opinion, for the best)...
mikelg is online now  
Jun 19th, 2006, 12:19 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,384
And itīs turned into an expensive country...and Madrid is the most expensive city in Spain...although there are of course cheap places off the beaten track...follow Maribelīs pieces of advice to save money
mikelg is online now  
Jun 19th, 2006, 01:20 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,174
Mikelg, I'm sure Madrid is way more expensive than it used to be, but for me, Madrid was one of the cheaper cities I've visited in Europe. But part of the reason was the great deal we got for a 4* hotel with buffet breakfast through Solmelia.com . However, it was also pretty easy to get inexpensive food, relatively speaking, and the museums were very cheap for the extreme cultural value they contained.
WillTravel is offline  
Jun 19th, 2006, 03:11 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
the first shuttle will be fine, but make sure you are on it.. and down there early so in case there isn't room for everyone, you are considered the first ones!


lincasanova is offline  
Jun 19th, 2006, 03:18 AM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,384
WillTravel, it is true that compared to other European cities Madrid is still a cheap place...but for us Spaniards and for US citizens (the exchange rate euro/dollar is not too good for you) the cost of living has risen spectacularly in the past few years. In any case, with the right information, there are many ways to make Madrid a more affordable city...and obtaining a very good quality.
mikelg is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:41 PM.