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No Time for Both...so...Segovia or Salamanca

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Jul 19th, 2014, 01:43 PM
  #1
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No Time for Both...so...Segovia or Salamanca

To those Fodorites whom I've met over the past 2 years in the Turkey and Japan forums, hello again. To those I'll meet here in the Spain forum, please to make your virtual acquaintance.

I'll be visting Spain next spring for the first time, with one of the highlights being to spend much of Semana Santa in Sevilla. My plan is for 18 days on the ground (I know, no where near enough, but I have a job that allows me to pay for these adventures so anything longer isn't an option.). I have my general itinerary laid out and need some helping in my debate vs. Segovia or Salamanca. Here is my planned itinerary, with days 4 and 5 being the ones in question:

Days 1-3: Madrid (land at 7:30 a.m. and so, while jet lagged, I have 3 full days)
Days 6 and part of 7: Toledo
Part of day 7 through day 11: Sevilla for Semana Santa, with a day trip to Cordoba (if it matters, this is Wed. of Semana Santa through Easter Sunday)
Days 12 and 13: Granada
Days 14-18: Fly from Granada as early in day as possible to Barcelona

Now, to the question at hand. Days 4 and 5 could seem to go one of 3 possible directions and I'd appreciate the advice of those who've been to one or both:

Option 1: Use days 4 and 5 to spend a full, extra day in Madrid (so 4 days total) and then do a day trip to Segovia. I'm not a big art museum person but something tells me I need more than 3 full days in Madrid, considering that I'll be jet lagged my first day.

Option 2: Spend 1/2 of day 4 in Madrid (so 3 1/2 days total) and take the train to Salamanca in the afternoon. Overnight and day 5 in Salamanca, so 1 1/2 days total. No Segovia.

Option 3: Spend both days 4 and 5 in Salamanca. 3 full days in Madrid. 2 full days in Salamanca. No Segovia.

Please...discuss among yourselves!
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Jul 19th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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You left out how to plan to get to all these places, other than the last flight. For example, how do you plan to get from Salamanca to Toledo if you do that? There is no direct train AFAIK, so you'd have to go back through Madrid. Actually, I think the rail route goes through Segovia to/from Salamanca from Madrid.

All that moving around and changing hotels for a day here and there would not be for me, but I don't know your travel style. Have you ever done a trip like that before, moving every couple days? I just think it's too much and would not move to Salamanca for a day or two only to then go to Toledo. I'd just do a day trip to Segovia while staying in Madrid those first 4-5 days.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Salamanca is a beautiful place and well worth a visit but as Christina points out it could take a disproportionate amount of your limited time to get there.

Given that the first day of your stay in Madrid is likely to be affected by jetlag, I would be inclined to stay in Madrid from days 1-5 [you can decide on day trip/s while you are there] and then move straight onto Toledo.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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I've been to both Segovia (twice) and Salamanca (once). Segovia is a place I could return to again and again, while Salamanca is a place I'm glad to have seen, but feel no particular draw to return.

It looks a bit to me as though you're trying to see too many different places. I suggest that you assume that you'll be back in Spain some time in the future, so you don't have to see everything on this trip. I might cut Barcelona, which is a long way from all the other places you want to visit.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 04:12 PM
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Salamanca has one of the most beautiful Plaza Mayors in Spain and one of the oldest universities in the world.

Segovia has the most impressive Roman Aqueduct and a wonderful Alacazr.

For one day I would chose Segovia.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 04:34 PM
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HI, we have travelled to Spain 7times in the last few years, and done lots of different kinds of holidays there. My suggestion would be this: you could possibly use Madrid as a base with the extra days and take day trips to Segovia and Avila (on same train route to Salamanca but not so far), have a look online at Cuenca and the hanging houses, this is now an easy day trip on the fast train (this is on the Valencia train line). None of these day trip require much planning, are easy to get to using either bus train or sprinter train in Segovia (this is a commuter train link to Madrid and the station is a little way out you need to factor in a taxi ride too and from)
I absolutely get you want the most bang for your dollar in Spain, there is lots to see and do and EAT!! IMO take the naysayers with a grain of salt, you have plenty of time to see and experience, ignore jetlag (we fly from Australia and most European flights take around 24hrs) and get on with your fantastic holiday. Don't miss Barcelona its fabulous and maybe leave Salamanca till next time!!
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Jul 19th, 2014, 08:18 PM
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kja
 
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The good news: you don't have a bad choice here!

That said, I thought Salamanca deserved two FULL days. I also thought that Toledo deserved two FULL days. So consider this possible option 4: Add a day to Madrid and add a day to Toledo and do a day trip from Madrid to Segovia.

And to be honest, I also think you are shortchanging Andalusia. I thought Cordoba worth 2 full days and Ronda worth an overnight (and yes, it CAN be reached by public transportation).

Do give some thought to whether you are fully committed to trying to include Barcelona on this trip! If you skip Barcelona, you may be able to do justice to central and southern Spain, and maybe even fit glorious Salamanca into your plan...
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Jul 20th, 2014, 03:56 AM
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The processions from Thurday night into Friday morning - the so called madrugá - is the absolute highlight of the celebrations. This should give you an idea: http://sevillanlife.com/2012/04/08/h...na-la-madruga/

Madrugá in Sevilla: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJN7JFou9Is
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Jul 20th, 2014, 03:39 PM
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Christina and others-

Yes, I did leave out the intercity travel details as they have yet to be worked out, but I have certainly considered them in my itinerary. Some people would not enjoy traveling to multiple cities on a trip like I do. I'm a type A personality and have done this sort of trip probably a dozen times before. It's just what works for me and I don't ever approach a new destination with the thought that I'll get back there someday. There's simply too many places in the world to visit while one is capable of doing so.

Sounds like the early voting returns are on Segovia, but please keep the feedback coming...
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Jul 20th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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kja-

I must be following in your tavel footstpes! Turkey,then Japan and now Spain!

Fair point about Barcelona, although my plan it to fly from Granada to Barcelona on the first available flight that day. While I would like to visit other places in Andalusia such as Jerez de Fronterra and Ronda, I can't imagine going to Spain for the first time and not visiting Barcelona. After Sevilla, it's the destination I'm most looking forward to.
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Jul 20th, 2014, 03:43 PM
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kimhe-

Thanks for those links. I have bookmarked them and will definitely check them out.
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Jul 20th, 2014, 05:19 PM
  #12
kja
 
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"I can't imagine going to Spain for the first time and not visiting Barcelona. After Sevilla, it's the destination I'm most looking forward to." -- In that case, consider dropping Madrid from this trip! Seriously! From what I know of your travel style, I really think you are trying to pack too much into this trip. But I could easily be wrong!
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Jul 20th, 2014, 09:19 PM
  #13
kja
 
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Hi again, David –

I know that whatever you decide, you will have a great trip because you love great food (which should be abundantly available!) and because you always research you trips incredibly well. Still, I wanted to come back now that I have a few moments to share some other observations, in case they prove helpful.

My reaction to the realization that I might never return to an area seems quite different than yours: Rather than trying to cram it all in (my take on your itinerary), that realization makes me want to maximize the time I have to actually see and experience the places that I choose to see, while minimizing the time spent traveling between places (unless, of course, the point of the journey IS the time in transit). Rather than skimming the surface and spending time getting from place to place, I choose to skip some places entirely, even if I am sure I would enjoy them. I’m most likely to skip or skimp on places that have international airports, because those are the ones that I can most readily visit again. I’ve also realized that if I can return to a region, the LAST thing that I am likely to want to do is spend my time re-tracing a route that involved a lot of travel just so that I can go back and finally see the things I skipped the first time. In fact, I might end up not returning specifically because it would mean wasting so much time going from place to place!

So, if your priorities are Sevilla and Barcelona, “skimming” on Madrid and things near it could really make sense for you, because getting to/from Madrid is so much easier than getting to Andalusia. At the very least, I encourage you to do and see everything that interests you that you can while you are in southern Spain, particularly because you will be there at such a perfect time of year to explore that area!

BTW, you like hiking, don’t you? Check into options for Las Alpujarras. You can get to the Poquiera Gorge by bus from Granada.

Oh, and just to be clear -- you aren’t quite following in my footsteps -- we are (I think) trading steps.… I think you visited Istanbul before I visited anywhere in Turkey; I have put some of your stops in Japan on my wish-list; and – truth in advertising – I haven’t been to Barcelona yet because I did put if off on my first trip to Spain; I expect to visit it this spring – probably after you do, so I will count on you for some excellent advice.

Hope these thoughts prove helpful!
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 06:59 PM
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kja-

First off, you have an excellent memory. Yes, I did visit Istanbul in Sept. 2011 after spending the week prior in Greece. And you'll have to let me know where in Japan you've added onto a future itinerary. Matsumoto might be one place if I recall our Japan conversations correctly.

Thanks for that feedback on my Spain plans, I'll definitely give it some consideration. If one looks at my itinerary, it's really pretty stationary for much of the time. 5 nights based in Madrid, 5 nights based in Sevilla and 5 nights based in Barcelona. The remaining 3 nights are split 2 in Granada and 1 in Toledo (which at 30m by train from Madrid is almost like a 6th night in Madrid.)

Back to the original question of my post, I can see how trying to do Salamanca, even as a 2 day trip after Madrid, could chew up close to a 1/2 day of travel time on the outbound and then back inbound sides. At this point, I'm really leaning towards doing Segovia as a day trip while still based in Madrid.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 08:57 PM
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Perhaps I wasn't clear -- if Seville and Barcelona are your priorities, then my concern is that I don't believe you are allowing yourself the time that I think you will want in Andalusia. And if you are going to spend any time in Andalusia, then see it with some richness while you are there because, as I said, it is harder to get to than Madrid or Barcelona.

I think you, personally, will want -- at a minimum -- a full morning or afternoon AND the evening for the Alhambra, if not ALL day. And even if you go for the morning OR afternoon (and evening), you won't have enough time on THAT day to see the cathedral AND the Albayzin AND the entry to the one-time library AND the Moorish baths, let alone anything else that is worth seeing in Granada -- which, IMO, merited 2 full days. And (a) I don't each lunch (which will add some time to your needs) and (b) an evening tour of Alhambra's gardens was not an option when I was there -- all the more reason to add more time to Granada!

I also think that you, personally, will want several hours for the Mezquita of Cordoba, not to mention its Alcazar and its Jewish Quarter -- easily more than one full day's visit. You might also want to visit the Viana Palace / Courtyards or roam around town to see whatever courtyards are open for viewing or visit the Roman ruins there.... IMO, you might want 1.5 - 2 days there, with at LEAST one overnight, if not two.

And I think that you, personally, will want several days in Sevilla.

And if you are going to Andalusica, then there's an argument to be made that you should make time for an overnight in magnificent Ronda or see other parts of Andalusia.

So, to be very clear: I am suggesting that YOU (personally) should skip Madrid on this trip, even if that is the city into which you fly.

But of course I could easily be wrong about any/all of this! Just my opinion.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 12:42 AM
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I'm in agreement with kja here. There is a lot to Granada besides the Alhambra but that in itself is really worth a day.

We had 1 1/2 days in Granada so this is what we did:


Day 1 - arrived at 2pm, had lunch, then explored the central/cathedral area. Booked a night visit to the Alhambra [on spec but I bet you'd need to book in advance] so that took up the evening.

Day 2 - early entry to the Alhambra, with 10.30 entrance to the Nasrid palaces. toured all the site and then moved to the Generalife where we spent the afternoon. left at about 4pm and walked down into the town and then up to the Albercin [I think that there is a bus if you prefer] and enjoyed looking round, drinking in the view of the Alhambra and the odd beer. Had supper in the town.

Day 3 - late flight out of Malaga so we drove south through the mountains [very pretty] to the coast and had lunch on the beach.

I agree that there is more to see in Sevilla and the 3 days we had there were not really enough. Then there is the rest of Andalucia. As you are going to be there at the ideal time, it seems a shame not to maximise your visit. However I may be biased - we much preferred Andalucia to Barcelona, which IMO is over-hyped [could take or leave Gaudi] and is certainly overwhelmed by tourists. In any event it would fit far better into a northern Spain itinerary taking in Burgos, Leon, San Sebastian etc. Surely you don't mean that you never intend to return to Spain after this trip? you would miss so much if you never see the north.

I would suggest starting and ending in Madrid but making your main focus Andalucia. you would then have time for Salamanca, and Cordoba, and Segovia....
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Jul 25th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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There is so much to see in Spain that unless you're a night owl or art scholar, 2 days should be enough time in Madrid. Of course you could spend much more time, but there is SO mUCH else you can see! We rented a car at the main train station and followed the road out of Madrid going North. We didn't even have a map it was so easy! Stopped in Avila for an early lunch and looked around for an hour or so. Then drove on to El Escorial for the afternoon. There is a little town, maybe named Santa Rosa. This was about 7 yrs. ago so my memory is blurred. Really interesting place to see. We then drove to Segovia for 2 days. Maagical place. We left ou car at the hotel, because no car is needed there. It's ALL walkable and amazing.I haven't been to Salamanca but I can vouch that you will love Segovia and the stops before you get there.
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Jul 25th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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2 or 3.

Salamanca > Segovia. It's not close. We were underwhelmed by Segovia. I've touted Salamanca to everyone I know who's visited Spain since I went there. None of them has cut me off from their lives. ;-)
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