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What Spanish cities - where Castilian is spoken - do you love? And why?

What Spanish cities - where Castilian is spoken - do you love? And why?

Old Sep 7th, 2013, 09:34 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,059
I just returned last Friday from a trip to northwestern Spain:

- Burgos
- Bilbao
- Santillana del Mar
- Comillos (day trip from S del M)
- Oviedo (stops at the Roman bridge, the Hermitage of Santa Cruz and the Chapel of San Antonio in Cangas de Onis and a visit to Our Lady of Covadonga on my way to Oviedo)
- Gijon
- Luarca
- Santiago de Compostella
- A Coruna (day trip from S de C)
- Leon (stops at Lugo and Astorga on my way to Leon. Completely missed O Cebreiro's exit! Stupid me...)
- Valladolid
- Madrid (flew home from there, spent 5 nights there last year)
- Cuenca (day trip from Madrid)


Last year, I went to:
- Toledo (including a day trip to Consuegra)
- Avila
- Salamanca
- Segovia (with a stop at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso on my way to Segovia)
- Madrid (with stops in El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen on my way to Madrid, found so much to see/do in Madrid that I didn't do my planned day trips)

On a previous trip, spent my time in Andalucia.

Still have to plan a future trip to northeastern Spain!
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 14,066
Joann,
we are considering a day trip to Cuenca from Madrid in Oct.
Is it worth it? Or should be pay a second visit to Toledo? Cannot do both.

Beautiful Valencia is only an hour and 45 from Madrid . I am surprised so few frequent visitors to Spain'
have not been there.
danon is online now  
Old Sep 7th, 2013, 10:48 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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danon,

Between Cuenca and Toledo, I'd pick Toledo. Loved Toledo and there is lots to see (I spent 4 nights there). Certainly well worth more than a day trip!

Cuenca has the hanging houses and cathedral but not much else to see.
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 10:53 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 14,066
thanks...
we visited
Toledo five years ago on a day trip....liked it so much to consider another
visit this time.
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 11:08 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Oh, go to Madrid and surrounds (Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, etc.). Maybe even Santiago de Compostella.
My husband who teaches Spanish found Peru singularly uninteresting including MP and Titicaca in spite of all the hype. He was very disappointed that more Spanish wasn't spoken. Seems to be a national movement against the Spanish oppressors. But, from what you said, you are still learning Spanish so people would use that to communicate with you.
Go to Espana !!
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 11:10 AM
  #26  
 
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What were they speaking, Quechua?
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 11:51 AM
  #27  
 
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I have a friend who was a little disappointed in Peru, also. He had just had higher expectations -- he said he was glad he went, but it's not a place he would want to go back to or one of his favorite trips. He isn't fluent in Spanish and I don't remember him commenting on the language aspect, this was a few years ago.

I think it would be very difficult if not impossible to completely change the language of a country after it has been the main language there for hundreds of years, regardless of where it came from. Furthermore, many countries find it useful for people to know a language that is more international, not just a local one. Look at all the former French colonies that still speak French, for example, in the Caribbean and Africa. I think countries that want to resurrect local indigenous languages should just do that in tandem with speaking a more international one. I think that's like Irish--I don't think there are people in that country who can't speak English, but really don't know.

But to say that Spanish isn't spoken much in Peru sounds like people didn't know it if you spoke it to them, which sounds surprising to me, but I haven't been there. Having signs in stores or wherever be in a different language is one thing, but not being able to find a newspaper in Spanish, menus in Spanish, or anyone who understands Spanish is surprising unless you were really in the highlands away from anything. I don't remember a single menu in any restaurant I went to in Barcelona not being in both Catalan and Spanish (as well as English sometimes, of course, for tourism, or some other language), for example.
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 12:24 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Having spent quite at of time in both Spain and South America, I found the clearest Spanish to be spoken in Ecuador, followed by Peru, and Bolivia. Argentina was ok, as was Spain itself, but Chile was all but unintelligible! As for the small town in Andalusia that we stayed in, I though I had been transported to Portugal, the accent, words and language was so alien to anything I had heard before ( lovely friendly and people though! I was told that they spoke "campo" or country Spanish. Which, I suppose, would be like taking someone from NYC and dumping them in deepest Norfolk or Newcastle ( England ) without a translator. It is still English , but not as we know it!

Of course Spanish is spoken throughout Peru, Quechua is the second language for most of the highland people but I only found a few, very remote places, where Spanish was not spoken. How anyone cold not be impressed with Peru I find difficult to comprehend. It is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries both scenically and culturally, I have been to. But each to their own I suppose..
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 12:57 PM
  #29  
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Wow, so much useful and fascinating information! Thank you all!
Did a little research into Ecuador this morning, and this looks like a place we'd really enjoy. Also looks like I could arrange lodging, tours, and transport myself. (?) Which I prefer. However - my daughter thinks her Spanish class may be going to Ecuador in summer 2015 and - she won't want to go this spring then. She's just weird like that, doesn't want to see the same thing twice (of course, we could leave her at home with her grandmother, while husband and I go) But it would be a great experience for her to go with her class, I think, because it includes a home stay with locals.
This is definitely on my bucket travel list though, and hopefully sooner than later...

Peru seems like a lot of planning what with permits for MP, etc. and don't know if I have time to do that in six months.. but I would love to see MP if given the chance.

Madrid and environs is sounding more intriguing, based on what people have said here. Thanks again! The comparison to Chicago helped - I'm half an hour away from Chicago, and lived in the city for several years. If you look at photos of Chicago, even in the tourist hot spots, it may not look like all that (although the new Millenium Park is a very cool place to see and be) and Chicago's charms come more from its urban American melting-pot vibe - but with a decidedly Midwestern slant - that doesn't necessarily come across in photos of scenery and buildings.
Maybe Madrid is similar?

All this being said, my daughter told me today she still wants to go to Puerto Rico and see Old San Juan and kayak the bio-bay, see the rainforest and maybe "hang out" at the beach. Hmm.
My husband says he trusts my judgment.

This has been exceedingly helpful to me in deciding where to travel to in future months/years. Thanks once again, everyone!
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 01:33 PM
  #30  
 
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Yes, of course, Spanish is spoken in Peru, but my husband found that many people preferred to converse in Quechua. Perhaps this was because they didn't want my husband and his friend, both super fluent in Spanish, to understand them. Who knows.
Crellston, I think you mentioned, here or elsewhere, that you stayed in Andalucia in the hope of improving your Spanish before returning to South America. You should have known better and spent time in Salamanca, wherever, and not gone to a place for the better weather.
He said that the setting of MP was spectacular, but the ruins were only so-so when you consider the antiquity of places in the Middle East.
SA is fine for exposure to Spanish, but for us it's a place way down on a list, somewhere to go when you've seen everywhere else. And, of course, the real reason to go there is because it's CHEAP !!
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 02:02 PM
  #31  
 
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Machu Picchu so-so, whatever! Perhaps he would have been more impressed with the Museo de Tumbes Real de Sipan, Caral, Kuelap, or the textiles from Paracas, Wari or Chancay.

One of my favorite things about Peru is discovering all of the cultures that preceded the Inca and the Spanish. Where do you think all of that gold in Spain came from? Luckily they didn't manage to find all of it.

BumbleB6, the only thing that needs booking far in advance is the Inca Trail. You don't need to hike to reach Machu Picchu, there is a train and then a bus for that.

BTW you can combine that visit to MP or Quito with an excursion to the Amazon jungle, so you can kill two birds with one stone there.
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 02:32 PM
  #32  
 
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Bedar "You should have known better and spent time in Salamanca, wherever, and not gone to a place for the better weather."

What on earth are you talking about? It was freezing for much of the time we were In Andulucia. Why would I want to go to Salamanca, I have no idea where it is or what the attraction might be and, care even less. Why would I be concerned about the weather? I confess you have lost me completely.

As for the "real reason" to go there, "because its CHEAP!!" . That may be your reason to travel, its certainly not mine. FYI my home base is England, so Spain is actually cheaper for me.

Your partner may not of liked Peru, I did. As I said previously, each to there own..

Anyway, we digress and I haven't the patience. BumbleB6, the point I was trying to make was that there are many places to improve your Spanish. I happened to prefer South America. I don't profess to be an expert linguist, quite the opposite, I struggle to learn languages but did progress better in South America.
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 02:47 PM
  #33  
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Thanks for that info about MP and Inca TRail - didn't realize that. No, don't necessarily have to hike the trail...
Ah, but in March, we only have one week - my daughter won't take time off from school - and even in summer, we only have two, until my husband retires anyway. He doesn't have paid vacation time and can generally only take one or two weeks at a time. (We're in the U.S.)
Anyway, looking forward to when he retires and we can stay away longer...

As for SA - yes it's cheap but despite never having been, I'm still fascinated by photos and descriptions of old Spanish colonial towns, Mayan and Incan ruins, volcanic lakes, and rainforests...
I also love Europe, what little I've seen thus far, but I've seen enough to know I love it, love the lifestyle and different cultural attitude and the history and heritage of my own ancestors. In the U.S., we don't have cathedrals - or entire neighborhoods - that are thousands of years old.
Both places fascinate me, and thus, it's hard to pick and choose...
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Old Sep 7th, 2013, 06:06 PM
  #34  
 
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Ah, what the heck. Take the kid to PR. You all will need a nice spring vacation after the winter in Chicago ! Be sure to get a car and travel around the island. Maybe go to Vieques or Culebra. We loved Culebra. You only have a week, just the right amount of time for an island.
Crellston, you know very well that you Brits head for a supposedly warm spot like Andalucia. But, your purpose was to "pick up" more Spanish so I can't understand why you didn't do any research on the Spanish spoken there. You sure researched your current trip to SA. Salamanca, Granada, Madrid, and many other places would have served your purpose. Get out an atlas to find out where these places are. I agree that Andalucia can be VERY cold. We lived there for many years.
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Old Sep 9th, 2013, 09:22 AM
  #35  
 
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You might also consider Colombia, less than 4 hours from Miami, and cheap air fares.

The standard Colombian dialect spoken around Bogotá is considered to be one of the clearest and easiest to understand of any Spanish in the world.

Colombia is nearing the top of my "countries to visit next" list!
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Old Sep 9th, 2013, 10:38 AM
  #36  
 
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Yes, Colombian Spanish is most castizo, Castilian. It's right at the top of our list to visit, too.
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Old Sep 9th, 2013, 04:37 PM
  #37  
 
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Very interesting discussion. My kids and I have studied Spanish in Salamanca, and the accent was clear and pure. Mexican Spanish is easier for me, so maybe that is what I was taught in school as a child. Barcelona Spanish is a bit more difficult to understand, but is fine once you get used to it. Catalan is used and on signs, but everyone spoke Spanish with us.

My son has studied the Quechuan language a little in college. I did not even know what it was until he explained it to me.

We went to Cancun, Vallodolid and Playa del Carmen for our last spring break. It was a lot of fun. I had low expectations, but ended up enjoying it a lot. Much more than Costa Rica, which is all about nature.
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Old Sep 9th, 2013, 04:38 PM
  #38  
 
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We also spent time in Andalucia and loved it.
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Old Sep 9th, 2013, 04:40 PM
  #39  
 
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I know you we're outvoted on Barcelona, but it was one of my favorite places (much more than Madrid). Two weeks in an apartment there were great.
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Old Sep 9th, 2013, 05:09 PM
  #40  
 
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Danon, Cuenca is worth a visit, there is a tiny rather modest but delicious place to eat call Mesón Tintes
Take the degustación menu,absolutly great , full of locals, have to call for a reservation.
I hate to compare I am simply saying Cuenca is indeed worth a visit.
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