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Where do you recommend a 25 yr. old visit in Spain to "soak up the culture"?

Where do you recommend a 25 yr. old visit in Spain to "soak up the culture"?

Old Apr 21st, 2006, 12:46 PM
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cherylforeurope
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Where do you recommend a 25 yr. old visit in Spain to "soak up the culture"?

My son has been asked to be in a wedding in Italy, June 2007. He speaks Spanish and wants to include Spain on this trip....strictly because he speaks Spanish. I asked him what he wants to see there...to which he replied "I really don't want to just site see, I'd like to soak up the culture". I don't think he wants to travel
to different cities (most of his time will be in Italy), but prefers to visit one location. He's only in the very beginning of the planning, unlike his mother who has Trip A planned 1 1/2 yrs prior to departure at the same time she's working on Trip B!

Any recommendations on cities for a 25 yr. old to visit (first trip to Europe) and does anyone share my
reservation about his reason for going to Spain strictly because he speaks Spanish?
 
Old Apr 21st, 2006, 01:01 PM
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cherylforeurope
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And about my reservation for Spain....in regards to transportation it would be easier to visit some other countries if he wants to travel outside Italy.

I was so excited to hear the wedding was in June...my husband and I are planning a trip to Italy at the same time my son will be there....we get to share Italy with him!
 
Old Apr 21st, 2006, 01:15 PM
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I say that wanting to visit the country because he speaks the language is as good a reason as any. It isn't all about what you want to see and do, and if he wants to "soak up the culture" then doing so in a place where he understands the language will be the most efficient.

Personally, I think your son should get on here and ask this question. Though I am sure you know him well, you both have very different travel desires and it would be nice to know what he things of as "culture."

That said, I am 25 and will go ahead and make the blatant mistake of saying the he wants just what I do. If he is concerned about flight price then that will determine where he enters and exits the country (usually either Madrid or Barcelona) and whether he sandwiches Italy between or arrives to one and leaves from another. Obviously, where his flight takes him is where he should stay if he does not want to travel. I think that Barcelona is a much nicer summer location (it has beaches, a festive atmosphere, great nightlife and beautiful cultural options such as architecture, museums, boating. . .). Also, it is physically closer to Italy, and as RyanAir flies out of Girona (a nearby city), he might be able to find a deeply discounted flight from there to Italy and back.

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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 01:20 PM
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I don't see his age as a problem. I was 19 (and female, obviously) when I went on my first solo trip to Europe. Admittedly, I was wet behind the ears, but I'm here to tell the tale. And I obviously must have gotten some things right, because I've been back to Europe almost every year since.

What is your reservation about his going to Spain because he speaks Spanish? On my first trip to Europe, I went to Germany, because I had studied German. If anything, knowing the language is a help.

And there's nothing wrong with going to only one place and "soaking up the culture" as long as that does not mean sitting on a beach and drinking beer with all the northern Europeans who flood to the Costa del Sol in the summer.

Where? Barcelona is out because they speak Catalan there. Besides, it seems that Barcelona is not the safest city in Spain. Madrid is a large city that some people like and some don't. Because it's a large city, I think it might be difficult to meet people there. The small towns near Madrid like Toledo and Segovia almost have more tourists than Spaniards.

Salamanca is a nice medium-sized town. It has a university (he should find out whether it will be in session when he is there), so it might be a good place to meet other young people.

Quintessential Spain to most people is, of course, Andalucia. But it can be very, very hot in June. Sevilla is also said to be not very safe; I had no problems, but I was over 40 when I visited Sevilla. Granada is a possibility. Cordoba has a small interesting historical centre, but most of it is pretty soulless.

I've also been to Leon and Burgos, but neither struck me as particularly attractive.

All in all, my vote would probably go to Salamanca, which is easily reached by train from Madrid.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 01:32 PM
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My daughter thought she would be able to practice her Spanish when we went to Barcelona and Salou last year but most people spoke Catalan. We loved Barcelona though.

She is 20 and currently in Madrid, but it's not her favorite city.

I think Salamanca would be great. It's easy to get to from Madrid and he would be around many other students. My daughter's high school AP Spanish teacher took a group to Salamnca every summer because she thought the dialect there was best. There were many college and high school students there during the summer.

I'm not sure you would soak up Spanish culture at many beach resorts - the Salou/Tarragona/Cambrils beach areas we visited were mostly British/French/German tourists.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 01:39 PM
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I will certainly have to introduce him to this forum! He mentioned Barcelona...good to know his Spanish won't do him any good there!
 
Old Apr 21st, 2006, 02:47 PM
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June 4th is Pentecost Sunday, when the Feria del Campo & Romeria happens in the Province of Huelva at el Santuario de la Virgen del Rocio. I think the pilgrimage begins in Sevilla. Expect about a million 'pilgrims.'

If he wants to polish his Castellano I recommend the north central coast, specifically Cantabria (Santander) and the Principality of Asturias.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 03:00 PM
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Eloise, I don't believe Sevilla to be unsafe. As with any city in any country, of course it is best to be cautious, but I wandered around Sevilla by myself as a 19-year-old student without any problems. I did hear of some students getting mugged, but they were walking in a known "bad neighborhood" at night... Not arguing with you, I just wanted to give my impression of Sevilla.

Having said that, I suggest Sevilla and Andalucia, cherylforeurope. I think a 25-year-old guy would enjoy it very much. There's enough of a nightlife to keep him interested, and plenty of historic sites. It's definitely a place to just wander and soak up the culture, if that's what he's interested in.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Andalucia !
Especially Seville & Granada.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 04:17 PM
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If he wants to "soak up the culture" here in Spain..I think he needs more than just a city I mean, Spain is the mixture of such different cultures that a place that joins them all doesn't exist. The one that is nearer to that idea is Madrid , really. But , I understand what your son tries to do..and based on that I recommend Salamanca, Granada or if he likes the beach, Valencia.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2006, 12:59 PM
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I vote for Valencia or Seville !!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:28 PM
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We're just back from a trip to Spain with our 10,10 and 12 year olds. We went to Barcelona, Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla.... I would be delighted to hear of plans for one of them to spend continuing their study of Spanish in Sevilla. I fell in love with the city - it was clean, vibrant, festive and yet felt very safe to me.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2006, 04:18 AM
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hobo - I think your children might be too young for most language programs. My daughter's HS Spanish teacher used Enforex in Salamanca, but they have a school in Sevilla also. Maybe you would like to send them to summer camp at Enforex. http://www.enforex.com/summercamps/index.html
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Old Apr 23rd, 2006, 05:03 AM
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I have no insights about Spain, since I last visited in 1972. I do want to say, though, that I believe speaking the language and wanting to soak up the culture is one of the best reasons for traveling somewhere. I have always felt drawn to France, loved studying the language in school, and couldn't wait to visit. Now the entire culture appeals to me, as well as the cities and countryside of France itself. Language can be a wonderful way of drawing you into a lifelong appreciation of another country and its art, literature and history, as well as of its popular culture.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2006, 05:51 AM
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i have been to spain 16 times since 1979-my choice ,hands down =Sevilla
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Old Apr 24th, 2006, 02:02 AM
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Hi,

I wouldnīt tell him to give up on Barcelona because of the language.

1._ Vueling has daily flights between Rome Fiumicino and Barcelona (far handier than Girona), and he might even get a decent rate www.vueling.com

2._ Itīs true that one hears a lot of Catalan in Barcelona, but it is also true that spanish hasnīt disappeared at all. I havenīt been there since a couple of years ago, but my sister has been travelling there very often (the last time on Easter Saturday), and she says that the amount of spanish being spoken in Barcelona has increased instead of decreasing. Might be because of the many south american inmigrants ...

Being summer, it is much nicer to be near the beach or even in some fresh place in the mountains. The only problem I can see with Sevilla is the accent. I donīt know exactly why, but they are more heavily accented that people in Cordoba, and I sometimes must ask them to repeat what they are saying (and I am a native, so go figure ...).

Kind regards, Cova
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