I'm going to Spain!! Advice please

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by thejadedmonkey, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #1
    Hello!

    I'm off to Madrid at the end of May. I figure now is a good time to start thinking about what I'll want to bring, what to leave at home, and most importantly, what I should try to get before I go.

    I'll be there for 3 weeks on a study abroad program, with friends my age (and a spanish teacher), so to a certain extent I can rely on them for some things, such as using a computer.

    Unfortunately, I don't know much Spanish... so I need some advice on learning it fast. I got through Spanish 1 in elementary school, and again in high school, so I have a moderately good foundation. Does anyone have any suggestions for a book or two I should pick up to learn it fast?

    I have an old camera, an even older iPod, and some money in the bank.

    Is there anywhere that I should make it a point to bring, or to leave at home? Is there anywhere I should visit, or anywhere to avoid? How much money should I expect to use living there for 3 weeks? What else does an ignorant American going to Spain need to know?

    I know this is a lot, but I've never been out of the USA, and I'll take all advice I can get. I don't wanna end up in Spain and realize I forgot my toothbrush, so to speak.
     
  2. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #2
  3. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #3
    Don't drink the water, use it only for washing. Buy bottled water for drinking. When I went the tap water was a nice healthy brown.

    You can pick up a gallon of water for a Euro or two if you know where to look.
     
  4. floyde macrumors 6502a

    floyde

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Monterrey, México
    #4
    Dude, you take all the fun away :D. Part of the excitement of visiting a new country is being caught unawares with all the cultural differences and unplanned scenarios ;). But if you insist on planning, I'll also recommend BoyBach's suggestion. All that you really must sort out beforehand is the money part. I've never been to spain, so I can't help you with that :eek:.

    It's unlikely that you'll learn enough spanish from here to May, but you can get away with the basic phrases such as "I really have to pee now" or "Is this illegal around here?" :p. I can help you out with a few phrases if you like, I can also tell you what NOT to say.
     
  5. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #5
    Somebody once told me that more or less the best pickpockets in the world are to be found in Spain. I cannot verify this personally, but it would be worth keeping in mind.
     
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    Though it may be overkill you could get deeply entrenched in a Berlitz course. I have no idea what the rates are but if you could find a way to get the money you should be able to converse in Spanish well enough to get by.

    Unlike classes at a regular school you are engulfed in the language for several hours a day for several weeks. I think their most intense course is 8 weeks living on sight and all you can use and hear is the language you are learning, though that may be another similar language school.

    Other than that just look up cheesy spanish pick up lines. Are you going to Ibiza?

    As for stuff to bring I wouldn't bother with a bunch of electronics, they just weigh you down and you must fret about them (someone else will probably bring a laptop let them sweat it out, while you enjoy the benefits of backing up your photos to another memory card thus reducing the chance of a thief ruining you trip). What I would bring

    shorts
    t-shirts (button up or polo so you are dressed nicer like the Europeans)
    Sandals (real ones not flip flops)
    a nice outfit or two if you can get to a club (remember this is Europe people actually dress well there)
    sunscreen
    deodorant
    toothbrush and paste
    Ibuprofen
    soaps, shaving gear, brushes and other grooming/hygiene products
    a pair of jeans (especially if you will be exploring any wilderness)
    Camera (rather than one memory card that holds many pictures use multiple smaller cards in case it gets stolen)
    Passport

    Last but not least as much money as you can, nothing ruins a vacation abroad more than having to carefully watch your budget. So if you do not have a job get one (Any ware). Bring $200-300 in cash everything else in cashiers checks. Given that you are in high school when I went on my senior trip to Cancun I brought $400 per week and that went fast.
     
  7. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #7
    Travel light. Check this site out:

    http://www.onebag.com/

    Don't take a load of junk with you for every eventuality - travel light... you might have to buy some soap or toothpaste from a Spanish supermarket - but that's fun!!

    My sister spent 6 months there as part of an exchange and I went out to visit her. I absolutely loved the place.

    Top tip - try and try as many different types of food as possible. My sister has the same (relaxed) attitude to food as me... and we found ourselves in this packed tapas joint ordering some fried meat stuff. It was delicious, but kind of crunchy. That's when we noticed the big painting of a pig's ear on the wall - this place just sold pigs ear in olive oil!!! :D

    If a local is eating something it's not going to harm you though - so really try and go for it. Their sliced ham is fantastic - an art form :p

    Madrid's architecture is amazing, the people are relaxed. Most nights there seems to be a traffic jam after midnight, as people stay out late partying. :cool:

    Enjoy! I'm envious!
     
  8. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #8
    Get a little travel pack with little tubes of body wash, toothpaste, etc. Buy a bottle of sun lotion. Take a few pairs of boxers and socks, and a couple of shirts, wear your coat, all set :D

    Thats how I'd love to do it, except one problem, the mother/wife.
     
  9. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #9
    Another thing... In May it could still be quite cold in the evenings. Madrid is in a mountainous region (you can ski there in Winter), so take a fleece or something like that.

    Europeans wear shorts at the beach or on holiday, but not so much in town. I don't think you'd see many Spanish people wearing shorts in Madrid in May, so bear this in mind. Europeans never wear shorts that go below the knee either - if you wear those everyone will know you're American. Also take some decent shoes, you probably won't be allowed in clubs in trainers.

    If you want to take gifts, people in London certainly seem to go wild for peanut butter M&Ms (can't get them in Europe). European's hate hershey chocolate (it just tastes dusty and nasty compared to the stuff here).
     
  10. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I don't know if this is the case anymore or in Madrid (i've never been to Madrid) but it used to be that dinner in Spain is a lot later.
    I'm not sure if thats completely relevant anymore - since i haven't been to there in a long time.

    Spain is great, have a good time!
     
  11. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #11
    Indeed. I highly recommend you walk into a Spanish supermarket, look the cashier in the eye and confidently say, "yo quiero la sopa para un baño."
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #12
    Yeah, that should help!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN9mP2_1A-c
     
  13. pimentoLoaf macrumors 68000

    pimentoLoaf

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Location:
    The SimCity Deli
    #13
    The legal age of consent in Spain is 13. :eek: :cool:
     
  14. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #14
    I heard that too... I have some khaki pants with zippers.. I'll be taking them. If I wear them high, well, hopefully I won't be tooooo American.

    So my shopping list thus far is peanut butter m&m's, a lot of small memory cards, and a lonely planet guidebook...

    Also, does anyone have a good picture of the type of stuff I could wear to a club?
     
  15. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    #15
    There are some sunflower seeds from the Grefusa company available in Madrid.

    They're called "Pipas G Sabor Tijuana."

    They are the most amazing seeds in the world. If I had the money, I'd fly to spain to get them! (The company does not export.)

    They're bbq-ey. Sooooo good!!
     
  16. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #16
    The best thing to buy to help prevent theft is carabiners.

    If you're carrying a backpack around (or a small day pack), use a small carabiner to hold the zips together. That will stop someone from quickly getting into your pack when it's on your back.

    A bigger carabiner on a bag or backpack strap lets you wrap the strap around a table leg when you're at a bar/restaurant etc. and secure it to itself. You'll then have some protection against someone casually picking your bag up, or grabbing it.
     
  17. colordrome macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    #17
    Hey Jadedmonkey,

    I am here in Barcelona. Madrid is a pretty cool city but I would definitively suggest you to come and visit Barcelona, I think you are going to like it better.

    I lived for over 15 years in San Francisco but I am an italian citizen. If you need any help once in Spain feel free to contact me at my email address which is colordrome@yahoo.com

    You should really pick up a little spanish if you can because people here don´t speak english that much :)

    I hope you´ll have a nice time here in Spain. May is a great month, still not too warm.

    Take care!

    Robert
     
  18. Patrick425 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    #18
    you should watch a bullfight. although it may seem like animal cruelty, its a HUGE part of their culture, and i think if youre going to Spain, you should take place in their culture.
     
  19. colordrome macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    #19
    It doesn´t seem like animal cruelty IT IS a very despicable animal cruelty. The fact that is part of a tradition of a country does not mean that it is a justifiable behavior.

    If you have ever watched a bull fight on TV where you see an agonizing animal being tortured in front of a big audience I am sure you will quickly change your mind about what it is considered "tradition" and soon realize that it is just a plain and simple legalized torture against animals.
     
  20. Patrick425 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    #20
    yeah i went to spain and got to see a bullfight in real life. Its really weird because the spanish people are VERY into it and get VERY rowdy. You can almost say that bullfighting is to spanish as football is to americans. But yeah, i was quite shocked when i saw the actual fight because prior to the show i had no idea what they did. but yeah, if you feel comfortable and might want to experience something huge in spanish culture, you might want to check it out. if not, good for you :) btw, spanish food isn't as good as you might think. You'll probably want to try out paellas and dishes like that, which were pretty good, but overall i was quite dissappointed with the food i ate over there. However, near the end of my trip I started discovering some pretty good places to grab food, so I recommend you visit websites and toursites to know where to go.
     
  21. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Up the irons

Share This Page