Planning a solo Spain itinerary - Arts must-do's? Portugal?
Replies: 49 - Last Post: Aug 10, 2012 9:55 PM Last Post By: gawkabout
Jul 30, 2012 1:38 PM
15My worst memory of my one and only attendance at a bullfight is the smell-horrific! The bull wouldn't react so they set off some sort of firecracker in its neck and then it tried to jump the barrier where a horse was stuck,This was in Ventas,Madrid
Thank goodness Catalonia has started the ban on bullfights!
Jul 30, 2012 3:42 PM
Jul 30, 2012 6:20 PM
17I have seen enough on YouTube now to know I don't want to see nor support bullfighting. Like I said in my second post, I was initially thinking of the presentation of bullfights in TV/movies where they just swish a bit of cloth around and look good. I had somehow completely overlooked the bulls getting hurt .. and people! Thank you everyone for reminding me!
MySpanishTrip1 and chopchi, I had no idea that 'hostales' and 'pensiones' were different to 'hostels'. Nor did I know about 'casa rural'. Are 'pensiones' intended for much older people?
Jul 30, 2012 6:29 PM
18Shuffaluff, I initially looked on the Hostelling International site, but the hostels in Barcelona were getting terrible reviews. I then started looking at hostels.com. This had a much better range of hostels and I started seeing much better reviews. I have also been looking at expedia.com. I will have another look at Hostelling International for other locations though. Thanks.
Chopchi and MySpanishTrip1, I will start keeping an eye out for hostales and pensiones. Thanks.
Chopchi, I will look at HospedajeJaen.
Aribo and Gawkabout, thanks for the 'open jaw' information. I'll consider this as I work out my itinerary.
Akana, thanks for the info on flamenco and Seville. I did the first level of flamenco classes a few years ago. It would be great to see an excellent performance in Spain.
Jul 30, 2012 7:33 PM
19Pensiones/hostales are for all ages!Hospedaje Jaen ges really good reviews-run by a huband/wife who live there,very helful polite couple ,not much English.it's a great location wwhere Cervantes was born and also the house of Lope de Vega is on the same street.Further down the street is Dulcinea,also very clean and great rates.
Take a look at madridman.com- he has them all listed by are in Madrid and Barcelona
Jul 30, 2012 7:44 PM
20Oh, that's great. Thanks for the link.
I just started wondering .. How is luggage usually stored on the trains? I will probably move about mostly by trains, and I started thinking .. If it is simply stored in a compartment above your head, how secure is that if you need to go to the toilet?? Excuse me for asking dumb questions, but the security issue has popped up a few times.
Jul 30, 2012 8:26 PM
21Luggage on trains goes either on a luggage rack above your head or in a space between the seats. And you put it there yourself. No baggage handlers! There is no separate baggage compartment on European trains.
It's not very likely that someone would grab your suitcase while you're in the toilet. But if you are concerned, wait until the train has just left a station and there is a long distance to go before the next station, so there's no fear of someone hopping off the train with your bag while you're not watching. Contrary to what you might have heard, or imagined, trains are not full of luggage thieves just waiting for an opportunity. Keep your valuables with you, obviously.
Jul 30, 2012 9:38 PM
22In Spain,I prefer to take trips by bus.The bus is very comfortable w/A/C,movies,internet connection,assigned seats and cheaper than the train,
The best thing about taking the bus is that the station is usually in town not like the train stations which usually require you to take a bus or taxi into town.
Jul 31, 2012 3:05 AM
23The busses in Spain are nice.
But you only get to talk to one person.
Jul 31, 2012 12:42 PM
Jul 31, 2012 5:35 PM
25Oh, folks, I have read too much about the pickpockets in Barcelona now. Though it depresses me, I think I should leave the Spain idea and go somewhere else - other places on my list are New York, India and China. My sister thinks New York is a perfect place for my first overseas solo trip. It does not excite me as much as Spain - I have been wanting to go to Spain my whole life - but I'm thinking it could be better for me to go there when I have someone else with me. Otherwise, what do I do if I lose my stuff? I can leave valuables in a safety deposit box at the hotel/hostale, but when I'm travelling to the next location I will need to take everything with me. I am reasonably street-wise and have dealt with tough kids as a teacher in tough schools, but really, I live in Perth, it's fairly small-town. I can't see any surefire way of avoiding this kind of thing. Are there any? Really?
Jul 31, 2012 6:10 PM
26If pickpockets in Barcelona are your main reason for avoiding Spain, you're making a huge mistake. Millions of people have visited the city without any problem, and although you're never 100% protected against crime anywhere in the world, common sense and a few basic precautions should be enough to keep you and your valuables safe.
Your sister's suggestion to go to NYC is pretty ridiculous, given the crime rate of that city. Also note that india is famous for all sorts of hassle and scams, while China - where almost no one speaks English - is a challenge too if you've never travelled before.
Jul 31, 2012 6:17 PM
27Hey HungryLttleMonkey don't be a ScaredLittleMonkey !!
As long as you are aware you should be fine in Spain...millions of people go to Spain every year and get out just fine.
NYC is most probably less safe then Spain...Nowhere is really safe.
Get yourself a money belt and keep copies of your passport and cc's in your case, also stash a couple hundred $$ for emergency in the lining of your case or a safe at your lodgings. Keep a spare cc also ..just in case.
Pickpockets go for the weak and distracted (just like animals in the wild, the leopard stalks the young and the weak). Look aware and confident and they will move on to easier pickings.
Jul 31, 2012 6:39 PM
28Aribo, I understand that this doesn't happen to everyone, but I have just read a thread on another site which had endless stories of people being robbed in one way or another, and long waits at the police stations due to all the reports being made. There was even a news article (from BBC, I think) naming the top 10 pickpocketing capitals of the world. Barcelona was #1 and Madrid was #4. Given that many of these stories involved about 3 people working on each theft, and that many involved people grabbing these people (supposedly in fun), I'm not sure how I defend myself from that.
Tips I've read to avoid all this include not pulling out maps in public, looking like you know where you're going, not using your camera, and generally not looking like a tourist. I want to gaze at the Gaudi buildings, I want to stand around and let myself be a bit dreamy, and I don't want to be feeling like I'm being watched whenever I need to pull out a map. If you have any suggestions for making that work, please let me know.
In regards NYC, I've spoken to quite a few people who think it's one of the safest places to visit. For both China and India I would take guided tours.
Jul 31, 2012 6:43 PM
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