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Old Jun 10, 07, 1:19 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 14,225
Hello PA Penny

Bienvenida a Flyertalk!

I've been to Madrid quite a few times, but I have to admit that it's never even occurred to me to hire a city tour guide - not for Madrid or for any other country.

Madrid is quite easy to get around in - the public transport is straightforward and efficient and is an important part of sampling the lifestyle in this vibrant city.

My advice would be to get a decent guide book and decide for yourselves what you want to do. All the major Art Museums will have moderatley priced tours you can take (there'll be a visitors desk near the entrance where you can hire headphones for an interactive tour - check out the museum/gallery web pages to see if there are any escorted tours in English that day. The ones organised by the museum should be of a high standard).

Once you've planned where you want to go just go. Do some reading up before you arrive or take notes when you're there and do some looking up when you return.

I'd suggest you don't miss out on Madrid's main highlight - its evening and nightlife. Have a siesta if you can (a couple of hours between 2pm & 4pm or 3pm & 5pm) get up, have an espresso (just ask for cafe), have another one, walk around, see some shops, then between 8 and 10pm start visiting the bars for drinks and tapas. Don't huddle yourselves away but chat to the people around you, ask for suggestions on where to go, follow new acquaintances to a new bar, perhaps another one, say your farewells, go to another bar, talk to some people there and so on and so on.

Madrid is a social city, that's its main charm - anyone who goes solely for museums and pre-determined notions of culture is missing the point.

Euros? It's up to you what you feel comfortable taking around with you - you should think of Madrid in the same way as you do New York and take exactly the same precautions against theft etc..

You may want to exchange some Euros before you go, just to be on the safe side. I personally use ATMs to get money out and use a bank card for most of my purchases (you'll need to have ID on you to use it at many stores - keep a copy of your passport elsewhere if you are going to take it around with you as ID). The ATMs aren't 100% reliable though.

Mallorca? No idea, never been there.
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