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Madrid with no Spanish

Madrid with no Spanish

Old Jun 25, 19, 6:49 am
  #1  
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Madrid with no Spanish

Considering 6 days in Madrid but neither my wife nor I speak Spanish. I'm concerned it will be difficult to get around and communicate making the trip a bit stressful.
Thoughts?
Also is 6 days too much? I found what I thought was a good PE fare BOS-MAD $750 ea and have it on hold.
I know we can do some days trips from Madrid as well.
Thank you
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Old Jun 25, 19, 7:09 am
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2-3 days to enjoy Madrid, and 2-3 day trips (Toledo, Segóvia, El Escorial), or alternatively, 2 days in Madrid, 1 day trip and 2 days in Seville (a 2.5 hr high-speed train ride away).

You'll be able to get around just fine if you install Google Translate and have some common sense, millions of tourists get around just fine every year, without knowing the language.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 7:19 am
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Thank you
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Old Jun 26, 19, 5:46 am
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That’s a good fare in premium economy. There are many people who speak English (and many who don’t); for conversational English and especially in touristy areas, you should be fine.
You could spend 3 days in Madrid and do a day trip to Toledo (highly recommend) and another to Segovia or El Escorial. Even Valencia is only 1 hour, 15-20 minutes on high speed train but I’d stay overnight if going there as there’s much to do. You could also consider splitting trip and going to Barcelona or Sevilla as examples. Both are 2 1/2 hours or a bit more depending which train via high-speed train. Focusing on Madrid with a day trip or two would allow a more leisurely stay.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 6:02 am
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In the central areas and at tourist attractions, people you deal with will speak English. The same is certainly true at international hotels, although the housekeepers not so much, so you call the guest services line or talk to the front desk in person for special requests. Some years ago I drove alone by car through rural Spain, staying in small villages, knowing only four or five words or Spanish without any problems. Younger people in Spain generally have learned English quite well in school and through movies and TV, although older educated people might know French etc. instead.

BTW don't be afraid to do the excursions on your own; you don't need to take a tour and be herded around with other foreigners and given bad expensive meals at tourist traps. Also the advantage of doing a night away from Madrid is that you would see Toledo/Segovia/Seville at night too, when these places are beautiful. There's a very pleasant culture of strolling in the evening, stopping at an outdoor cafe for a drink, and then proceeding to a restaurant for a late dinner.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 12:43 pm
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Thank you all. Good info.. I've pretty much decided on and booked 3 nights 3 days in Madrid. One of those days will be a day trip to Toledo.
Then head to Sevilla for 2 nights. The final night will be back in Madrid for our flight home the next day.
I have some questions on tours but I'll start another thread to avoid confusion.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
In the central areas and at tourist attractions, people you deal with will speak English. The same is certainly true at international hotels, although the housekeepers not so much, so you call the guest services line or talk to the front desk in person for special requests. Some years ago I drove alone by car through rural Spain, staying in small villages, knowing only four or five words or Spanish without any problems. Younger people in Spain generally have learned English quite well in school and through movies and TV, although older educated people might know French etc. instead.

BTW don't be afraid to do the excursions on your own; you don't need to take a tour and be herded around with other foreigners and given bad expensive meals at tourist traps. Also the advantage of doing a night away from Madrid is that you would see Toledo/Segovia/Seville at night too, when these places are beautiful. There's a very pleasant culture of strolling in the evening, stopping at an outdoor cafe for a drink, and then proceeding to a restaurant for a late dinner.
This, if you do nothing else, this. And if your stay includes a Sunday, the locals (in any spanish city) are out and about strolling and enjoying the day. One of my best vacation days in Europe was strolling around Sevilla on a Sunday, having an occasional cocktail at an outdoor cafe.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 9:40 am
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English language level between spanish people use to be poor in some cases, but we use to be very kind with visitors and travelers and we make an efford to comunicate with you. In touristic areas you won't have any problen with English, but if you find people who don't speak English, they won't make you feel uncomfortable
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Old Sep 26, 19, 6:57 pm
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I've been to Madrid twice now and I don't speak any Spanish and I have had no trouble navigating it, dining in off the beaten path restaurants or having a good time. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old Sep 27, 19, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I've been to Madrid twice now and I don't speak any Spanish and I have had no trouble navigating it, dining in off the beaten path restaurants or having a good time. I wouldn't worry about it.

+1

also I take it the OP has never traveled to any Country where the mother language isnt English

Ive traveled to many a Country where not only was English not the mother language but where many folks didnt even speak or read a word of it, and eventually everything worked out just fine
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Old Sep 27, 19, 2:37 pm
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Dont worry, you'll survive without spanish, but wont survive 6 days. That's way too long. If you dont want to go far, consider day trips - like Chinchón or El Escorial Monastery and Palace.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 2:32 pm
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Take some time and at least learn some basic phrases. Then try them out in the appropriate situations, as difficult and uncomfortable as that will be for you. If the person you are speaking with speaks English (which is likely in the places you are likely to go), s/he will likely very quickly switch to that because it will be much easier for both of you. But the fact that you at least tried to communicate in the local language will mean a lot and is nothing to be embarrassed about. (Remember, they had to learn English once too, and still may not be comfortable speaking it.)
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Old Oct 3, 19, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Bear96 View Post
Take some time and at least learn some basic phrases. Then try them out in the appropriate situations, as difficult and uncomfortable as that will be for you. If the person you are speaking with speaks English (which is likely in the places you are likely to go), s/he will likely very quickly switch to that because it will be much easier for both of you. But the fact that you at least tried to communicate in the local language will mean a lot and is nothing to be embarrassed about. (Remember, they had to learn English once too, and still may not be comfortable speaking it.)
This.
I find that even learning a few basic words can go a long way and is very appreciated. Even in Paris.
Like hello, goodbye, excuse me, thank you, toilet.
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Old Oct 4, 19, 12:55 pm
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I agree that in most countries you should be OK even without knowing a local language, but I think you miss out on a lot particularly when lots of people don't speak English. In countries like the Netherlands or Norway you can probably rely on a majority of people knowing some or a lot of English and often many signs are also translated.

I took a year of Spanish at university so my skills are not the greatest, but when I visit the country I can go into all sorts of small shops/cafes etc and be understood by non-English speakers, I have also been able to ask for directions when I got lost and get help from non-English speakers. And also in some less visited tourist attractions I was able to read information boards that were not translated, whereas my German is not good enough to do this in Germany. Spain is the only European country where people in the tourist industry initially try to speak English to me but when I respond in their language they actually seem relieved.

On the other hand because I want to know some of the language before I visit a country, I have been reluctant to visit places such as Eastern Europe due to lack of time to study; but it turned out that I had to go to many of these countries for business reasons anyway and I felt that I could have got a lot more out of my visits if I had been able to learn some Slavic.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 6:17 am
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I did 5 days in MAD without knowing any Spanish. With the exception of a few Uber drivers, I got along just fine. Madrid is a beautiful city with much to do. Heck, I could spend a whole spring/fall day in Parque de El Retiro.

One of my fondest travel memories ever was stumbling on the royal palace my first day in town (after a long TATL flight) at "golden hour" (you know, that hour hollywood is always trying to film in during the morning/evenings when the light is the most magical) where the plaza was fairly empty except for some musicians and kids running around with dogs, while a warm gentle breeze blew.
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