Madrid & Mallorca

Old Jun 10, 07, 12:45 pm
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Madrid & Mallorca

July 5 tour of the Madrid . Any tourist company you would advise? 2 people. I have info. on a private tour but the cost was $800 + which included a driver & a tour guide. We will be near the Prado & can do that tour on our own.
We are renting a car for a week in Mallorca. Any sights we should visit there?
Thanks.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 12:47 pm
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Madrid & Mallorca

Should we have euros before we depart USA? I forgot to add this ques.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 1:19 pm
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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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Old Jun 10, 07, 2:55 pm
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thank you

I appreciate your input. I have an excellent guide book.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 5:48 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
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.
People choose a destination based on what is important to them. If the goal is strictly to see musuems then that is a valid reason. Even in that case they will no doubt discover that Madrid has many other great things to offer once there.


Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
The ATMs aren't 100% reliable though.
That's true enough. Finding a functioning ATM shouldn't be hard though, even if the first one you encounter doesn't work. I wouldn't bother taking Euros unless you are a nervous type. If all else fails you can probably exchange some cash at the airport or train station (at poor rates). A travelling friend also might be able to front you a couple of Euros just in case.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
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.
Maybe its my PhD in Art History talking, but I really think this is an inaccurate statement. I don't criticize people who chose not to take advantage of Madrid's excellent museums so I don't see the point of criticizing someone who does. I know many people in Madrid are justly proud of the art housed in their city and - those guidebooks you mention will undoubtedly list the Prado as one of the top, if not the top, destination on any Madrid itinerary.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 7:21 pm
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Originally Posted by gilpin View Post
That's true enough. Finding a functioning ATM shouldn't be hard though, even if the first one you encounter doesn't work. I wouldn't bother taking Euros unless you are a nervous type. If all else fails you can probably exchange some cash at the airport or train station (at poor rates). A travelling friend also might be able to front you a couple of Euros just in case.
I'm not actually thinking of ATMs not working - but about communications with the ATMs and your particular bank failing. It's happened to me all over the world, Spain included. I have friends and family in Spain so no problems for me when I spend hours or days without access to cash, but for a tourist, they might want to consider how they'd handle this scenario.


I'll take this opportunity to repeat again, going to Madrid and focusing solely on Art galleries and museums really is missing the point.

I'm very proud of my Spanish heritage, the museums are wonderful and definitely worth seeing. But not going out in the evenings...? Unthinkable!
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Old Jun 10, 07, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
I'm...thinking... about communications with the ATMs and your particular bank failing.
Madrid seems no better and no worse in this regard than anywhere else in Europe. It should go without saying (but I guess it needs to be said) that you should have cards from at least 2 different financial organization which you can use to get cash at an ATM.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
I'll take this opportunity to repeat again, going to Madrid and focusing solely on Art galleries and museums really is missing the point.
There are as many "points" as there are travellers.

Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
But not going out in the evenings...? Unthinkable!
Unthinkable to you perhaps. Others may value their rest more.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 8:23 pm
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Originally Posted by PA Penny View Post
Should we have euros before we depart USA?
Normally the answer is 'no'. However, for Mallorca the answer is 'yes'. I last visited Mallorca in 2002 (or was it 2003?). I was surprised to find NO money change counters in the airport. This was a first! At least there were no cambios in the terminal that Lufthansa and Spanair land in.

I did find two ATM machines. One was a normal machine which unfortunately would not accept my Bank of America ATM card. The other was an American Express ATM which would not accept my Amex card PIN number.

In town the local Barclays Bank branch would not convert my US $100 dollar bills. I just walked a few steps to another bank and then was able to convert my USA currency to Euro.

Other than these minor $ issues, you will enjoy the beach, landscape, scenery and culture of Mallorca. Have fun.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by tealeaf99 View Post
In town the local Barclays Bank branch would not convert my US $100 dollar bills.
If you are planning on taking dollars to exchange go to your bank and get the newest, least circulated notes they will give you. Worn, torn bills, or even ones of a prior design will often be refused.

In recent years Iran has been printing tons of fake US currency and many Europeans have already been victimized. $50 bills are more likely to be accepted than $100's because they are less often counterfeited.
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Old Jun 11, 07, 5:49 am
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Originally Posted by gilpin View Post
Madrid seems no better and no worse in this regard than anywhere else in Europe
I'm sure it isn't.

The question was: "Should we have euros before we depart USA? I forgot to add this ques."

I answered it - my answer is valid for any country in Europe. That you're assuming that I was referring only to Madrid or Spain is missing the point.

Again.
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Old Jun 11, 07, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
I answered it - my answer is valid for any country in Europe. That you're assuming that I was referring only to Madrid or Spain is missing the point.

Again.
Well of course it goes without saying that your "answer" is the only answer, and that your "point" is the only point.

What you actually posted was:

Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
...I've been to Madrid quite a few times...for Madrid...Madrid is quite easy to get around in ..don't miss out on Madrid's main highlight...Madrid is a social city...The ATMs aren't 100% reliable though.

Mallorca? No idea, never been there.
How on earth would anyone get the idea that response referred to "Madrid or Spain" just because the post discusses only Madrid (referring to that particular city 5 times by name) and only mentions 1 other location (also in Spain), but only to point out that it is not being discussed.

Last edited by gilpin; Jun 11, 07 at 11:06 am
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Old Jun 11, 07, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by gilpin View Post
Well of course it goes without saying that your "answer" is the only answer, and that your "point" is the only point.

What you actually posted was:
...I've been to Madrid quite a few times...for Madrid...Madrid is quite easy to get around in ..don't miss out on Madrid's main highlight...Madrid is a social city...The ATMs aren't 100% reliable though.

Mallorca? No idea, never been there.
No it wasn't!!! You're completely misquoting me to make an erroneous 'point'.

There were THREE questions and I answered all three separately.

Regarding Euros my answer was:
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.
Nowhere does it say this advice is confined to the ATMs of Madrid.


Perhaps I've had the misfortune to return on countless ocassions with a plane full of Britons who completely missed the 'point' of being in Spain (as far as they were concerned they were at a sunnier Southend or Skegness where the locals had the unfortunate habit of cooking their eggs, sausages and bacon in olive oil) to feel much in the way of indulgence towards tourists who blinkerdly and blindly home in on pre-conceived notions of what to find in 'my' country and shield themselves away from what the locality means to the people who live there.

Sure - recommend that people go to Spain and just look at museums, I'm sure they'll have a wonderful time - of course they will, the museums are splendid. But these visitors will have visited the 'museums in Madrid', not Madriz itself. There aren't many tour guides who can give you this experience of what REALLY makes Madrid different to most of the other European capitals. My answer was relevant to the OPs question about whether to get a tour guide and tried to address it.
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Old Jun 11, 07, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
You're completely misquoting me
The quotes were taken directly from the post in question.
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Nowhere does it say this advice is confined to the ATMs of Madrid.
Nowhere does is say anything about any location other than Madrid. And if it really was meant as "no ATM's anywhere are 100% reliable" (despite the 100% Madrid context in which posted and the fact the term used was "The ATMs" rather than the generic "ATMs") then that is hardly shocking news to anyone, anywhere, and certainly doesn't constitute "advice" on visiting Madrid and Mallorca.

Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Perhaps I've had the misfortune to return on countless ocassions with a plane full of Britons who completely missed the 'point' of being in Spain
How sad you were forced to mingle with these ignorant inferiors. Still I have no doubt you set them right regarding what they should think and feel about their own life experiences.

Last edited by gilpin; Jun 11, 07 at 6:10 pm
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