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17

I'd suggest a few things: Learn to how to say "Do you speak english?" - "Parlez-Vous Anglais?" and "¿Hablas inglés?" Learn some basic pronunciations in the two languages (they may have the same letters but they don't always sound the same!). Reading through a guide then listening to some examples online should help with this Bring a common phrase book, and ...


14

I think it's relatively easy to find en English-speaker in France or in Spain. According to this table, 36% and 27% speaks English. It seems to me sometimes they just don't like to use English because they find it disrespectful that you don't use their language. According to my experience if you learn a few phrases and start the conversation using French or ...


14

You have bumped into one of the Spanish habits. In Spain there are a lot of people that wake up early just to leave their things at the beach/pool and then go back to bed. It's like planting a flag saying "hey, this is my territory and you should keep away". I hate this behaviour of my fellow countrymen. What to do? At the beach, there is a recent law that ...


11

You have to confirm with your rental agency that you're allowed to do that. In Europe most agencies allow you to travel in all countries of central and western Europe, but forbid you to visit countries in the East, like for example Belarus, Poland, Croatia, etc. However, it will be likely that your rental agency will bill you an extra fee if you want to ...


11

I ran at San Fermin in 2007. It is among the scariest things I have done, but quite an experience. There is a double bend early in the course where it goes through a large plaza. Our plan was to start before that plaza, run to that, so that we could hop out if we needed to. Since it is unpredictable I would recommend planning something like that. Get a map ...


10

The Pilar Festival is held every year around the second week of October in Zaragoza. The festival features a huge flower offering on October 12th in which thousands of flowers are piled into a gigantic pyramid in the center square next to a huge basilica. It's a great photo op.; here's a (not so good) picture I took of the flower pyramid from last year's ...


10

Barcelona had more pickpocketing than any other city I've gone to for a conference. One year every single person I spoke to had a theft story. One person had been mugged, a woman had her laptop bag slit in the elevator and the laptop removed without her knowledge, and I was in a group of 4 who ate in a sandwich shop with our bags at our feet and stood up to ...


10

Any large international car rental firm that operates in both Germany and Spain should work. I just searched via the regular homepages of Hertz and Europcar, and both offered similar rates. It won't be cheap though - around 1000 EUR if you allow only a week for the trip, 2000 if you take a month. Be sure to buy a large enough km package in advance.


10

It's definitively possible. If you check Google Maps, you can see that an one-way journey takes approximately 3 hours. So If you leave early morning, you can be there on late forenoon. Then you can spend some hours there and go back late evening. However, you have to decide by yourself if that's reasonable for you. You will have to drive a long time in one ...


10

Yes, there is. However, information on internet is quite poor, therefore I describe my own experiences here. On 21 December 2012, I travelled from Gran Canaria airport via Las Palmas, Agaete, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz de La Palma. The ferry company Fred Olsen operates many ferry-bus connections. I will describe my experiences ...


10

Your best bet is to sign up to a crew-finding website like findacrew.net. A friend who cycled from London to New Zealand did this for the ocean parts - hung out in port and used the site. What was observed is that there are different levels of opportunities. Some berths require that you have licenses or sailing experience, or a particular skill (eg ...


9

(As I am French, I speak for France only) Young people learn at least one foreign language at school, usually english. They should at least understand some short sentences if said slowly. Be kind with their strong french accent. In Toulouse where I live you can find a big student population, including foreign students who may speak decent english. You can ...


9

As long as you stay within the Schengen area, you only need a single entry visa. Travelling between Spain and France is not counted as a new entry. You should perhaps be aware of a few pitfalls though. Andorra (on the border between Spain and France) is not part of the Schengen area. You are allowed to enter Andorra with a Schengen visa, but traveling back ...


8

Barcelona is like every big city in Europe. Generally very safe, but obviously there are some pickpockets especially in tourist region. But normal precautions should be way enough. I would just pay special attention when visiting Las Ramblas. There are a lot of tourists and a lot of pickpockets and other dodgy people. In night time, you will also met some ...


8

I have to say that Las Ramblas in Barcelona is the most thief-ridden part of the world I've been to. Moreso than all the other big cities I've been to in Europe east or west, Central America, or India. In the week I was there I either saw at least one person robbed or met at least one person who'd been robbed each and every day, some involving violence. It ...


8

According to Viamichelin there are no toll costs on driving from Santander to Malaga. You would spend about 50 GBP on Tolls if you were to drive all the way from London.


8

The cheapest way is to buy two domestic tickets: either Paris–Hendaye and Irun–Madrid, or Paris–Cerbère and Portbou–Madrid. See below for details. For this kind of questions, in general, Raildude is a useful resource. It is most useful in connection to Interrail, but also useful in general to get an overview of connections. For example, for Paris–Madrid, ...


8

I've been researching routes for my trip to the Camino in June/July. It appears that the most popular routes are the Northern way and the French way. Here are the differences between the two. The French Way More popular and crowded. Great route if you're looking for people to meet. Not so great if you like solitude. Albergues are more frequent (~15-20km ...


7

I always recommend getting an international driving permit even if it isn't enforced. An IDL costs $25 US, takes 15 minutes, and can be picked up at any AAA (If you are from the USA). They are handy if you get pulled over or as a second form of (unofficial) ID should something happen. Keep in mind it is only valid if you have you original license with you, ...


7

You are looking to walk the Camino de Santiago. It joins hiking, nature, historic architecture, photo opportunities and is very cheap (eat about 6-8 € per meal and sleep 4-8 €). Additionally, you'll know the real Spain, meet interesting people (mainly Spanish, but you can find people from around the world and you will complete one of the mythical mid age ...


7

In my experience, you're not going to have any problems. They can technically ask for proof of onward travel, proof of adequate funds, and proof of housing. In reality, they'll (in all likelihood) see that you're American and (maybe) ask how long you're staying. There aren't really concrete answers because there seems to be a discrepancy between the law and ...


7

Ok then, some suggestions, as I've been to Valencia a couple of times. Just north of Valencia is Requena, a fantastic little Spanish town. The night before La Tomatina is the festival of water and wine, but as you're going in December, you can just enjoy the town itself. It used to be a Moorish fortress, and parts of the town date from the 13th century. ...


7

On a weekday, you could take the metro if getting there ~1 h 10 min before the flight is enough for you. (Personally I'd most likely choose this option if, as usual, travelling with just hand luggage.) According to Metrovalencia's official route planner, the first train (line 3) from city centre (Xàtiva station) leaves at 04:59 and reaches the airport ...


7

Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas (Burgos) (El monasterio de Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas – Burgos) is a monastery of Cistercian nuns located approximately 1.5 km west of the city of Burgos in Spain. The monastery is open to the public. Visits are administered not by the monastic community, but by the Spanish heritage organisation Patrimonio ...


7

It's because it is a High Speed train running at 300km per hour. The only way of getting it cheap is via the Renfe website approx 1-2 months in advance. Then you can get up to 60% discount.


7

There are political reasons behind this and I believe that this isn't the appropriate website to discuss this. Anyway, you can find cheaper rail and air tickets for the BCN-MAD route. Try with Rumbo for instance. This website returns prices for airlines and Renfe trains. I've tested for you some dates and you can fly for less than 30 euros and go by train ...


7

There is no written rule about "siesta" time. Usually the siesta starts after lunch and ends one or two hours later. It is a wrong idea to think that most Spanish have a siesta time, it happened some decades ago, but today is not a generalized practice. Anyway, you have to difference between siesta time and business timetables. Probably Spanish timetables ...


6

(This was a comment but I promoted it to an answer after the question was reopened but before it was reworded to ask about statistics and resources.) Purely anecdotal evidence but based on my own personal first hand experience from back in 2002. Barcelona has more theivery than any other place I've been anywhere in the world, and I've been to every capital ...


6

Overall, Spain is a relatively safe country, if you compare the total number of crimes committed in Spain to other countries. Another resource for that is the Eleventh United Nations Survey on Crime trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems. I can't find a statistic that compares the various cities in Spain, but according to this report, the ...



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