Portugal and Spain

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by mooseontheloose, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    On Friday I'll be headed off to Portugal and Spain for three weeks. At the moment the plan is something like this (I'll be travelling in the evenings between cities, and flying return from Madrid to Lisbon and back):

    Portugal (first time)
    Lisbon: 3 full days
    Sintra: 2 full days
    Porto: 3 full days (maybe a day trip to the Douro region, although I currently don't drink, so no wine tastings for me!:sad:)

    Spain (2nd time here, but first time to Madrid/Barcelona, as my first trip was to Andalusia)
    Madrid: 1 day for my work conference, plus 4.5 days for sightseeing, including day trips to Toledo and/or Cuenca, Segovia and/or Avila, plus the El Escorial Monastery/Valley of the Fallen
    Barcelona: almost 4 full days (one possible day trip out of the city, can't decide which one yet). I fly back to Japan (from Madrid) in the late evening of my last day here (my plan is to take the train back to Madrid, seems easier and cheaper than flying).

    Time wise it'll be just over 3 weeks from the time I leave to when I return to Japan (I'll have a full day in Dubai on my way back while on a layover as well). I was hoping to spend some time in Valencia for Las Fallas, unfortunately I have to be back in Japan for my university's graduation ceremony, which takes place that same weekend.

    I've browsed the older posts on this forum concerning these two countries, but some of the information (like photo shops) are outdated.

    I haven't had much time to plan this trip, although it's been in the works since last fall. I need to book tickets for places like the Familia Sagrada and some other day tours, but it got me thinking about the best time of day to photograph certain iconic places. I've read that for the FS that early to mid-morning is better for the facade, but mid- to late-afternoon is better for the interior and the stained glass windows. Would that still hold late Feb/early March? (most suggestions I've read are for during the summer) Assuming the light is good, is it good enough for film on the inside? I often have to resort to using my phone when photographing interiors, since light levels are often not high enough for handholding. Similarly, I've read that Parc Guell is better in the mornings, mostly because there are fewer people then. Any other advice for photographing the sites in the other cities I listed (including at dusk/night)? Of course, if I book tickets I'll be at the mercy of the weather, but there's nothing I can do about that.

    Also, I would appreciate some current recommendations for photo shops. I don't plan on doing any shopping, but it would be good to know it case I need to do a film run. It's seems Casanova Foto is still around in Barcelona, but anything in Madrid or Lisbon? Of course I'm planning on taking all the film I need, but since I shoot different film speeds/stocks/sizes sometimes I run out of the film I'm using because I didn't bring enough of a particular speed (yes I know I should simplify but it is what it is). For example, with my most recent trip to Belgium/the Netherlands, I thought I would need more 400 speed film with all the overcast/rainy weather in the forecast, but in fact it was quite sunny when I was there and I blew through all my Acros pretty quickly.

    Alright, I think this post is long enough. Looking forward to any and all suggestions!
     
  2. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,852
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It has been many years since I was in Portugal and was driving so much has probably changed. We were in Barcelona about four years ago. A couple of suggestions are to buy a pass for the hop on hop off bus (the easiest way to get around) and if you are looking for a hotel check out Room Mate Pau (great location, very nice accommodations and a god breakfast). We were also driving and did the Costa Brava and into France. I took medium format and Delta 400. There was no problem photographing anywhere we went. My equipment was two Hasselblad bodies, the 50mm, 150mm and 2x, a light meter, yellow, orange and light green filters plus a tripod. We were there in the month of October and had chilly but very good weather.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  3. OP
    OP
    mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks Jeffrey! That's good to know about the hop-on hop-off bus. My plan is take my Rolleicord and Nikon FE (with 2 lenses), a few filters and lots of film. I left my tripod behind in Belgium (by accident) so I'll have to see if I can replace it this week. I could take a second TLR as a backup to the first, but I like to have alternative focal lengths which my FE can offer but none of my TLRs can. I'll probably be using public transport for all of my trip, although renting a car for day trips is a possibility.
     
  4. megzdad81

    megzdad81 Subscriber

    Messages:
    154
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Knoxville, T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    You once told me you hardly ever go anywhere, and I had said the opposite. I rest my case. Although it was 35 years ago, I really enjoyed my trip to Marbella and Lisbon, and getting around was really easy. (Of course for a Yank, anything looks easy after driving around Scotland and Ireland for a month.)
     
  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,888
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Photo espana...happening in madrid
     
  6. OP
    OP
    mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It looks great - but it takes place in the summer and I'll be there in March.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :smile:
    Actually, doing two back-to-back trips to Europe is not something I would normally do, but I had extra money in my research budget from work to make it happen, although the jet lag back and forth may not be worth it (so far I feel okay but it usually hits me hard on the 3rd and 4th days for some reason). From April I will be full-time at my university and won't have the same freedom to travel during the breaks as I once did, so I wanted to make use of my last holiday period with no commitments, even though in both cases I'm travelling for work (conferences).
     
  8. halfaman

    halfaman Member

    Messages:
    113
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Location:
    Bilbao
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You have Fotocasion in Madrid. Probably the best photo shop in Spain and in "El Rastro" area, if you go on Sunday you can do both things. The owner is also a famous camera collector but the collection is private and not shown to the public.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fantastic - I’ll definitely find my way there while in Madrid!
     
  10. Minoltafan2904

    Minoltafan2904 Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Balearic Islands, Spain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Caprilephoto also in Madrid
     
  11. Minoltafan2904

    Minoltafan2904 Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Balearic Islands, Spain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I suggest you also come to Mallorca, a beautiful island about 200 Km southeast of Barcelona:smile: it's a 30 minute flight or 8h by sea from Barcelona, and in terms of landscapes much prettier than Barcelona, specially the coast, and we have some very photogenic mountain villages like Deiá and Valldemossa, look it up!
    I could also reccomend you a nice photo studio too if you need to buy film.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It sounds lovely (I have many friends who have been there), unfortunately I just won't have time for it on this trip.
     
  13. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

    Messages:
    988
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Spain
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I'm located 40km from Barcelona, down the coast, but am in the city quite often.
    As of the Lighting for Sagrada Familia, morning will be better for the Northwest (Naixement) façade. Last time I visited it was late March around 3PM and the classic façade was in shade, stained glass is on the sides. Blue/green Northeast and Red/Yellow in the Southwest. Either way impressive. Consider that for the exteriors you can pass by Sagrada Familia around the day so it's really the interior what is better to plan around. Looked at my (digi) shots and most are around 1/30 f2.8 ISO400.
    Parc Güell has a bit of a stir with locals because they made it pay to enter a few years ago, I recall there was the possibility to visit it for free out of the marked schedules (before circa 8 AM and after 18).

    On the way back AVE takes between 2:30 and 3hrs to Madrid. IIRC there is no airport Stopover but the long distance tickets allow the use of the commuting rail, which does connect Atocha to Barajas airport. Check your options because the train can be more expensive than flying.

    Daytrips:

    Montserrat: Easiest option would be to take a package which brings you there, don't see the benefit of going in a car unless you want to explore nearby areas out of the Mountain. The highlight is the Monastery and you can do some short hikes. There's a funicular that climbs to a lookout but sadly it's out of service until Spring. I've got the urge to hike up the Mountain but I'm awaiting a mild and clear day.
    Girona: You can cover the city in one morning thanks to the high speed rail (40min each way). Taking 8:25-12:56 trains you can do some good sightseeing.
    Costa Brava. There are some bus daytrips but the best really would be to go by car. An extended visit to the northern part (Cap the Creus) is in my to do list, postponed by inconvenience.
    Tarragona. Lots of Roman history, it is 1h away from Barcelona in the Regional train. On the same train line and close to Barcelona is Sitges, the small Mediterranean town. To visit sitges you have to switch to a local train, but I think it's worth it.

    For Portugal, I haven't been there but my parents did a week bus trip around; consider to add a visit to Coimbra, they told me the University and its library was quite a sight.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Martin Rickards

    Martin Rickards Member

    Messages:
    163
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2016
    Location:
    Asturias, Spain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Don't forget, to avoid upsetting local sensibilities, wear white in Madrid and claret and blue in Barcelona:wink:
     
  16. Minoltafan2904

    Minoltafan2904 Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Balearic Islands, Spain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes specially now with the current political situation.
     
  17. spijker

    spijker Subscriber

    Messages:
    418
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My suggestion for a day trip from Barcelona is to go to the Dali museum in Figueres. I enjoyed the crazy off-the-wall architecture and art of this museum. Girona is very nice too. Specially in March, these places should not be overcrowded with tourists.

    In Portugal, I found the Douro valley quite spectacular so if you can fit it in. In Porto, don't forget a visit to the art nouveau Lello & Irmão bookstore.
     
  18. NJH

    NJH Member

    Messages:
    570
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Location:
    Dorset
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with that, really enjoyed the Dali museum but I am a big fan anyway. Also going up to Montserrat, its pretty special on many levels but especially so for Catholics or students/followers of religious history..
     
  19. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,589
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Sonoma County, California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
    I've always wanted to go to Portugal and Spain. I hope you have a great time!
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    26,991
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
  21. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    10,131
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For Barcelona- the hop-on, hop-off bus is a decent way to get around to certain places, but do it only for the transportation, not the audio guide (it's really rather light on info). Go do the Gaudi houses on Passeig De Gracia (the Casa Battló and the Casa Mila/La Pedrera) and don't skip the Casa Amatller (they were chocolatiers, you can get some of their chocolate in the gift shop - amazing!!! - and they have a 19th century photo studio in the house too!). Also, the Barcelona subway is very easy to use and a cheap way to get around town. A nice day trip out of Barcelona is also Besalu, an exceptionally well preserved medieval town. The stone bridge is a reconstruction (the original dates to the 13th century, but it was considered strategic in the Spanish Civil War and blown up by Franco's forces) but you'd never know from looking at it. They even have the historical Jewish Mikvah (ritual bath) open for visits.

    For Madrid and environs, I'd strongly suggest Segovia as a day trip - it's easy on the train. I spent two summers living in Segovia as a teenager. It's changed a bit - the plaza under the aqueduct and the main boulevard leading off it have been closed to vehicle traffic and somewhat Disney-ified ( outdoor seating for more upscale tourist restaurants, the neighborhood bars have closed up, as has the disco ). You need to try one of the famous restaurants in Segovia - there are three or four big ones that stake their claim to fame on roast suckling pig, the regional specialty. There's Candido, on the Plaza del Acueducto, and El Bernardino and Casa Duque on Calle Cervantes. I don't know if it's still there, but there was a Witchcraft museum down the street from the Cathedral that was interesting.
     
  22. OP
    OP
    mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wow, thanks Scott! That kind of detailed description is really appreciated. Segovia is definitely on my list and now I feel like it a certainty. That said, I feel like 3 weeks is not enough for this trip! I'll barely scratch the surface of any area. But something is better than nothing! I'm hoping for good weather but already there are a few days of rain in the forecast. I'll try to make those museum days (not sure what I'll do on Mondays though :wink:) I've been busy teaching an intensive class all week (after it ends on Friday I head straight for the airport) so I haven't had much chance to dig deeply into what I want to do as much as I usually would have.
     
  23. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

    Messages:
    520
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Figueira da
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In Lisbon, if you need to recharge film, try luzdodeserto.pt or colorphoto.pt stores. Lisbon is now in vogue in turism and have great places for shooting. Sintra is lovely, If you can visit Palacio da Pena or Quinta da Regaleira.
    Porto is also quite nice, of course, best part is Gaia and the Port wine cellars.
    And as Prest_400 said, if possible, visit Coimbra, our University city. Or do a little trip to Figueira da Foz, once consider the queen of our beach towns.
     
  24. Martin Rickards

    Martin Rickards Member

    Messages:
    163
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2016
    Location:
    Asturias, Spain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Remember that, despite its latitude, Madrid is about 1800 feet above sea level and it can be quite chilly in winter.
     
  25. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

    Messages:
    452
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Location:
    Portugal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    we are full, do not come!
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    10,131
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you're in Madrid on Monday, so long as the weather isn't atrocious, go take a walk through Retiro park, or go down by the river and visit the Temple of Debod (an actual Egyptian temple transported to Madrid in the 18th or 19th Century). Retiro Park has some nice spaces, including the big lake people go paddle-boating on, and there's usually street performers wandering around doing cool stuff like magic acts or playing musical instruments. And there's also the monument to Satan (technically the Fallen Angel statue). And of course don't forget about siesta - it's less of a thing in Barcelona, but Madrid definitely observes it. Get lunch as late as you can get away with because lots of restaurants don't open until 9pm. Oh, for a restaurant recommendation in Madrid, there's a place called Bazaar ( Calle Libertad, 21, 28004 Madrid, Spain ) in the Chueca neighborhood that was quite good. If it's not to your fancy, there's dozens of other places within a several block radius.

    Avila and Toledo are really overnight trips from Madrid - they're just far enough away by train that you'll be rushed if you go there and back in a day. Toledo is probably more worth it because the city is TINY, so you can see most of it in a day. The train station is gorgeous in itself - this 19th century Moorish Revival building. You can get a cab into the old town from the train station, but your cab will still drop you at a somewhat peripheral point because at least half the streets in Toledo are too narrow for vehicles to pass (there's one street so narrow that you can reach out with both arms and touch the walls of the houses on either side without stretching). Not to be missed are the Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz (a 10th century mosque converted to a Christian church, with a lovely garden behind it), the El Greco museum, and the two historic synagogues (both within a few hundred yards of the El Greco museum). I forget the name of the church, but there's a church near the river that has its walls decorated on the outside with the chains allegedly used on Spanish prisoners of the Moors during the reconquest. It would be easy to spend a week walking around Toledo. If you go, don't forget to look for the Plaza de Toledo de Ohio (it's really a place!).
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies. If you have a Photrio account, please log in (and select 'stay logged in') to prevent recurrence of this notice.
,