Travel tips for visiting Granada, Spain and other European or North African destinations

Taking Care of the Planet
Our Esoteric Quests take us to many wonderful places around the world. We here at the Open Center are committed to caring for the planet. As always, our brochure is printed on recycled paper and this year we will be neutralizing the effect our staff air travel has on climate change. We invite you to join us in this commitment by visiting www.sustainabletravelinternational.org so you can find out how many greenhouse gases are generated by your journey and then purchase Green Tags which make your travel 100% climate neutral.

Travel Agents & Online Bookings
Iberia Airlines (800-772-4642 or www.iberia.com) is the national airline of Spain, and also flies one of the only direct flights we have found between Madrid and Marrakech.
Atlas Blue (www.atlas-blue.com) is a UK-based carrier with very affordable flights between London and Marrakech.

For assistance in booking flights from the US, we can recommend a number of professional travel agents:
EC Tours (Miriam Palacio) 818-997-1510 or 800-388-0877 or miriam@ectours.com
Isram Travel (David Avoth) 800-843-9728 or davoth@isram.com
Power Travel (Irene) 516-822-9222

For online bookings of discounted air tickets, useful websites include www.orbitz.com, www.expedia.com, and www.cheaptickets.com.

Mobile Phones
Most phones companies can accommodate international roaming, so that as soon as you arrive in Spain your phone will automatically configure itself to the network with the best signal. Be advised that this service can average a cost of $1.00 per minute.

If someone phones you, you will have to pay the cost of a call from your own country. Please note that international mobile calls are very expensive and if you are not careful, you can run up a massive bill. Please check in with your service provider for more information, since each provider has a different system.

If you are going to make or receive many calls to or from numbers in Spain, it may be a good idea to bring an extra phone and buy a "pay as you go" chip (tarjeta pre-pago), or Spanish SIM card, and put it in your phone. With a Spanish chip in your phone, you will be able to phone people in Spain at normal rates and it will be much easier for other people in Spain to phone you.

Calling Cards
Local and international calls can be made using a phone card, available at tobacco shops (estancos or tabacos) and most post offices. 

Additional Telephone Information
If you have high-speed internet access, you can use programs such as Skype to make international phone calls. It is possible to phone a fixed line in the US for only 1.7 cents per minute.

Please note that the number for emergency calls in Spain is 112. The country code for Spain is 34.

Identification & Visas
No visa is necessary for citizens of the US, the EU, Australia and Canada to travel within Spain for up to 90 days. All that is required is a passport that remains valid at least six months after your travel date. Please check with your nearest Spanish embassy and/or visit www.traveldocs.com for further information about travel from your home country.

Visitors are legally required to carry valid identification (passport) on them at all times.

Money
ATMs provide the easiest access to money, and tend to offer the best exchange rates.  You will need a bank card with a four-digit PIN number (check with your bank to confirm that your ATM card is equipped for international transactions). Please remember to advise your bank that you will be making purchases abroad, since many banks will err on the side of caution and assume your ATM card has been stolen and might suspend your card temporarily. It is also helpful to have a small amount of euros on hand upon arrival (and to use for personal expenses such as phone calls, any alcoholic beverages, taxis, etc.).

Travel Insurance
We recommend that participants purchase a standard travel insurance policy which covers unexpectedly having to cancel or change your travel plans, losing your luggage, needing medical assistance and much more. Insurance options are available at www.myinsurance.com or www.insuremytrip.com.

Electricity
Spain uses 240-volt electricity.  If you wish to use electric appliances purchased in the US, you will need a converter and an adapter. If bringing a laptop, check with your local retailer or electronics store to make sure you bring converters appropriate to your equipment.
 
Food and Drink
There is no problem with drinking the tap water in Granada, since it comes straight from the mountains from springs or from mountain reservoirs; however, whenever traveling in new environments, it is suggested that you let your body acclimate gradually. Items such as acidophilus capsules (readily available in health-food stores and some pharmacies) and bottled water can support this.

Climate
The summer/fall season in Spain is relatively dry and warm, with average temperatures around 68° F / 20° C.  High temperatures are around 82° F / 28° C, and lows at night are around 53° F / 11° C, so that a light jacket or sweater is recommended for night time.

Language
You likely will find English-speaking staff at many hotels and restaurants, although you will not want to take this for granted. Nonetheless, even the most humble attempts at using the Spanish language will be appreciated, and will also deepen your experience of the country and its people.

Useful Phrases

ENGLISH

SPANISH

PRONUNCIATION

 

 

 

Hello

Hola

Oh-LAH

Goodbye

Adios

Ah-THYOSS

Please

Por favor

Pohr fah-BOHR

Thank you

Gracias

GRAH-syahss

Yes / No

Sí / No

See / Noh

Sorry / Excuse me

Perdón

Pehr-DOHN

Do you speak English?

¿Habla ingles?

AH-blah een-GLEHSS

Help!

¡Secorro!

Soh-KOH-rroh!

Where is…?

¿Dónde está…?

DOHN-deh ehss-TAH

Left / Right / Straight ahead

Izquierda / derecha / recto

Eess-KYEHR-thah / deh-REH-chah / REK-toh

What time does the (train/bus) depart / arrive?

¿Cúando (llega / sale)
[el tren / el autobus]?

KWAHN-doh (YEH-gah/SAH-leh) [ehl TREHN/eh low-toh-BOOSS]?

Today / Tomorrow / Yesterday

Hoy / mañana / ayer

Oy / mah-NYAH-nah / ah-YEHR

I’d like a (one-way / return) ticket.

Quisiera un billete
(ida / de ida y vuelta).

Kee-SYEH-rah oon bee-YEH-teh (EE-thah/deh EE-thah ee BWEHL-tah)

How much is it?

¿Cuánto cuesta?

KWAHN-toh KWEHSS-tah

I’d like a single / double room.

Quisiera un cuarto simple / un doble.

Kee-SYEH-rah oon KWAHR-toh SEEM-pleh / oon DOH-bleh



Note: The letter “r” is rolled on the tongue.
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Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous region of Andalusia. It is situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
 
Andalusia is an autonomous community of Spain. Andalusia is the most populated and second largest of the seventeen autonomous communities that constitute Spain.
 
Marrakech, known as the "Red City or Al Hamra," is a city in southwestern Morocco in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
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