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Madrid, Spain  City Info
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Country: The Kingdom of Spain

Capital: Madrid

Spain uses Central European Time (CET). Hence, clocks are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent.

Weather: Spain has a temperate climate. The interior has clear, hot summers, while the coast is more moderate and cloudy. The interior generally has cloudy, cold winters, versus partly cloudy and cool along the coast.

Spain uses 220 volts AC and the continental-style plug. If your appliance has a 110/220-volt switch, all you will need is a plug adapter. Otherwise a current converter is required. Pay attention to sockets in bathrooms and on trains marked "Shavers Only!" While these put out 110 volts, they will burn out with a more powerful appliance.

Europe doesn't have the same tipping customs as in the United States. Pay attention to menus and bills in restaurants; gratuity may already be included. If not, then a safe bet in Spain is 10% in restaurants. Porters should be tipped in smarter hotels.

Getting Around:
The Spanish rail company, RENFE, has a complicated listing of its three color-coded varieties of train services. On top of that, there are a growing number of private super high-speed lines. A good way to avoid lines and figure out the schedules is to buy tickets at travel offices. Spain accepts both InterRail and Eurail passes, but supplements are required for reserved seating and on the fastest trains.

Buses are reliable and comfortable; often they are the only way to reach small villages. Prices are steady at 1000 ptas per 100k (60 mi.). Bus service is drastically cut on Sundays and holidays.

Spaniards drive on the right. Major roads are good and traffic is calm (except for cities) overall. Speed limits are 60k/h (36mph) in built-up areas, 90-100 (54-60 mph) on other roads, and 120k/h (72mph) on highways.

Public transportation in cities is cheap and efficient. Routes change periodically, so get a free map at any station, as well as tickets. Help desks are open in some places; trust these before any handout. The buses and metros generally run from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Night buses are available, but taxis are faster and safer, as well as surprisingly cheap.


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