London or Madrid?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by ray ., Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Hey all,

    Last few days I've started getting a little lonesome for Europe... last trip was
    14 years ago. I've been to both London and Madrid among many other places, and those are a couple of the
    cities that I loved and figure either destination once again would be a winner.
    I'd spend about 2 weeks and stay in the city of choice except for a few day trips.

    Of course one of the biggest reasons for me to go is to do some street shooting. I might
    be doing some people shots but for the most part city scapes (some with people at
    a distance), architectural details, and shop windows and the like have been my mainstay for awhile now.

    I know both cities have great museums; the Prado might be my favorite in the world.

    London has the advantage for me as far as being language friendly, so that's an extra incentive

    What should I be aware of and what's of note in these cities at this particular time?
    I'm thinking possibly mid-September if I go...
  2. Photography is not allowed in most of the museums for London and Madrid. The London museums are free. Madrid museums are not free.
  3. As far as I am aware photography for personal use is allowed in many London museums . Normally no tripods and sometimes no flash are allowed but you can check on the individual websites. The only London museum I can think of which bans all photography is the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. And, annoyingly, St Paul's Cathedral as well. There may be others. London Art Galleries usually prohibit photography.
    Here is a 2011 discussion about this subject on the TripAdvisor website :
  4. Better weather, warmer people, cuter chicks, sexier language, tastier meals, guess which one I'm thinking;)
  5. On the other hand...I love diversity, communication is more than helpful, and subdued lighting is a plus for street photography.
  6. Good comments Leslie, good food for thought. :)

    Thanks Peter, Colin; though I'm not really planning on photographing in museums.
  7. It's not really a vacation if they speak English. IMHO
  8. "sexier language,...."?
    Leslie, I would'nt certainly want to even start questioning your perception of "sexy language" (or of sex as such for that matters), but: Castellano (they don't speak Spanish in Spain; that's only for the colonies) is an exceptionally rich, but also very dry and sober, not to say somber, language - fully reflecting the true nature of the Spaniards, beyond the apparent superficial merriness. This language is perfect to say things such as the motto on blades of the swords of Spanisih knights, "No me saques sin razón, no me envaines sin honor - Don't unsheat me without reason, don't put me down without honour". But, sexy? Certainly not in my own view of sexuality.
  9. I'm not a Spanish speaker, therefore all Spanish types sound similar to me. If I try really hard, I could probably distinguish Cuban, Argentine and Mexican accents...but I'd not bet on it. To average Americans, Mexican Spanish is probably defacto Spanish. But, yes, you are correct, Spain Spanish is more dry and sober relatively.
    Now, Bonsignore, all mandarin sound similar to you, I would guess, no? You wouldn't want to discuss the minute differences between Sichuan Mandarin, Shanghai Mandarin, and Beijing Mandarin, or say, Cantonese, would you?
  10. FWIW and IMHO...
    Sexy languages: French, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean
    Neutral: English, Cantonese, Thai, Malay
    Non sexy: Swedish, Vietnamese, Khmer, German
  11. Nice chat but it seems the OP doesn't seem to be what we can call a linguistic sexual tourist... lol
    Back to serious stuff, I don't know about present situation but some time ago there were reported problems for street and building photographers in London and in the UK, with the police and private security rising problems.
    It doesn't mean it can prevent you from going there but maybe it should be of interest to investigate how things are now and the precautions to take to avoid arguments that can spoil your vacation.
  12. I was at the national gallery in May, they ban all photograpghy throughout the museum.

    Westminster abbey doesn't allow photography, in the main church, but the nave area was ok.

    Last time I was at Canterburt (short train ride out of London) they allowed photography.

    Speakers corner on Sundays are always great

    The tube is great for architecture.
  13. They are completely different cities: it is bad to have to choose. Do you want heat and bright sun, or more temperate, highly changeable weather (softer and/or overcast)? The food must come into it too. London is more cosmopolitan (a world city) and bigger, but there is perhaps less spectacle on the street than Madrid.
  14. Ray,
    If I may suggest, since you already been in London & Madrid, have you given any thought of visiting some other European cities? Or it's the feeling "I want to go back again..."
    Street photography that seems to be of importance to you is becoming very multinational and colorful on September in Europe, especially in known touristic destinations.
    Well, whatever your decide I wish you the best of times there. Cheers!
  15. Two weeks in Paris, renting a small apartment in Montmartre, croissants for breakfast, all the sights, Versailles, Loire Valley. Madrid doesn't come close.
    London is great too, but the "city of light" beats them all for a photographer.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If I may suggest, since you already been in London & Madrid, have you given any thought of visiting some other European cities?​

    Madrid and London will take months to thoroughly explore. It's not about seeing the most places, it's about seeing. Why be a tourist when you can be a visitor?

    I have loved every visit to Spain and find it easier to shoot there than London. People are relaxed on the street in a way they aren't in London. I love the people...

    Sausage Lady
  17. In either case, plan to do a lot of trips outside of the city - day trips and overnight excursions - in order to multiply your
    photo and tourism opportunities.
  18. If you've already been to Madrid, why not go for a different destination instead, one which is not too far from the Spanish capital? Come to Portugal and visit Lisbon and Oporto. Both cities have great museums and phantastic photo oportunities. By the way, the language will be no problem; English is understood and spoken everywhere.
  19. Might consider Paris.
  20. From Madrid, one could branch out to Toledo and Barcelona and many other points of interest. The country is full of UNESCO World Heritage sites. From London, there are many possibilities: Oxford, Cambridge and Ely, Windsor Castle, Canterbury, Salisbury, Bath, Stonehenge, Cornwall, Stratford-upon-Avon, York, the Lake District, and further north into Scotland.
    France and Italy have endless photo opportunities. Switzerland, Austria, Scotland, Norway, and southern Germany are known for their natural beauty. Stockholm, Copenhagen, Prague, Amsterdam, and Vienna are amazing cities. Greece, Turkey, and Croatia are beautiful and full of history. I agree that Portugal is an excellent destination. There's a lot to see and the distances from point to point are very manageable. Belgium and Slovenia are other examples of small but scenic country.
    Just about any country in Europe will offer amazing photo potential. Wherever you go, you'll have lots to see.
  21. As some other responses said, both cities are brilliant and wonderful for a photographer and you could enjoy strong
    sides of each. Let me give you some ideas. I have been in London (both working in the city and visiting it as a tourist)
    around 20 times and more than double in Madrid (obviously I am closest to Madrid, I live in Bilbao, north of Spain,
    Basque Country).
    Madrid is, of course, more "latin", warmest city, friendly people, better weather than London (but be careful in some
    months like June-July-August when could be extremely hot and discomfortable in the street at noon), Museums are
    very big and well known (not only Prado, but Thyssen-Bornemisza is fantastic too and other smaller museums); in
    these very big cities I would recommend trying to find the "small" individual places, not only the 30 or 40 places
    underlined in all tourist guides but those 200 or 300 places that you find simply walking around the city, both in the
    down town and also in other interesting areas. If you spend more than 3-4 days in the city, I would recommend to
    stay one or two days in some small villages around Madrid, but going up to the "Sierras " around the city (that means
    some mountain chains mostly oriented North of Madrid, but also to other directions). Please, do not discuss that
    gastronomy quality in Madrid is much better than in London, except if you are asking for a nice beer.
    London is another of my very favourite cities: when I think about "british style" surely I am mostly thinking about some
    images of London: the river and Administration (City Hall, Parliament Houses, Military buildings,...) give a nice
    "formal" atmosphere to the city, but, on the other side, going walking from very different areas like Portobello or
    Candem Town (full of pretty pubs and indian/asian restaurants), Hyde Park, Oxford/Regent streets, Thames bit
    bridges area. For other europeans, like us from Bilbao, to visit London is an opportunity to enjoy an english Football
    stadium, that is an incredible experience for a photographer if you like sports and you "live" them intensively.
    I love London and Me encanta Madrid so you decide on yourself. Take your camera, walk, shoot and enjoy. Good
    Luck. Ikusi arte (see you in basque language). Josemi Gondra
  22. I guess the great thing to do is visit somewhere outside of your own experience. Come from a rich country?...visit a poor country. Used to snow in the winter?...visit North Africa. Used to conservative, western politics?... visit Brazil or Russia. Use your hard earned money to give yourself a broader view of life.
  23. Not to be crass, but $$$wise ...
    London is one of the most expensive cities on the planet and their currency has held up relatively well. Spain is suffering through some harsh austerity and I would imagine that has made aspects of the visitor's life - like hotels, restaurants etc. much more affordable than ever.
    You would certainly be helping out their economy while stretching out your funds.
  24. On the side topics...
    Food: I prefer the UK (albeit for foreign food such as Italian, Indian, Chinese). But I might be biased given that I got food poising from mayonaise in Spain.
    People: The British are generally quite polite. I didn't get a warm feeling from the citizens of Madrid. They came across like Parisians. Probably, the people of the Spanish countryside and beaches are more relaxed.
    Romantic Language: It's not the language, it's who's speaking it that makes it sexy.
  25. My sister lives in London and that is always a fun city to photograph. Spain is also very beautiful, But I know 2 people in the last year who have been robbed in Spain, one was quite violent and required a hospital stay. My favorite place for photos is Italy. The language is not a problem as most people speak enough english, and my Italian is not bad. The country itself is quite beautiful and is very friendly to photographers. Paris is also a great city for photographers. Have a great trip with good light.
  26. Just curious - if you have already seen London and Madrid (which I too enjoyed), why wouldn't you choose to go elsewhere for your return Europe visit? I can second the thinking on Barcelona (one of my favorite cities on the planet and the pick pocket capital of the world, by the way), but how about other obvious choices like Paris, Rome, Prague, Vienna and on and on.
    If you are interested in a big city experience with spectacular scenery, lower prices, great street photography (great people period), the best beer in the world and close proximity to 2 other spectacularly photogenic medieval towns, then definitely give Prague a look. If you go there, Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice are must see towns a short drive or train ride from downtown Prague. Google them.
    And if you happen to be single - the women of Prague are even more beautiful than the lovely inhabitans of Madrid (my second favorite) and the rest of the continent.
  27. Just a few added thoughts. I noticed you said you were interested in architectural details. That would raise Barca on your list - the Gaudi architecture is something to see as are the other buildings in town. It is an architectural wonderland.
    And as far as London being "language friendly", have no fear. In my substantial travels, I have found that almost everyone in the main cities of Europe are fluent in English. I have almost never had a language problem other than in St. Petersburg. Oh - and in Paris too of course, but that is not because the Parisians don't speak English; rather it is because they often get prickly toward Americans and choose not to.

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