OK, I just got here this morning from Bloomington and then Atlanta, and I may be a little bit swayed by the fact that I am no longer sitting on an airplane, but I have to say it: I am in love - with Madrid! I spent the day walking around, picking up a SIM for my phone (Orange - 9 euro, with 9 euro credit on it), and taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. There are so many unexpected green places everywhere, and the mix of historic and modern is enchanting. I'm anxious to head out again in the morning to see what else I can find. Oh, one other little note. I did not have a smartphone the last time I traveled. My carrier is Verizon and my phone is not GSM, so I don't have to worry about accidental data usage. I have my regular phone set on wifi enabled, and it has worked like a champ for email, internet access and my apps where I have wifi. One app that I wanted to mention is HeyWire, a free texting program. The description said that it works in the Americas and "maybe" other places. Since it was free I thought I would try it just to see if it would work here - and it does. Messages are sent and received just as quickly as regular text at home. My other phone is an unlocked quad-band that holds two SIMs - Eurobuzz and Orange. Orange prepaid cards are good for 10 months after purchse, and can be topped up all over the place, if need be.
TKS for the info on the SIM card. My US carrier is Sprint so my best friend gave me an ATT phone that takes a card. Glad to hear it so cheap. I only plan to use it for emergencies and some hotel bookings/changes.
The AT&T phone will need to be unlocked in order for another company's SIM to work in it.