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Barcelona and Environs for about a week

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I've just started long-term planning. We're taking a cruise out of Barcelona next fall. I've been there, but not for years, and my husband never has. We like to soak up the local ambience of a place, find locals cafes and bars, plus we like history, art, music, of which there is plenty there I'm sure.

So I'm thinking that the thing to do is to spend about a week in and around Barcelona. I'd like to do a day trip, or perhaps overnight, up to Girona and the Dali Museum in Figueras and his home. Montserrat is mentioned frequently as well.

Anybody have any ideas about this? If we did a VRBO or something similar for a week, what would be a good neighbourhood. Not too touristy, vibrant and real, rather. I read about Eixample, for instance--it sounds nice.

Then for day trips, just take a train to Figueras, for instance, either for the day, or overnight. And the same for Montserrat. Or would we be better off spending a few days in a hotel in Barcelona, then heading out with a rental car for a few days. We're going to be burdened with "cruise duds" for two weeks, so won't be travelling terribly light. With an apartment, at least we could leave most behind there, and travel light when going out of town.

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