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Barcelona / Madrid Plans

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Hello - Hubby and I are spending 5 full days (arriving on Tuesday, Oct 8th, and flying out on Monday, Oct 14th) in Madrid and are trying to plan our time. I just added this note to the bottom of a separate topic on El Escorial and Segovia, but I realize that my itinerary question is so broad that it is really a new topic! (so I have written the below)

I am struggling with how to plan our time to maximize what we see while still enjoying the two cities. I have outlined our 10-day itinerary below. Any comments or suggestions or answers to my questions below would be very much appreciated!

Friday (Oct 4th) - landing in Barcelona at 9:40 a.m. - Plan to spend the afternoon in the Ramblas, Bari, Gotic/ cathedral area (maybe at stop at Hofman Bakery and we could check out the markets -

Saturday - Picasso Museum El Born + Sardana Dance + Magic Fountains (or do this on Friday night?)

Sunday - Visit Mont Serrat? or Montjuic, Barceloneta and more walking (eating!) in Barcelona?

Monday - Gaudi sights ... have 10-11a.m. slot for Sagrada Familia

Tuesday - Take a.m. train to Madrid? And visit he Thyssen ? Or, did I miss something in Barcelona? Should we take the p.m. train to Madrid?

Wednesday - 17th Century Hapsburg Madrid - including the Palacio Real

Thursday - day trip to Toledo

Friday - Morning at the Prado and Retiro Park and Reina Sofia Museum

Saturday (October 12th) - Visit El Escorial (Today is Fiesta Nacional ... should we stay in Madrid?? Will there be lots of traffic?) If we stay in Madrid, should we visit Caixa Forum and perhaps the Botanical Gardens?

Sunday (last day in Madrid!) What shall we do with our day? Is this a better day for El Escorial?

Thank You so much for any thoughts!!

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