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Barcelona to Valencia - train vs car? Advice appreciated!

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My adult children and I have plans to visit my daughter, who is living in Madrid for the year, in April 2014. We will fly to Barcelona, meet up with her there, and spend several days in Barcelona. We will then travel to Madrid where we will stay in an apartment for a week. Rather than taking the train directly from Barcelona to Madrid, we are considering renting a car as we leave Barcelona, driving through the Catalonia area, perhaps making reservations at a vineyard, then driving to Valencia where we would spend a night or two before taking the train to Madrid. I realize that traveling by train in Spain is the most efficient way to travel, but having done extensive car travel in Italy and France, we have really enjoyed it. The actual car travel time from Barcelona to Valencia is 31/2 hours, so it would allow us a leisurely pace to drive through a little of the wine country on our way to Valencia. Plus, it would be fun to have a nice meal at the birthplace of Paella. Has anyone done a similar itinerary? Any suggestions? Any recommendations on a good restaurant in Valencia, or a vineyard to sample cava or red wine?

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