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Lots of Alicante & Barcelona Questions

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I don't know much about Spain. Friends have offered to let my partner and me stay in their vacation apartment in Alicante. I was thinking of combining it with a visit to Barcelona. The trip would be early March.

Any suggestions re: how long to stay in each place--and a good area to stay in Barcelona?

We're 57 & 61; enjoy walking, natural beauty and scenery, and museums (but not too many). We don't drink wine or alcohol, and don't go for expensive, gourmet meals or nightlife.

Also ... we don't speak Spanish. Will we need some? I had high school Spanish, but when I was in Mexico, I was hopeless. For a recent trip to Paris (which we LOVED) we studied some basic French--but found we didn't need it at all. Will it be similar in Alicante and Barcelona?

Don't know how the U.S. dollar will stack up against the Euro at that point, but are these expensive locations to visit (like Scandinavia)?

Thanks for your help!

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