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Mediterranean/Provence, February - March 2016

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My friend and I (two women) are trying to figure out how to plan our free time during our cruise of the Mediterranean. This is the initial plan: Arrive in Barcelona two days before embarkation (flying SFO > LHR>BCN). This gives us a little time to acclimate and see some sights (Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera/Casa Milla and Casa Battló). We will need to find a hotel for two nights before the cruise and are looking in the area near Casa Mila.

Then we join our Viking cruise:
Day 1 Barcelona
Board ship and have some time in the city (there's a Flamenco outing in the evening, but we will figure out something else to do). We spend the night in Barcelona on the ship.
Day 2 Barcelona
We will take a Viking sponsored walking tour to see Palau de la Musica Catalana, Bari Gotic and Les Rambles. We begin cruising that afternoon/evening.
Day 3 Toulon, France
Day 4 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Day 5 Corsica (Ajaccio), France
Day 6 Tuscany (Livorno), Italy
Day 7 Rome
Day 8 Rome
Day 9 Cruise day
Day 10 Valletta, Malta
Day 11 Tunis (La Goulette)
Day 12 Sardinia (Cagliari), Italy
Day 13 Algiers, Algeria
Day 14 Valencia, Spain
Day 15 Barcelona, disembark

There are excursions we can buy from Viking for each of these locations, but HERE SOME SUGGESTIONS FROM YOU ALL WOULD BE HELPFUL.

Then…
Once the cruise is over we think we will have an additional 10-12 days on our own (just a shot in the dark at this point) before flying back. We would like to spend that time exploring the French Riviera/Provence. First time for both of us in Provence. Would like to find a base or two and take day trips. We plan on flying home out of Nice, France and will stay there for two days before our flight.

THIS IS THE OTHER PORTION WHERE WE NEED ADVICE ON WHAT TO SEE, WHERE TO STAY, HOW TO GET THERE.

Also…
I would say that we most enjoy seeing the local side of life — the people and places. Not interested in wine, but food yes. Not big shoppers but like to browse. Big fans of impressionism, less enamored of seeing church after church. Like walking and taking public transit but wonder if a car would be a better option here.

Looking forward to your thoughts!

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