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Trip Report Reflections on our Trip to Barcelona, Languedoc, Dordogne and Paris

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Darling Husband, 18yo Darling Daughter recently visited Barcelona, Languedoc, the Dordogne and Paris. It was a repeat itinerary for DH and I; we had made a very similar trip with Darling Son (who stayed home this time, working and taking care of the pets). We must have described that earlier trip well, because when DD was given a high school graduation trip choice of destination (bounded by places that we parents wanted to visit), this is what we chose.

This won't really be a trip report. I want to use this space to yes, give some suggestions and share some of our better choices, but also to share those wonderful serendipitous moments that we all have on vacations.

One of my thoughts as I planned (I'm the planner) was to slow things down. So four nights in each location, except for our transition from Barcelona to France. That worked for us. Everyone has their own speed. We three have similar travel styles - lots of history and art and cafe-sitting. Not so much shopping, though we did some of that.

We also don't like to have to book things in advance, because that reduces our flexibility. But some places, you have to. For example, Sagrada Familia. We also (contrary to our usual style) pre-bought tickets for Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, La Pedrera and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. When we arrived at Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, before 10-ish on different morning, there really wasn't much of a line, so maybe that wasn't needed.

On the cafe-sitting front, in Barcelona we liked Plaza del Pi and Plaza Reial. We like a plaza that's big enough for good people-watching, but not too big (Plaza de Catalunya was too big for us).

Re Catalan vs. Castilian Spanish. There was a lot more Catalan on signs and restaurant menus than our trip 9 years ago. From what I could tell, though, in Barcelona, most people were speaking Spanish (at least to us) - we got "hola" exclusively while in the city. Once we moved on to Girona and Figueres, there was a lot more Catalan and even menus exclusively in Catalan. I'm pretty good at food Spanish, not so much at food Catalan! Many, many Catalan flags everywhere.

Sagrada Familia. When we visited here 9 years ago, it was still a construction site, with pillars and beams on the floors, and no windows. And I loved it then, rated it one of the top-ten man-made things I've seen in my life. And now, it's even more wonderful. The way the afternoon sun streamed through the windows, in blocks of color, was miraculous. We did not go up the towers - SOMEONE (me) is afraid of heights. Anyone who's visited Sagrada Familia, did you see a resemblance to Darth Vadar in the statue at one end of the nave? We spend lots of time here. The audio guide is very helpful. We arrived well in advance of our ticketed time and walked around the outside of the basilica.

More to come...

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