Our agent was great to work with. It was lovely for him to meet with us at the end of the week as well. A nice personal touch. I was planning a last minute trip within the month and he was on it. Even with the time change from the US to Madrid, we were able to get the details ironed out very quickly. As the person who usually runs our vacations, I was so relieved to have all the transportation and logistics arranged on our private family trip - everyone was on time and very professional. Our guides were great - loved the tour guides, our drivers, our bike rides in the city and country, cooking class, being able to see 5 beautiful cities in a week, and just adjusting to taking in Spain with dinner and the busy night life still going long after 10pm.
I think the day on bikes in Barcelona - hearing about how people live and seeing the markets and courtyards and parks and the cooking class in the Gothic district - making and talking about traditional food - was a highlight day. We enjoyed the day trip to Girona and Besalu - such picturesque and historical towns, with our favorite tour guide, and a great afternoon break with lunch and later ice cream. We liked the time at meals and relaxing and talking with our guides, or our agent and taking in the now of Spain as much as some of the history tours, but the history was fascinating and the architecture and mix of cultures was wonderful. Our breakfasts included in the hotels which were very centrally located were great. We had rooms side by side with our children in both locations which matters to me as well. The hotels we had were not the super big Westin or W but they had more local historical charm with modern interiors. The little things like the guide in Besalu - walking in a meat shop and getting us a traditional meat stick to try, or the guide in Toledo - getting us a taste of the marzipan cookies as we walked, were especially appreciated by my bunch.
With three teens, by the end of the week we were ready for something a little different than walking around cities and getting a history lesson while looking at buildings, so I would change that around for next time. I asked our guide about changing it up - maybe going into a castle or a bull ring instead of another Cathedral, but I probably should have gone through our agent. We added a tour to the Real Madrid stadium on our own. The first half of the week we had a couple bike rides and the beach to mix in with the city tours which was better. Our three younger guides out of Barcelona were much better relating to our teens and keeping them engaged, maybe timing of the week, but would consider that and maybe switch the order of the cities and do Madrid first.
The 55km bike ride in the country near Barcelona was great for my husband and boys, but too much for my daughter and me. We probably should have screened the difficulty with our abilities and chosen something different since neither of us made it even a couple miles of the thirty some up the mountain. We still had a great day - beautiful scenery riding with a following van to take us to good conversations, good breaks, and great lunch all together with our two guides.
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