Christmas and New Year in London, Barcelona, and Paris – Part 1
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10 Days in London, Barcelona, and Paris – Part 1
Happy New Year to all of you! I spent a memorable holiday in Europe with my love. It wasn’t our first time in Europe, but this trip had many firsts. First Christmas and New Year in Europe, first traveling with friends to ring in 2017, and first celebrating a special occasion to remember in Paris.
London was the first stop by convenience since I am traveling from the West Coast. I flew a direct flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) and arrived on Christmas morning.
In hindsight, a later departure time than 5 PM PST would have been wiser to squeeze sleep in as much as possible on the red-eye flight. It was still technically 3 AM PST (11 AM GMT) when we landed. An equivalent arrival to what our biological clock is used to would have put us in a better shape. I wish I slept all the way through and didn’t wake up for breakfast. All public transportations stop service on Christmas, so we took Uber (Referral) to our hotel Le Meridien Picadilly; the ride costs around 33.59 ($40 USD). We settled in by 2 pm and took an unexpectedly long nap as you know why.
People already snatched up all the dinner reservations; and not helping much when Christmas falls on a Sunday when some businesses don’t open, period. If you are going during the holiday, make sure you plan ahead. I never cared to check out Chinatown or scoured for Asian food in Europe or anywhere I travel except Asia. Because I have a myriad of options, delicious and as close to authentic Asian cuisines could get in Los Angeles – Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, you name it. However, Chinatown is virtually the only place that opens late, welcomes us, and happily, charges our meal 50% more, cash only.
But blame on us for pressing the snooze too many time and the comfort of a hotel bed.
Not our usual meal, but I haven’t eaten for 12 hours. I was happy to warm up my belly with familiar, comfort food. I like the chicken with corn soup, and we both like the pan-fried noodles with beef. If you are afraid of fat and cholesterol, you would probably enjoy the lean, and skinny Peking duck served here at Bao & Noodle – no fat, no juice but just dry out meat. Reminds me of my college roommate who uses napkins to blotch the grease off of the pizza. She wouldn’t have to pick out the fat here.
Despite my second time in London, I haven’t explored it in entirety. It has always been a pit stop, and I put in little effort to plan my day-to-day itinerary in advance. Shame on me, but thanks to Casper preparation of the things-to-do list, we hit up a lot of spots in one day and two nights. Quite productive, I would say, and I used Google Maps to create a customized city tour based on my point of interests.
We were able to get a same-day reservation at San Carlo Cicchettie, a chic and modern restaurant that serves tapa style portion dish but Italian food.
It can be tight between tables to get in and out during the meal for any reason like a bathroom break. Only go if you must. If I am not careful enough, I know my trunk can break glasses as I drag it along with me. The tables were also small to have all the dishes come out at once, but that doesn’t really bother us because we like the food and ambiance. The vibe definitely reminds me of Fig + Olive in Newport Beach, California.
After dinner, we completed our last night in London with wine and cocktail at Sketch. It was lovely. I basically toured the whole place (except the Lecture room), and took photos like there is no tomorrow.