Our flight to Barcelona was at 3 PM, so we still had some time left to enjoy London in the morning.
Maximizing our time here, I did some research the night before of Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden with 360 degrees enlarged glass dome. We planned to have breakfast at Sky Pod Bar which opens as early as 7:30 AM and accepts walk-in. It seems like the perfect thing to do, only to learn when we got there that it was opening late at 10 AM because of the bank holiday aka Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. So much for waking up early. Oh well, I’m bookmarking this place for next time.
Check out their website to learn more and plan your visit ahead of time.
Unfortunately, Uber, our preferred choice of transportation, is not available in Barcelona. Our friends who had a layover in London were on the same flight as us en route to Barcelona. Together we shared the taxi ride (30 euro) to La Rambla where our hotel is. La Rambla is a central street in Barcelona, stretching one mile.
Our whole day was pretty much gone; that’s always the case when transiting from one point to another.
We met up with the rest of the gang and enjoyed our first dinner tapas style devouring grilled calamari, Iberico ham, sardine, razor clam, manchego cheese, and drinking good but inexpensive wine at 9 euro a bottle. You can’t beat that anywhere in the USA at a restaurant.
Barcelona is all about the food scene and still go home with some cash left and your panties intact.
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria
A visit to the food market in Spain is a must. Almost every neighborhood has at least one. One of the best markets in the world you don’t want to miss is Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (simply referred as La Boqueria) and conveniently located right on La Rambla, just a few doors from our hotel. It has become a tourist attraction but not a tourist trap where the locals go themselves for breakfast, a quick bite, and pick up fresh produce and out-of-the-ocean seafood.
El Quim de la Boqueria
Our day started with a self-tour of the market, then sat down at El Quim tapas bar for lunch, an absolute must eat for us food lover before we explore the Gothic Quarter. Everything we ate was fantastic.
Although I didn’t try it, the chef’s most popular dish is baby squid with fried eggs.
Gothic Quarter is the center of old city Barcelona, with little streets and alley, and impressive architecture from the glorious day of the medieval time.
Churros with chocolate and whipped cream for an afternoon break snack before dinner.
Lasarte Restaurant was recently upgraded to 3 Michelin Stars from 2 Stars. It was my second time here, and the gastronomic experience deserves a separate review (coming soon).
I hope I live long enough to see the completion of this Catholic church, a true masterpiece by Gaudi that has been in construction since 1882. It is 70% completed and to finish by 2026.
I never managed to go inside because same-day tickets are always sold out at the front door. You can purchase the ticket online.
Despite it being ‘public,’ there are various monumental zones which you have to pay to get in and by a time entry slot. Buy the tickets in advance online and work your way up from the front entrance. More information how to get here.
In my opinion, it’s not worth to go inside. I was done in less than an hour. Their 360 degree online virtual tour is so much better to see in the comfort of my seat and I feel like I am there and get much more out of it.
Late lunch at Cerveceria Catalana and our usual order, and also tried fried artichoke for the first time; it was the bomb. Cerveceria Catalana is the same family as Ciudad Condal where we went the first night in Barcelona.
Our night slowly faded away as we prepared for our departure to Paris the next morning.
- Christmas and New Year in London, Barcelona, and Paris (Part 1)
- Christmas and New Year in London, Barcelona, and Paris (Part 2)
- Christmas and New Year in London, Barcelona, and Paris (Part 3) COMING SOON