Our Summer Vacation in London and Barcelona

July 27, 2015

For the first time, my husband and I were able to take a 2 week vacation during the summer!  We always took our vacations during the holidays and always ended up needing a vacation from our vacation.  This time, we were able to fully enjoy and experience the places we visited to their fullest while it was warm in Europe ;)

Our fist stop was London.  We left on May 31st on our one year anniversary and had the best time ever! I fell in love with the British architecture and the posh life of course.  We were lucky enough to have friends in London so we got to visit the touristy spots as well as the hip local spots.  The night life was fun and similar to NYC and so we partied as well.  We were in London for 4 days and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park.  Thanks to a wedding gift, our stay was fully covered! I had seen a lot of pictures in magazines and editorials of the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, and the red telephone booths and always dreamed of being there in person.  This year that dream came true! It was just marvelous! The parks, the streets, the shops, and the buildings are just so beautiful.  While Luis and I walked the streets of London I kept thinking about the Parent Trap movie when "Hallie" visits her mom.  Get a sneak peek of this scene here and that is exactly how I was in the taxi on our way to our hotel, except I had my iPhone out the whole time snapping pictures!

Here are my iPhone 6 snaps of what we did and where we went!

Our Uber ride to our hotel cost around 41 pounds and it took us about 40 minutes to get to Hyde Park from Heathrow.


Mandarin Oriental lobby

Mandarin Oriental



Tea time at the Mandarin

Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park


We went to Aqua nueva for drinks, Chotto Matte for dinner, and then to Tonteria for some dancing on our first night!

Aqua Nueva

Aqua Nueva
Chotto Matte

Tonteria
Us at Tonteria
We explored the touristy places on our second day and walked from our hotel to Buckingham Palace, Parliament Square (Big Ben), London Eye, Oxford street (shopping street), and the beautiful Hyde Park & Green Park.

Buckingham Palace

Parliament Square

Big Ben

Household Cavalry Museum


Red telephone booth!

<3



Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

London Eye

Green Park

Hyde Park
We met up with our friends at Sushi Samba for dinner.  We then went upstairs for a few drinks at Duck & Waffle.  I had read that Sushi Samba was rated one of the best rooftop restaurants in the world by Harper's Bazaar and when our friends took us there, I was super excited!

Sushi Samba

Sushi Samba patio

Sushi Samba

Cheers!

Duck & Waffle


Our view from Sushi Samba
Our last full day in London, we visited the Notting Hill neighborhood and brunched at Beach Blanket Babylon.  We then took a stroll through the beautiful neighborhood.  For dinner, we went to the best Indian restaurant that we have ever been to! Gymkhana.  We then went to Cirque le Soir for some more dancing.  I fell in love with how sophisticated and clean London was.  London is a beautiful city with lots of history and beautiful things everywhere!

Beach Blanket Babylon

Beach Blanket Babylon

Beach Blanket Babylon

Notting Hill

Cirque
The next day we woke up, had brunch around the hotel and were on our way to Barcelona, Spain! We stayed in Barcelona for 8 nights and definitely enjoyed the city to its fullest! By the 3rd day we didn't even need a map.  We stayed at the hip and modern H10 Urquinaona Plaza Hotel right by where everything was.  The only time we took taxis were to and from the airport, and to visit Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia.  We walked everywhere and loved every bit of it! By the 3rd day we agreed that the best neighborhoods were El Gotico and El Born which were right next to each other and right by our hotel.  One of the days we walked from our hotel to Barceloneta beach.  It was a great walk but the beach was definitely a tourist trap, so we were very glad that we didn't stay near there.  We only went to Las Ramblas once, this too was a tourist trap.  We loved the hidden tapas places in El Gotico and El Born and loved the ease and convenience of getting around.  There was always something to do and see and when we got tired, we would just lounge by the hotel pool.  The people in Barcelona were one of the nicest people we have met during our travels.  I was just fascinated by how modern everything was and by Gaudi's legacy.  Our favorite brunch spot was Al Sur Cafe (Lluria)! Our favorite tapas restaurants were Tapeo and Casa Alfonso.  Our favorite roof top bar was at the Ohla Hotel.  I was so surprised by the fact that the native language was Catalan, the drink of the city was a gin and tonic, and the architecture wasn't colonial at all.  Food in Barcelona was super cheap compared to London.

Below are my snaps from Barcelona!

H10 Urquinaona Plaza Hotel

Plaza Urquinaona

El Gotico!


Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Las Ramblas

El Gotico


Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Barcelona Cathedral

H10 Urquinaona Plaza Hotel

Us at Arco de Triunfo

Al Sur Cafe

Casa Batllo

H10 Urquinaona Plaza Hotel


Go Barca!

Petit Pot Cafe (right next to our hotel)

Gaudi's House at Park Guell

Park Guell

Park Guell

Park Guell

Park Guell

Park Guell

Park Guell

Ohla Hotel rooftop bar

Mercat de Boqueria

Park Guell

Park Guell

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Inside La Sagrada Familia

Picasso Museum

La Taguara Areperia (Venezuelan food)

Ciudad Condal Rest.

XOXO

Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta Beach

Ohla Hotel rooftop bar

Streets of Barcelona

El Born

Xampanyet Restaurant (most popular tapas place)
We had a blast exploring London and Barcelona! Can't wait for more adventures! YOLO is my motto ;) Go and explore the world, there is so much to see and learn!

XoXo,
Keily

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