For our honeymoon in November, we spent the first half of our time (Nov 4 – 11) in Paris, France with a full day in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the second half (Nov 11-17) in Barcelona, Spain.
Since we started our trip with a city we were familiar with (we went to Paris last year), we were really excited to explore a new city & country. Luckily we chose our 2nd destination well because we had a wonderful time in Barcelona. With a full week we were able to do everything on our must see/do list without rushing. We had times where we were on the go and many times where we relaxed and took our time.
We split our time between the Mediterranean Sea and city adventures. Barcelona had a vast array of activities suitable for many tastes and interests. It was the absolute perfect way to end our European honeymoon.
We took an early am flight at the crack of dawn from Charles de Gaulle to Barcelona-El Prat airport on the 11th. Before boarding the plane, we picked up some macarons from Laduree since we decided not to stop by any of their patisseries during our time in Paris. We were hoping they would taste better the 2nd time around but we came to the conclusion that we are both not fans of Laduree. It is too sweet and crumbly for my taste and most definitely overhyped. Of course it’s a must try when in Paris for the 1st time. In this case we were hoping when we tried it last year, it was just an off day. We had a quick breakfast of coffee and a pastry on our Air France flight and arrived in Barcelona in less than 2 hours.
After picking up our luggage (free checked baggage via Air France- Holla!) at the baggage terminal, we headed straight for the taxi stand. Our trip from the airport to our hotel located along the Ramblas took around 20 minutes and cost us around 30euros which fyi isn’t bad taxi fare compared to the rest of Europe. Score!
We dropped off our luggage at the hotel since check-in wasn’t until 3pm and we had arrived at 10am. Our first stop was La Boqueria Market and to our surprise, it was literally around the corner from the hotel. We walked 30 seconds down the street and found ourselves at one of the many entrances to the market! Talk about the perfect location….
We walked around drooling over all the colorful local & imported fruits, seafood, fresh fruit juices & smoothies (for only 1-1.5 euros each!) different cuts of charcuterie, fresh baked breads, cheeses, olives, fried foods and dried goods. Since we were up around 5am and had only eaten a macaron & small croissant on the plane, we were ready for some real grub. After walking by at least 4 or 5 food vendors, we decided to try El Quim de la Boqueria. Their menu offered fresh seafood, meats, potatoes all things of which we both enjoy.
We took a seat at the bar and were quickly given an english menu and pencil to fill in the items we wanted. Next up came a basket of bread and 2 bottles of water to enjoy with our meal. We ended up ordering a round of mussels, patatas bravas (potatoes in spicy sauce) and ham & cheese croquettes all items which are apparently very popular in Catalan cuisine. Everything was delicious and we were ready to start the day!
Prior to our am flight, I took a motion sickness pill and that was most certainly the absolute worst idea ever. Feeling like I was drunk and extremely drowsy I was so tired that I didn’t enjoy the rest of our walk inside the market. After walking along La Ramblas, we ended up getting a cappuccino and an order of churros con chocolat (I’m never too tired for dessert….) at a nearby cafe so I could wake up from my terrible trance but I ended up falling asleep for a bit (oops hehe) while Anthony used the wifi. We headed back to the hotel to check-in early. We freshened up a bit, took a shower and ended up taking a nap until around 6 or 7pm.
Feeling hungry again we set out to find a place for dinner. We went on an evening stroll and got lost in the many alleys of the Barri Gotic for about 2 hours. We admired the architecture and old style buildings, stopping to go inside small boutiques and then finally turned to a side street where we spotted a restaurant called Sensi. By this time it was 9pm and way past our dinnertime so we were ready to chow down. The menu looked good, restaurant had nice ambiance and was packed so we gave it a go.
The tables were all filled up so we opted for the bar where we were able to snag the last 2 seats. We were greeted by our bartender who spoke perfect English with only a slight accent. We later learned he was from Mexico but liked to travel around and even had a best friend living in Seattle! What a small world. Prior to Barcelona, all I wanted to eat was paella for dayz because you can’t really get it in Seattle. I have yet to find good paella here…. We tried paella for the 1st time here and it was delicious and presented beautifully. The rice was chewy with just the right amount of spice and a generous portion of seafood. For dessert our bartender recommended the caramel cheesecake which was the perfect blend of sweet & creamy. Before bringing our check, he gave us 2 shots to end our meal and to “clear our palates.” I already had a glass of sangria with our meal so I only took a sip of the liquor. 🙂
After dinner we wandered along to the waterfront pier to take pictures and admire all of the beautiful lights reflecting off of the water. Finally ready to head back to our hotel we got lost on our way back. We stumbled upon the Church of Barcelona which was quite a sight until we kept running into it 3 or 4 more times within 10-15 min….We then tossed the same bridge a couple of times, walking through alleys some open and some dead end roads until FINALLY we made the right turn along the Ramblas toward the hotel. By this time we realized the best way to find our way back was to use the huge apple billboard as our reference which indicated that we would turn on that road. Easy peasy — live & learn! We made it to bed a little past midnight.