Our 5th day in Barcelona was Christmas day, and since not a lot was going to be open, we decided to sleep in a bit. After a bit of breakfast at the hotel, we wandered out in to the ... sunshine! Yup, the clouds finally broke for us and we had a chance to wander around in the sunshine for once. Our plan for the day was to head over to Montjüic, which is a large hill overlooking the city and is the site of several of the venues from the 1992 summer olympics.
The first part of that plan was trying to find the funicular station to take us up, but we missed that which ended up being a good thing since the walk up wasn't really that taxing, and if we had taken the funicular up we probably would've missed some of the views we did get. So as we climbed up, the city fell below us and we got a pretty good look at the city itself -- primarily white and beige coloured buildings stretching out before us. Our wandering took us to one end of the closed-for-the-holidays cable car that takes people across the harbour for what I'm sure would be very nice views.
After wandering around a bit more, we took a gondola up to the very top of the mountain where there is a fortress called "Castell de Montjuïc". This fortress offered some great views of the surrounding countryside, and conveniently for us had a restaurant in the fortress courtyard that was actually open for Christmas day. So we stopped for some food before continuing our exploration and picture taking from the top of the fortress.
Instead of taking the gondola back down, we decided to walk down through some of the olympic venues. This turned out to get us a little lost since there wasn't a simple route back to the main road so we wandered in between the Stadi Olímpic and the Palau Sant Jordi before finally finding our way out to in front of the Palau Nacional which overlooks a large stairway heading back down into the city. There was quite a few people out on that beautiful day to enjoy the weather.
We headed back to our hotel via metro to have a nap and figure out where a good place to go for dinner was. Once again consulting wikitravel, we eventually ended up at Los Caracoles, which translates to "The Snails" -- which also happens to be the restaurant's signature dish. The restaurant's exterior features a window where chickens are being roasted on spits, and when you walk into the restaurant, you first walk through the bar to the front desk where you ask for your table. From there you walk through the kitchen to the dining area. Our table was right next to the kitchen so we could see the cooks working away and the delicious dishes being whisked into the extensive dining area behind us. The inside of the restaurant was extensively decorated and felt quite comfortable. To add to the snail theme, not only were there some decorative snails everywhere, but the bread that came with our dinner was curled up to look like a snail! The food was excellent, and it turned out to be a great place to have our Christmas day dinner.
Our last day in Barcelona is up next ...