An illustrious city along the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona boasts of culture so rich and diverse compared to the rest of Spain it’s not hard to think of it as a different country. Barcelonins are fiercely proud of their Catalan tongue, and the city itself is a cosmopolitan jewel decorated by Antoni Gaudi’s surreal architecture.

Park Guell, a section of Gracia district where Gaudi ran amok with his signature Modernism, is teeming with hawkers, buskers and tourists alike. Crowds converge at the surreal landscape dazzlingly blended with nature – colorful mosaic backdropped by turmeric-toned sand and blue Mediterranean sky. The uphill walk to the park is nearly as pretty, with the afternoon sun painting a golden hue on colorful houses that line the streets.

But Barcelona is not just about its past, no matter how much pride the residents place on it. The city also has a vigorous disposition on the present and its future. It has been nearly two decades since it hosed the 1992 Olympics, but the city has never looked back. Modern sculptures, chic malls, and an IMAX cinema dot the coast, while the state-of-the-art Camp Nou at Avinguda Aristides Maillol houses one of Spain’s richest football club.

First published in TravelBlog on July 13, 2010.

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