The Province of Catalonia was officially granted autonomy in 1931. Barcelona is the capital of this region and is well respected for its economical and cultural differences. Once upon a time, the city was regarded as a little passé with not too much to offer the avid tourist other than key landmark gothic buildings and principal historical attractions. Following its dynamic modernization and accommodation of today’s indulgent traveler, it has quickly caught up with the times. Barcelona is now in the top 10 leading city destinations. This turnaround can be attributed to the mastery of maintaining the old whilst slowly stirring in the new, and ensuring that the unique flavor of Catalonia is not lost in the mix.
The city sizzles all year round. Historically it has consistently preserved its appeal with wonders such as “Cathedral Sagrada Familia”. To counterbalance past with present, Barcelona’s addition of the phallic shaped “Abgar Tower” renders a familiar profile as one casts their eye to the skyline. Architecturally the city has remained on the cutting edge. World-class museums have had a large role to play in attracting tourism and these have been modernized for the main part, making it easy for one to navigate their way round.
Barcelona has managed to stylishly revamp itself and is now a rich hunting ground for quirky fashions and vintage lovers. The 2km long “La Rambla” is where you can find everything from haute-couture to crotchless panties, and why not have your portrait done while you stop for a break. This well-groomed Mediterranean bunch has always had impeccable taste. This gave rise to plenty of individual boutiques as well as new age hippy stores and a broad eclectic mix of the fashion world. A word of warning; be aware that pickpockets thrive on unsuspecting new arrivals to the city. Keep your valuables close to your chest, as these petit criminals are notoriously good at what they do.
The gay community is blooming in this liberal metropolis and the “L’eixample” district is considered gay-central. Smack bang in the middle of all LGBT life you couldn’t ask for a more convenient set up. Recent figures show that approximately 150,000 gay travellers flock here every year. Same sex marriage was legalised in 2005 giving these enlightened people plenty of time to show the rest of the world the way forward. June’s Gay Pride is fun in the sun as well as being a seriously ritzy event with some outrageous costumes on parade.
Nightlife is full on but starts late, so have a little siesta pre venturing out into this exciting jungle. “Berlin Dark” is a popular hangout with a mix of guys that consider cologne as counterproductive. If you’re in the mood for cruising then “Open Mind” should be your first port of call. Fetish and S&M are all part of the exciting package to be found inside. There is however a strict dress code; leather, rubber, uniform or naked, are all accepted for entry to this sought after location. In the event that you decided to travel light and go with the “naked” option, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem, as long as you don’t require any pockets to store your personal belongings.