I have heard so much about Barcelona before I saw it for real. It is Lonely Planet’s top pick for Europe and one of Mr. V’s favorite cities. I heard about things that one would normally expect of Spain — cuisine with paella in the starring role, late dinner, colorful handicrafts. I also heard about (and saw) the fascinating works and world of Antoni Gaudi (although pictures are never as intoxicating as the real work itself!). And the non-stop partying in La Rambla. But what you hear does not prepare you as much as real life itself. That is why traveling is a must when you hear so many beautiful things about a place. Indeed, Barcelona is as alive as one may think. Day and night, it breathes like a real person in his/her youth. As green as the first bud of spring, if I may say so poetically.