Travel: The Most Dynamic City in Europe?

Spurred by the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona claims the title with an exuberant revival

A Joan Miro sculpture towers over Barcelona's Parc de l'Escorxador, its riotous colors glinting in the sun. Around it, grandmothers in sneakers, stocky shopkeepers and children in starched frocks join hands. A brass band brays for a slow-motion minuet. Toes out! Toes in! Deliberately, then merrily, 500 people count steps. The sardanas are courtly affairs, far removed from the stomping passion of Spanish flamenco. Under the Franco dictatorship, the dances were banned as subversive evidence of Catalan nationalism. But now, on Sunday afternoons, they are as ubiquitous as barbershop quartets at Iowa county fairs. "They're a sign of our identity," says...

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