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Sunday Tea in an Unknown Square

Mighty Travels

Two tea lovers make their way around Europe with their Mighty Leaf

Sunday Tea in an Unknown Square June 3, 2007

When you wander the old streets of Barcelona (Barcino as it was in Roman times) you drift in and out of small squares. Some are as old the town itself and have kept pieces of the old walls that surrounded Barcino, or an arch that used to belong to a Roman house. Others have been created recently amidst medieval buildings as Barcelona attempts to reinvent itself by an unfortunate demolishing of the history that makes the town what it is.

Some of these squares are tiny and not more than an over-glorified intersection of two streets. Some are massive like the square near the Museum of Modern Art that was carved out of one of those demolishing operations, and where all kinds of people congregate. Then there are the tiny squares that are hidden. These are the best squares because they often conceal gems of history or a slight breath of space from the buzz of the city. But, even the smallest ones will always have a small café or two with a terrace where you can sit and enjoy a slow Sunday afternoon.

One of the best ones we discovered was called Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, in the heart of the remnants of the old Jewish quarter, just a few steps from the main cathedral of the city. It's a square that opens up on to a church (Sant Felip Neri) and has a café from a very fancy hotel at the back of it. It's a spot where the new Barcelona meets the old, with a fountain in the middle to mitigate the exchange. This square also serves as a memorial to people who died there in the bombings from the 1936-39 Civil War. This quiet, memorial status of the place still stands today as it's a quiet spot for a contemplative meeting with friends or just to meditate over a pot of tea.

There wasn't any one tea that we thought fit the moment and so we chose two that could be sipped for hours, which were a Darjeeling and a Matte. Both are enjoyable cold as they will inevitably lose their boiling heat when sitting at a place like Felip Neri because you don't really want to leave.

Guitarists come and play, then leave. People with children pass through, stay for a picture or two and then leave as well. It's a slow procession of humanity that you are a bystander to. Toss in a Catalan xuxo (pronounced 'shoo-shoo') to nibble with the tea and your Sunday afternoon can't be better.

Where: Barcelona, Spainbr> Food: Xuxo (custard-filled pastry coated in sugar)
Tea: Darjeeling Choice Estate, Rainforest Mate