By Claire Gledhill
In these days of all-consuming screens and tablets still nothing beats the power off button followed by the sanctuary of a good book and a steaming pot of tea. When a café brings together your Chai, Rooibos or Earl Grey with an array of second-hand books to peruse and purchase, it’s a match made in heaven.
From the leaves of Babelia’s book menu you can select your tea of choice, brought infusing in a dainty teapot accompanied by a heap of sugar cubes, and pair it with a rich, buttery brownie, a slice of the cake of the day or a bikini, mini baguette or salad. And if you’re not a tea aficionado then you’re catered for with beers, wine coffee and refrescos.
Reminiscent of a library, there’s a low hum of voices, music and an air of serenity. There’s also a wall of pre-owned titles in English, Spanish and Catalan as well as a smaller selection in other languages, all just waiting to go home with you. Whatever your reading persuasion, be it novels, politics, self-help, history or the arts, there’s something for everyone here and a simple sticker system tells you what you’ll be paying for your choice, between two to eight euros for most copies, or an eight plus category for special volumes.
Switch off in a quiet corner and plan that foreign trip, real or imaginary, with a travel guide or immerse yourself in cinematic history from part of a selection only for reading in-house. Babelia will buy your books to resell, run an intercambio contacts board for those wishing to brush up their skills and host an English book club with plans for a Spanish one to follow soon.
But, if you’re industrious and really can’t or won’t stay away from that screen, WiFi connection is available.