In the old town of Barcelona, on Carrer de la Palla there sits one of my favorite places in the world to get a sugar fix, Caelum. It touches the heavens of sugar on many fronts (you can see these through the front window), but what I find the most enjoyable about the place is that all the sweets are make by monasteries and nunneries throughout Spain and they serve tea.
Caleum has not gone without notice. Lonely Planet and others have taken notice a long time ago and written about. Admittedly it is a cute place (me emerging from the bathroom on the right) and can be relaxing if it’s not packed with tourists. But this is one of the two big problems. Tourists have latched on to the place that, despite its limited hours will inevitably be full of people. The tiny triangular place doesn’t fit that many souls either, so it can be a bit of a wait if you show up during busy hours.
The other big problem with the place is that it has fallen prey to “Island Syndrome” in that they’re generally of the opinion that tourist money will continue to flow in to their store and cafe no matter how crappy the service. It’s unfortunate because there is no reason for it other than the fact they continue to get away with it. Each successive visit there tends to be worse than the last. My latest visit had this girl who, when kindly describing her, can best be summed up as, “idiot”. She couldn’t be bothered to serve us and when she finally did, gave us cold tea that wouldn’t steep.
All of this makes it hard to really bother going back there, but the sweets are really good and the corner location can’t be beat. So, if you’re in Barcelona for a visit and have some time in the morning, swing by. If it’s the afternoon, or rainy, or a short visit, don’t bother. It’s better just to look from the outside and lust after the sweets and not have them soiled by the soulless rocks that mistakenly claim they “work” there.