To get a seat at Kiosko Universal at the Boqueria Market, everyone, even Marc Almond of Soft Cell, has to hover over the people eating at the bar, like vultures circling over a wounded animal. It doesn’t feel very civilized, but supposedly that’s what they do in these parts.

Almond, like the rest of us, was in Barcelona for the Primavera Sound festival, but he eventually left before going that far for a seat. Our group was more determined after seeing and smelling this:

We waited over an hour for a table for six. We were all kind of grumpy at this point but the mushrooms took everyone by surprise and we were all fighting over it, sopping up all the parsley oil with bread.

This is pretty doable at home: Parsley, olive oil, garlic, green onions. Easy, delicious fungus.

Grilled squid is one of my favorite foods ever. Biting into them made me remember having it prepared that way for the first time at Chez Panisse. As I say it’s my favorite squid preparation, silly me realizes that this was only the second time I’ve had it that way. Note to self: these have to be at the next bbq.

The sole was done proper but the fish wasn’t nearly as exciting since it came out at the same time as the razor clams.

Razor clams — apparently these things will kill you or very well could. R said that her mother stepped on one at the beach one day and tons of blood was gushing out of her foot. We showed these clams who were boss by devouring them in ten seconds.

This was my first time eating razor clams. I guess it’s because I’m from the West Coast. I started praying to the razor clam god in hopes that I will find them here. Do they have razor clams in Paris?

I’m also wondering if sangria is something that the locals really drink here or some kind of Spanish fantasy perpetuated by tourists, including us.

For the most part I saw lots of old men drinking hard liquor at all hours in the day and I saw baristas putting a couple of splashes of whisky into the coffee. It helps decaffeinate the coffee in time for siesta, I suppose. And the bars here make a pretty stiff drink.

At 3 in the morning, T, K and I roamed the streets of the Gothic quarter looking for food. Samosas and six-packs of Estrella beer were the things being offered at that hour. In my dreams, it would have been something like fried calamari. That helps after a lot of drink. Or anything greasy, like these croquettes from a market stall at El Boqueria.

But the market is only open in the day. Defeated, we ended up with a can of Pringles instead. That was a low point in the trip.

Unfortunately, the other low point was our rather bad judgment that led us to take advantage of the Jaeger shots that the festival was selling for only 2 euros a pop. We were all near death the next morning. I think it contains something like 40% alcohol and 60% evil.

Some of us went for a swim at five in the morning and managed to get back home just as the sun was rising. On our last night we were running around the festival grounds like fools. We were pretty obnoxious, but whatever. Since living in one of the most touristy cities in the world, I am more forgiving of tourists who are loud and having a good time than tourists who dress badly. It makes me happy seeing people having fun with their friends.

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