I wished I had listened to the traveler who warned me against going to to a bullfight. I had never been to one before (or even seen one) so I had no idea what to expect. (I am also an avid animal lover.) It was an absolutely awful experience. I am not going to get into anything political. I only hope that my story will persuade someone not to support this brutal "sport". I am incuding the actual entry from my journal (in 2 parts since it's a little long).
“We sat outside in the sun enjoying a coffee before getting on the Metro to Las Ventas bullring for the bullfight. The Metro, which was really dirty, was packed. Obviously a lot of people were going to the bullfight. We arrived at Las Ventas not quite sure what to expect. We found our seats which were front row in the shade. The seats in a bullring are divided into 2 sections – in the shade and in the sun. The seats in the sun are less expensive – but for a 6 p.m. bullfight the sun really goes down within the first 30 minutes anyway. Also the lower you are in the ring, the more expensive the seats. We didn’t really know where our seats were other then in the shade when we ordered them but apparently were given these “great” seats because the bulls were young. I did notice that most of the people in the front row seats were foreigners and in fact, the groups of people on both sides of us were American. I’m sure that says something about this whole experience. With great ceremony, a band started to play, men on horses and the matadors all entered the ring. Everyone bowed at the upper area reserved for the king (or other VIPs). The matadors picked up their capes (which by the way were pink, not red). A couple of matadors stayed in the ring and the first bull entered. He looked as though he really wasn’t sure what to do – he actually just stood in place for a few seconds.” (Continued)
Wow. There was quite a commotion outside before it started. I think tourists only took pictures outside but dared not enter, especially since it was The Rookies Night, so all the bull fighters were young guys, inexperienced. Costly in the bull fighting industry. The bulls bled so much....
First, the music and procession occurs. very nice.
Then the first bull roars out of the gates! Angry and aggressive. The five or six mini bull fighters prance around and hide mostly behind the guards surrounding the stadium. I heard somebody once got killed seated near the grounds, so sit back.
One of the bull fighters assistants got tossed like speghetti to the ground 5 feet ahead!! Luckily the other guys came to the rescue and distracted it. oooh!
Thend the first torture is the mounted Cowboy prodding it.
Then the flying troops jump and stab the bulls back somehow not running into the horns, narrowly.
Finally the bull fighter himself, caviler-like, bold, courageously and with eloquence like an art form entertains the crowd, until striking the killer blow with the samuri sword. Hope you liked my account of the evening.
A sunny afternoon at the bull fights. We chose the cheap seats in the sun. There were 6 bulls to be despatched so we settled in for the afternoon. The bulls enter all revved up and ready to go, but the softening up process starts immediately. Most damaging for the bull are the spears of the picadors, relatively safe on their padded horses who weaken the bull by wounding its shoulders.
So when it is time for the daring young fellows to drive in their barbed feathers, the risk is not so much.
And finally, the matador can address the bull, look it in the eye, and plunge home his sword in the killing stroke.
The falled beefsteak is then unceremoniously dragged out.
We got to see a couple of tumbles, and witnessed the crowd whistling and gesticulating at a particularly clumsy effort by one of the matadors. There is a form to all of this.
But by bul number six, well it was all rather routine.
Madrid has the largest bullfighting arena in the world, called Las Ventas. Bullfighting is usually not seen anywhere else than Spain, so it's probably a good thing to see while there. Basically, it consists of a "fight" between a bull and a man, the torero. The bull enters the ring and a group of people start to tire him. Then a lancer (picador) mounted on a horse stabs the bull on the neck, so he starts to lose some blood. Then there are three flagmen (banderilleros) who plant two barbed sticks (called banderillas) on the bull's flanks. After all these, the torero enters the ring with a red cape and a sword. After making some passes at the bull, he finally kills him.
All in all, it's a nice show, despite of the fact that an animal is being killed. I found that it's better to go with a local, or with someone who can explain what's going on at each moment.
We didn't go to an actual bullfight (I don't think I'd really want to) but we did go on a tour of Las Ventas, the bullring. Whether you like or agree with bullfighting or not, it is an important part of Spanish culture and tradition. The bullring itself is certainly a beautiful, ornate building and I thought the tour was interesting and disturbing at the same time. We began by looking in the museum which chronicled the history of bullfighting in Madrid and commemorated some of the more famous bullfighters (and bulls), and then went on the guided tour. The tour lasted for about an hour, was given in about four different languages and extremely informative, and you could ask whatever you wanted. Even though there wasn't a bullfight going on at the time, by the end of the tour we knew so much about bullfighting and had so much of a feel of the building that it felt like there might have been.
I went to the bullfight in Madrid with mixed feelings and left in a state of near-shock. I thought maybe I'd go to see it for the cultural angle: the pageantry, the people-watching... And if things got too much for me, we could leave. I guess it was a bad idea for me because I get more upset seeing animals get hurt than seeing people get hurt. Anyway, our seats were far from the aisle and the place was packed. I suppose we could have elbowed our way out, but it didn't seem like the right thing to do. We stayed until the bitter end. 6 bulls died, and one person was seriously injured. I don't understand any of it.
Plaza de Toros "Las Ventas" is the most popular and important arena in Spain. You can see here corrida every sunday ( since March to October). The arena contains
50 000 people. Around the building there are some sculptures of the best torreros and some bunches and trees. The most importand corridas are in Mai during Fiesta in honour of St. Isidoro.
I wanted to see a bullfight once in my life and I figured I couldn't go to Spain and not see one. Surprisingly, I was able to focus on the "show" part of it. So I was able to enjoy it, but I wouldn't go see another one.
You have to remember you can't walk in during a fight and when you do go in, you have to sit down very fast - my mother stood there looking for our seats and they tried to kick us out when the fight started because they thought we wanted to remain standing.
Some people thinks thats bullfight is torture others thinks that just fun time, if you are second group and its summer time in Madrid just go Sunday afternoon see some bulls, some brave(or crazy) guys and blood(from the bulls).
price: 4 euros up 100 euros, the distance and place are that determine how much you need to pay. if you dont care about sun, with 12 euros you can find nice place to seat.
just important tip: you cant go to restroom or back to your seat between the bullfight, if happen , you must wait the fight finish.
Ok, so I'm a little wussie and I dont want to see any animals die. If you are like me then go see bull jumping/dodging! It is awsome! These guys (a little wacko) get out in front of the bulls and actually wait for them to get within inches before they lean or dodge out of the way! The crowd goes nutz! The best is when one of the member of the team has a bull chase him, then another runs towards the bull and jumps over him! COOL!!! Much better to tease the bull than to kill it!
I have to go back this summer, so maybe I will go see a bullfight, but we will see!
Just remember to bring a cushion for your butt cause you all sit on concrete steps and water. Even if it is at night it is HOT! If you dont like noise, either DONT GO or bring earplugs! You have to go with friends just as nutz as you though! Makes for a great time to go out before, have a few drinks and then head for the area!
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