Took the 5 hour bus ride ($30) instead of the 4 hour train ride ($80) from Granada to Madrid, and had a good time – the busses her are just dandy! Stayed with a fantastic family right near the Minsterios Nuevos area, and I used the Metro EXTENSIVELY. Highlights were seeing the Prado museum with all the official masterpieces, wandering around the Plaza del Sol, touring the Palace, and seeing the precise room and desk where the Spanish king abdicated his throne last year, and…a bull fight. Yep, I went to a bull fight. Cause, why not? I love the pageantry and even liked the fight, until they decided to kill the bull. Then it was just…not fun. I watched 3 of those things and then left. I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy the ending, but I wanted to see if I could see what Ernest Hemingway saw as so noble about it. I did not. (I have a longish draft of the bull fight experience, but I haven’t finished it yet).
The Plaza de Toros of Las Ventas in Madrid. The energy before the bull fights felt like a football game. According to them, this arena is the “Mecca of Bullfighting” in the world.
The bullring shortly before the start. They tickets in the shade are more expensive than those in the sun, and you get to pick: Shade or Sun.
The ceremony is really the main thing I wanted to see, and I got it. All the toreros and matadors of the day, march in, followed by guys on heavily padded horses. The bulls charge these horses who stood their ground and didn’t seem to get all freaked out. That surprised me. As far as I could tell the bulls couldn’t hurt the horses.
Matador practicing his moves.
This bull entered the ring and just kinda stared at the crowd. The toreros and matadors spent a lot of time trying to get the attention of the bulls.
Lots of standing around. At some point, the bull would get annoyed at the bullfighters taunting and charge cape. The audience was really into this, cheering, or even booing (well, whistling) if they thought a move was good or lame. About this time the trumpets would sound which meant it was time to start killing the bull. And it was at this point that I didn’t feel so good.
First noticed this in Spain but there are these street performance who post as human statues. I’m still trying to figure this guy out.. He holds this posiition for a long time. I stuck around 5 minutes and he was still doing it. Best I can figure is that he’s resting on some rebar thing that works its way up through the leaning chair and through his sleeve. I don’t know. Impressive, though!