Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
September 27, 2012
From journal Easter in Madrid
November 29, 2009
From journal Madrid in 3 Days
August 10, 2006
From journal My Spain Adventure!
by Mandan Lynn
Smithwick, South Dakota
July 19, 2006
From journal Madrid!
Brooklyn, New York
June 26, 2004
The Plaza-del-Toros, an imposing structure featuring Muslim arches, is located at the Las Ventas metro station. When you get there you will be greeted by a statue to fallen toreros (bullfighters). This statue sports two sides: one depicts an angel weeping over the costume of a fallen fighter, the other a fighter being flung into the air by a bull’s horn.
Once inside there will be people renting seat cushions. I advise you to buy one as the seats are very hard and hot. Most locals get them, but tourists are often too smart for their own good and end up suffering (like I did).
Shortly after everyone is seated, the festivities begin with a parade. Then the bull is led in and goes through three stages of fighting. During the first stage, the bull fights apprentice fighters who jump the bull as it is charging and attempt to stick spikes into its back. These spikes progressively weaken the bull's back, making it easier for the torero to kill the bull. The second stage involves the bull charging fighters atop armored horses. These fighters stab the bull from atop the horse. There was a time when the horses wore no padding and would often be killed. These two rounds offer the torero’s assistants a chance to weaken the bull for the torero.
Once the first two rounds are over, the torero comes in and dances with the bull. The closer he gets to the bull, the more the audience approves. A good torero will keep the bull moving rapidly, however when he feels the bull has little energy left, to amuse the crowd he will deliver his sword into the bulls heart. I winced. The bull was dead, and five more would follow. Each bull received the same treatment, with a few notable exceptions. One bull actually was able to knock the bullfighter unconscious during the dance. His aides rushed to his side and he was in a coma for a week. Another fighter had to be called in to kill the bull by stabbing it in the neck, not the preferred way. Another bull was deemed too weak by the crowd and was replaced. The bull was herded out by cows.
While I personally did not enjoy seeing the bulls suffer as they did, after seeing the fight many of my previous feelings had changed. I thought that the fight was rigged. However, while the bull always dies, it does not always lose. Even today, this is a dangerous activity (I decline to call it a sport) for the toreros and is much more involved than just a simple fight. I wouldn’t want to see this happen in NYC, but it does seem slightly more fitting under a red and yellow flag.
From journal Month in Madrid
New York, New York
August 27, 2003
The bullring is right outside the metro, and it is the first thing you see when you emerge from the metro. It is a red-bricked, majestic looking stadium...the shape of a baseball stadium, but smaller in scale and much more regal. A trip to the ticket window quickly revealed that tickets were indeed sold out, but before you could say "boo", we were surrounded by scalpers, and the question of attendence then ceased to matter.
With my sister's broken high school Spanish we managed to score three tickets, for what we thought was a halfway decent price. By then people are starting to line up outside...the air is thick with men's Spanish conversations and their cigar smoke. We move into the stadium.
Our tickets say "Grada" which we learn is the top tier of seating in the stadium. There are no chairs, just concrete numbered bleachers, if you will, so we take our seats and are soon surrounded by others on all sides.
The bullfight begins! The beginning is pomp and circumstance. A parade of the matadors come out, dressed in their finery: bright blue and pink suits trimmed in gold. Their capes are bright pink as well.
A bullfight session is called a faena, and it is divided into three parts. In the first part, the matador faces the bull alone, when he spars with the bull using his magenta cape. I learned that he does this to determine the bull's verility and strength. In the second round, the bull is weakened by picadores and banderilleros. The picadores are on horseback, heavily padded (both man and horse) and he uses a long spear to stab the bull and weaken him. The banderilleros then stab brightly colored barbed sticks into the bull's neck.
In the final round, the matador faces the bull alone again, this time with the famous red cape. He works the bull again, dazzling the crowd with how close he can bring the bull to his body without being impaled. The bulls, very weak from their injuries, continue to charge the cape, but lose speed as the match wears on. In the end, the matador will stab the bull with a sword, and the animals legs will collapse under it, as a pool of blood soaks into the red dirt of the main ring.
A horse drawn wagon will come and several men will tie the dead bull to the back of the wagon. The corpse is then dragged away. The crowd then has to judge the match, and they do this by waving white handkerchiefs to favor a matador. People cheer on their favorite matadors, and wave handkerchiefs for that matador's kill. Once the ring is cleared, a new fight begins.
From journal Magical Madrid
London, United Kingdom
October 17, 2002
We were told there are three stages to the bullfight. A normal session consists of three Matadors who take on two brave bulls each at separate intervals. Two helpers are also on guard to help the matador should the bull become overly violent as we saw on more than one occasion. Armed with nothing but a pink cape, the matador is suddenly in front of the bull that has been kept in a dark room leading up to the fight. Naturally when the bull emerges into the light it is disorientated and angry.
Firstly, they dance. Swift motions with the cape by the matador encourage the bull to run at him. "Eye Toro, Eye Toro" is chanted as the matador bends his body several ways around the bull to avoid contact. A few more movements with the cape and then the Picador come onto the ring.
Stage two is the Picador and the weakening of the bull. A well-dressed man on an armored blindfolded horse enters the ring to weaken the bull. The bull becomes angered by the presence of the horse and begins to charge at it. Perfect for the Picador who is waiting with spear in hand to jab the bull in the back of the neck. Then Matador and his helpers charge the bulls individually with metal spear and implant them into the back of the bull’s neck.
A now weakened bull, only the Matador returns to the ring, this time with the red cape we were familiar with, and a sword. This is the third and final stage. More dancing takes place until the Matador is ready to kill the bull. A good Matador is able to kill the bull with one swift stab to the back of the bull’s neck. If done correctly, death will be instantaneous to the bull. This is the sign of a truly great Matador.
If you are unlucky like we were, you can hear the bull cry as several stabs are made by the Matador to kill the bull. We came to the conclusion that although the locals cheer and wave their white hankies at the end to show appreciation for successful kills, we would not be returning to this tradition. The guide asks for my recommendation, I listed it as highly recommended because it did just that, exceed my expectations.
From journal Tradditions and Madrid