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by Harry Potter
New York, New York
July 22, 2002
The bullfights in Sevilla take place at the renowned La Maestranza bullring in the Plaza de Toros. Built in 1760, La Maestranza is one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, and there is a 30 minute guided tour available of its stables and museum. The spectators at bullfights are very civilized and sit quietly, paying full respect to the sport being watched. It reminded me of the crowd at a tennis match or golf tournament. In fact, once a matador has taken the ring, people who are not in their seats must wait outside until the kill has occurred.
The bull is first let into the ring and confronted by a single matador who bravely remains in place, often on his knees, waving his cape to escape the initial charges of the bull. Soon the men with long spears/lances appear riding on horses. The horses wear blinders and are padded but are still at the mercy of a charging bull with horns. The men use their lances to stick the bull a few times, getting him to bleed and lose some strength and speed. At the same time, the junior matadors are distracting the bull. Then men appear with what look like juggling pins, except they are more like long darts. Poised with one of these weapons in each hand, these men run around the bull trying to position themselves to be able to stab the bull hard enough so that their weapons remain in his back. At this point the bull is often profusely bleeding and disoriented. Soon the main matador will step back in to finish the kill. The object is for the matador to score a direct hit so the bull keels over dying immediately. Sometimes the bull is still full of fight and a slight mistake by the matador can result in his being gored. I have attended 2 bullfights and in both of them I saw matadors get gored. Once the bull is dead, a team of horses ride in to drag the bull from the field. Depending on how expertly the matador performed the kill, the judges may reward the matador with one ear, two ears or the ultimate, 2 ears and the tail.
From journal 3 Semanas in Sevilla
July 24, 2001
From journal Magic Seville
January 25, 2001
From journal Passionate Seville
January 24, 2001
A ticket tout with an eagle eye noticed that and approached me and tried to sell me a ticket. But I was having none of it. First of all, all his tickets were "Sol" tickets, and not "Sombre", which basically means they are the seats under the sun, and not under the shade. We had already boned up for this in our guide book that one should definitely getting "Sombre" tickets, not just for your personal comfort, but also quite importantly, most of the actions apparently take place in the shade side. We went around the bullring, and noticed they do a guided tour as well, so I inquired about the tour and the bullfight tomorrow. Tours were every 15 minutes. Seats were available. Luckily, there were actually plenty available, and we promptly bought the most expensive ones; the first row on the shade side. We were splurging at all costs for blood and gore, so there was no point buying cheap seats. Mission accomplished: Almost.