IMG_3484Today we got up and headed to breakfast down the road from our hostel. It was right beneath a waffle like structure that after looking up on Foursquare I realized we could go to the top. It was really neat and had this whole set of pathways on top. Also 360 degree view of the city.

From the top we could see the main cathedral and decided to head there next. Unfortunately it was closed to tourists due to a service going on inside. We wandered around the outside and looked at all the ornate doors. Looking at the info panels, I learned it was the 3rd largest cathedral in the world. Wow!

Next we walked towards the bull ring and stopped for a snack and a beer along the river. It was a nice view and relaxing. We made it to the bull ring and you knew their was a big match later. All of the venders were starting to get set up and people were picking up their tickets. We did see the parade of horses that would be used in the ring later.

We walked back to our hostel to grab the tickets since I didn’t think to bring them when we left earlier in the day. Plus it was nice to refresh ourselves and prepare for the bullfight.

We headed back and only need to follow the throngs of people dressed to the nines. I mean these people were dressed like they were going to the Kentucky derby – women in fashionable dresses with hats and men decked out in expensive suits and Armani jeans. I luckily thought to wear a dress, but it was no were in this league.

I stocked up on water and snacks as I had heard that you are not suppose to leave your seat during each round of bullfighting. I’m glad I did too, when we finally made it to our seats they were the ones 30 seats in on a row and there was only 1 way in. It was so narrow it was difficult to not fall on people in either direction. Wow. Once in we didn’t move either, lol.

Bullring

Bullring

So what did the bullfight consist of? Well there were 6 bulls, and 3 matadors, so each of them got 2 bulls. Each bullfight goes through the same sequence timed by trumpets. First the matador and his team come out and wave their capes to get the bull to charge and test the bull. Then a guy on a horse that is blind folded and padded comes out and tries to get the bull to charge. When it charges the guy sticks the bull on the back of the neck with a short blade on a lance. This is the first time the bull bleeds. Depending on how well the guy on the horse is doing he will get the bull to charge 2-3 times before being trumpeted off.

Next the matadors team distracts the bull with their capes and then other guys will run at the bull one at the time with 2 barbed sticks with the goal of getting them to stick in the bulls neck muscle. This happens 3 times so there should be 6 sticks in the bull by the end.

Finally its time for the matador to have his run at the bull. Everyone else leaves the ring and the matador with his red cape this time has the bull charge at him. The goal is to do as many passes as close to the bull in a row. The crowd really loved that, with many “ohh, OHHH” as the passes grew in number. When there have been enough passes, or it is not going well and the bull will not cooperate it is time for the matador to get the real sword and finish the bull. The matador does a running charge at the bull and plunges the sward deep inside the bull. If he does it right the bull will start to falter and be dead in 2 minutes. If not he might need another sword or one of the helpers will come in and with a quick stab to the head, kill the bull.

Madator

Madator

After the bull is dead a group of horses pulls it around the ring and the whole crowd cheers. And then the routine starts all over again. It might sound gruesome above but it was truly a spectacle to watch. The matador is at risk of being gored the whole time and does this beautiful dance with the bull. We had one awesome bullfighter who really showed off his skills and it was just amazing to see him work and show off. The whole crowd waved white handkerchiefs at him showing their appreciation (of course I was unprepared and didn’t have one). Overall I thought the bullfight was awesome and I would see one again.

We went out for tapas after the bullfight and then back to the hostel where we met up a colleague, Jessica who had just gotten in from Portugal.

 

 

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