MADRID ~ Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas (The Bullfights) (Madrid, ESP)
Saturday July 29th, 2017
TODAYS MILEAGE – 216 miles or 348 kilometres
TRIP MILEAGE – 14,779 miles or 23,784 kilometres
That evening a few us grabbed the train out to the Guindalera quarter, for the Spanish national passion of bullfighting at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas bullring. Having attended and watched 4 out of the 7 advertised "fights", I left early, as in my eyes, there was nothing that even resembled a fair fight. I've always wanted to experience a bullfight due to the history, ceremony and certain amount of "stones" required to face an 2½ tonne angry animal.
There are three distinctive stages with Spanish-style bullfighting - called a Corrida de Toros (literally a "running of the bulls") and they are (1) Tercio de Varas "part of lances", (2) Tercio de Banderillas "part of banderillas" and (3) Tercio de Muerte "part of death".
Admittedly there is a place and purpose for all three stages of a bullfight, but here's my take on what I observed:
PART 1: Tercio de Varas "part of lances" - A matador gets the bull charging at him and running the animal around the animal around the bullring with the aim of getting its heart rate pumping. When it starts puffing, a rider on a seemingly protected horse stabs the bull in the shoulder with a lance, opening a large wound to force blood to run from the animal. The matador then steps in and get the animals heart rate pumping again.
PART 2: Tercio de Banderillas - this where three matadors antagonize the animal with the aim of impaling the animal with two barbed sticks each, into ridges of neck and shoulder muscle, thus causing further blood loss.
PART 3: Tercio de Muerte "part of death" - the matador re-enters the ring alone to entice the bull into final series of passes in which the matador attempts to manoeuvre the bull into a position to stab it between the shoulder blades and through the aorta or heart, thus ending the bullfight.
While this may be my simplistic view on proceedings, I felt that there was no pretence of the bull having any chance of having a we Aussies call a "fair go", which disappointed me as I've always thought the animal had a chance of survival - all be it a slim one. I'm no rabid "greeny", "tree hugger" or "animal activist", but can honestly say that having attended and watched 4 out of the 7 advertised "fights" program, it would be my last. I actually left early, as in my eyes, there was nothing that even resembled a fair fight - but that's my prerogative.
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