A trip highlight
Walking through Seville with Carlos, our guide, he noticed a poster that said the bullfights were on tonight. It was our lucky day as the bullfights are only once/month. And the bullfights in Seville is the primo place to attend the fights.
Carlos also took some time to explain how the fights are a part of Spanish culture. Also how every piece of meat from the bull is eaten after a bullfight and it is very expensive. (You can eat a bull penis)?
Tom and I knew this might be difficult to watch but we really thought this would be a great way to experience some Spanish culture.
First of all, we showed up to the bullring and it was PACKED. Packed like the outside of the new Rogers stadium in Edmonton except we didn’t have tickets and didn’t speak the language and had no idea where to go/what to do.
Luckily, a scalper took full advantage of our disabilities and spoke enough English to rip us off for a couple of tickets. Turns out it was sold out and he sold us tickets in the shade so it wasn’t THAT much of a rip off. The tickets in the sun are much cheaper. It’s also important to note it was +36 yesterday and not a cloud in the sky or a lick of wind.
On our way to our seats we passed a bar selling the most refreshing looking gin and tonics. For 9 euros, they better be. And they were. I think that’s when we noticed we were sorely underdressed for the affair. Men were wearing sport coats and long sleeve shirts and pants. Ladies were wearing dresses and heels and makeup. We were wearing the same clothes we travelled in all day. Wrinkly t shirts and shorts and flip flops.
We got to our seats and were immediately overwhelmed with the feeling in the ring and stadium. The air was alive with anticipation of what was to come. A band was playing in one corner.
A bullfight is actually 6 bullfights. Each one lasts about 15 minutes. They had three main toreadors and they each fight 2 bulls. We only stayed for 5 of the fights wanting to avoid the crushing crowd at the end.
A trumpet sounded and out came the first bull. He was so alive and mighty and strong. It was the perfect contrast to the toreadors that are there to tire him out with the pink curtains. They are dressed to the nines with rhinestones and funny hats and really quite flamboyant.
After about 5 minutes, the trumpet sounds again and the picadors come out on horses. These are the guys who give the first shot to the bull. The horses are completely blindfolded and also covered in heavy blankets. This is because when the Bulls catch sight of the horse, they come full at the horse with their horns out. They actually lifted the horse off the ground. While the bull is attempting to take down the horse, the rider has a spear of some sort and is stabbing the bull with it. This goes on for about 5 minutes
Then some other guys come out to stick the bull with some sort of flamboyant looking pins. This serves to make the bull bleed some more as well.
Finally the big cheese comes out with his needle sword and red curtain. He is almost dancing with the the bull. He does this for a few minutes then takes his needle sword and jams it perfectly between the shoulders and through his heart(if all goes well). If the sword is in all the way, the bull will soon drop. Another guy comes over and jams a knife in his brain and finishes it.
The crowd is really into it. There are non stop shhhhhh going around the arena. They cheer the bull and the cheer the toreadors. They boo if one of the jabs is not very good. They don’t want the bull to suffer and if the stabs are good, the bull will not feel it very much. (Apparently)
The first fight we watched was shocking. The reality of watching the animal die right before your eyes. And how unfair of a fight it was. This was the first time Tom saw something die like that.
This bullfight was the highlight of our trip so far. It was an immersion into the Spanish culture and traditions. It’s most likely something we will never do again, but we are grateful for the experience.