Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It Wouldn't be Spain Without a Bullfight or Two

Before we left for our trip to Spain, Gil managed to purchase bullfight tickets for us for Madrid.  While we were Sevilla, at the beginning of the Feria, the bullfighting season started there along with the Feria.  We had been informed by several sources that bullfight tickets are impossible to come by in Sevilla during the Feria.  That information was wrong.  We were indeed able to get bullfight tickets in Sevilla and that gave us an opportunity to see bullfights in the oldest bullring in Spain.

In Sevilla, the ladies were dressed in all of their flamenco finery and the men were dressed in suits and ties.  TO GO TO A BULLFIGHT!!  To really appreciate this attire, you need to know that the seats in the plaza de torros are made out of stone (like you see in the ruins of Roman amphitheaters.)  Not at all comfortable.  And the bullring in Sevilla was built in the 18th century.  People must have had legs only two feet long then, because for those of us in the 20th century, your knees are jammed into the backs of the person in front of you, and the person behind you has his/her knees jammed into your back.  (The Madrid bullring, built in the 1920's, had a bit more leg room, but it was still not very comfortable.)  You can rent a cushion to sit on so you are not sitting directly on the stone for two hours, and while that is better, it is still very uncomfortable.

Anyway, in Sevilla, during the week of the Feria, going to the bullfight is akin to going to the opera in New York.  It is a main event of the season.

In Madrid, the people are not so dressed up, so we fit in better in our tourist attire or shorts or jeans and cotton shirts.  But, the Infanta (heiress to the throne) was at our bullfight in Madrid, sitting just in the next section over from us.  She was dressed up in a lovely suit and very pretty hat.

There is a lot of pageantry and brilliant color in the corridas de torros.   And the plazas de torros are quite pretty buildings.   Here are some pictures from our experiences at the bullfights.

Sometimes the bull gets the upper hand.

Those awful seats in the Sevilla bullring (before the crowds arrived and we were jammed in.)

This bull really wants a piece of this matador.

Brave or really foolish?  These guys do get gored sometimes.

The crowd is waiving white handkerchiefs because they want the matador to receive an award.

If you click on this picture and enlarge it, then look at the "box seat" next to the stone arch on the left, you can see some senoritas in their mantillas and flamenco dresses.

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