DESTINATIONS

Bullfight experience in Granada

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain Matador gracefully toys with the injured bull

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada bullfight Spain showing our lineup for Domingo 26 of matadors Padilla, Robleno and Ferrera

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: Preparing the field, much like in baseball.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada Spain bullfight: The toro is released and raring to go.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain matador teases and gauges the fresh bull.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain matador teases and gauges the fresh bull.

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: Enthralled stadium

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: Matador with picadore on horseback and assistant

Granada Spain bullfight:

Granada Spain bullfight: The picadores on horseback are the first to injure bulls to begin slowing them down.

Granada Spain bullfight:

Granada Spain bullfight: The picadores on horseback are the first to injure bulls to begin slowing them down. The horses are in jeopardy despite the protective garb.

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: One horse was injured as the bull went beneath him. Attendees eventually got the horse up and off the field.

Granada Spain Bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: The bull asks, is this the way out?

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain. The banderilleros thrust barbed sticks to further slow the beasts.

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: The banderilleros thrust barbed sticks to further slow the beasts.

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: Caught, teased, wounded: the bull begins to heave from exhaustion.

Granada Spain bullfight

Granada Spain bullfight: Sometimes the matadors themselves attack with the barbed sticks.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain: Matador faces down the exhausted beast.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain: matador taunting the beast

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain: attempting final blow

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain: defeated bull is dragged off.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain: lady lines the ring between fights while fans picnic

Granada Spain bullright

Granada Spain bullfight: The matador takes a break while the ring's lines are reapplied.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain matador Ferrara waving "ear" trophy. He would be carried off by crowds at day's end.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada Spain bullfight: Enthralled crowds

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada Spain bullfight: VIP section

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada bullfight Spain matador Ferrara, who earned two ears, is carried off by fans.

Granada bullfight Spain

Granada Spain bullfight: Vendors selling tools of the bullfighting trade

Seville Spain bullring museum

Seville bullring Spain historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Seville bullring Spain

Seville bullring Spain historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Seville bullring Spain

Seville bullring Spain where matadors enter historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Seville bullring Spain

Seville bullring Spain VIP section historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Seville bullring museum Spain

Seville bullring museum Spain historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Seville bullring museum Spain

Seville bullring museum Spain historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Seville bullring museum Spain

Seville bullring museum Spain historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranz, built between 1761-1881

Spain Seville bullring

Seville overview of bullring Spain

Mesmerizing and saddening display of man and beast

Written September 2015; traveled June 26, 2011

 

For all the obvious reasons, we had agreed ahead of time that we were not interested and did not want to see a bullfight during our driving tour of Spain in 2011. 

 

But after visiting the historic Plaza de Toros de la Maestranze bullring in Seville, built between 1761-1881, we were captivated. We booked a fight in Granada two days hence, paying $49 Euros each for a  “sol y sombra” (sun into shade) section. 

 

The experience on June 26, 2011, in Granada was fascinating, and saddening. The program was typical: three matadors each fighting two bulls.

 

The beasts, upon release into the ring, were big and strong and fast, charging fiercely after center court, sending your andrenalin soaring. (Only one bull required enticement to come out for the show.)

 

First, the matadors and assistants play with the "toros', teasing the excited bulls, gauging their capabilities. The matadors prance deliberately, each calculated swirl intended for show and drawing appreciative applause. This was the man vs. beast authentic moments.

 

Next come the picadores on horseback to stab the beasts behind the neck and begin wearing them down.

 

The banderilleros then run around the bulls, jumping styliistically to thrust barbed sticks into their shoulders. The wounded bulls slow, stumble, pant, bleed.

 

Now the matador returns with cape and sword, getting closer to the exhausted bull, staring deep into their eyes or non-chalantly walking away. The goal is a death blow by sword into the brain, severing the spinal cord, or into the exact spot that pierces the heart. None succeeded on the first try during our fights.

 

But in the end, all six bulls were killed and dragged out by a team of mules. 

 

One matador was flipped but got up unharmed. One horse was pushed down by the bull and required much attention and assistance to help it up and out of the ring. 

 

There was a youthful live band playing on occasion. Once, they started the “death” anthem only to have the matador wave them off: Not yet, he was saying!

 

The crowd is very engaged and signals its pleasure in the performance by waving hankies. When the three-panel judging team raises a white hanky it means the matador has earned the prized gift of an ear from their bull. 

 

Three ears were handed out to two Matadors with the last and youngest earning two. 

 

In many ways, the atmosphere was like an American baseball game. The audience was nearly all locals, with families picnicking in the cosy bleachers with jugs of wine, sandwiches and desserts. We had decided to leave after five fights, knowing there were six. But our neighbors were insistent, explaining in Spanish and gesturing in no uncertain terms that we had to stay till the end. So we did, which allowed us to see the last matador get carried out on the shoulders of the crowd as a conquering hero. 

 

We would not go see another, but it was educational to have experienced one.

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© 2015 by Mei-Mei Chan Kirk