WARNING--BLOODY BULL PICTURES!!!
So the past couple of weeks, Eric had some leave days (days off) that he had to take or he would lose them, so we have been going and having fun. One day, we dropped the kids off in the morning and went and rented sea kayaks and kayaked out to an island that has a castle on it and around some marshlands--we had a blast--laid out on the beach--it was SOOOOO relaxing!!! Last week, we left the kids at home again and went to see a REAL Spanish bullfight!!! While in Spain, you have to see a bullfight--it is a cultural tradition!!! We are fortunate in that there is a bullring so close to us--it is about 10 minutes away.
Anyways, I have to say, that while I do feel bad for the poor bulls, the bullfight was fascinating--it was much more involved than what I thought it would be. When I thought of a bullfight, I just thought of the guy waving the red cape around. Also, the pagentry, showmanship and machoism was fascinating. The bullfight we went to had 3 different matadors and they each fought 2 bulls (so 6 bulls total). One of the matadors was amazing and the other two were okay.
So a bullfight is basically 3 distinct parts--the picadores, banderillas, and then the matador. The participants first start off the night by entering the ring and saluting the judges--basically a parade.
|The matadors and banderillos (the matadors helpers)|
Before each bull comes out, this guy comes out with this board that tells about the bull-name and how big he is.
So the first part of the bullfight is the picadores. What happens is the bull comes out and the matador and banderillos kind of play with the bull--the bull runs around the ring and the matador gets a feel for what the bull is like. After a couple of minutes two picadores come out. These are guys that are on padded, blindfolded horses that have lances. The bull attacks the horse and is stabbed in the neck muscle. This is the bull's first blood loss and weakens the bull. Some of the bulls were very aggressive and would try and use their necks to lift up the horses.
|The horse is padded and blindfolded|
The second part of the bullfight is when three banderillos each stab the bull with two spiked sticks, in the bull's shoulders, that are covered in colorful paper. This further weakens the bull. This part I think was the most dangerous. Basically the banderillo runs at the bull and stabs him with the sticks and then runs away--most of the time jumping over the fence of the bullring because the bull is chasing him.
|Those things sticking out of the bull are the spiked sticks and by the time the bull is killed they are COVERED with blood.|
|Here is the banderillo showing his sticks|
|Now the bull charges him|
|Stabs the bull...|
|I don't have a picture but this is when he starts running towards the wall to get away from one angry bull!!|
Now the third part is when the matador comes out and basically finishes off the bull. He comes into the ring alone with his cape and his sword. The matador demonstrates his dominance over the bull by getting very close to the bull as it passes by. The one guy that we watched that was really good would come out and kick his shoes off and do it all in his socks--it was crazy. Here are some pictures demonstrating how close the bull gets.
|This was amazing to me--the guy is kneeling down and if the bull moves hardly at all he would be dead. These matador guys have some serious nerves of steel.|
|Look at his feet--he has kicked off his shoes at this point.|
|Again, can't believe how close the bull is!|
|The matador and how he posed and walked was so interesting--they are very manly and proud.|
|Multiple times he gets close enough to touch the bull.|
|So after the bull is tired out and lost tons of blood, then the matador finishes him off with his sword.|
|They stab the bull through the shoulder blades into the aorta or heart and usually the bull dies within a couple of minutes.|
|So here is the bull after it dies.|
|After the bull is on the ground another guy comes out and uses a dagger to severe the spinal cord.|
|After the bull is dead it is dragged out of the ring by these horses that have bells on them|
|Here is the matador with the two ears in his hands walking around the ring taking his celebratory lap. I thought it was kind of gross to be holding two bloody bull ears, but it's tradition!|