Sunday 2 July 2006
Highlights: The excellent Museo Nacional Del Prado, Attending a Bullfight
After a rare good breakfast (and free!) I headed down to see the Museo Nacional Del Prado which contained some real gems including:
– The Three Graces ´by Peter Paul Rubens
– Parnassus ´by Nicolas Pussin; and
– Las Meninas ´by Velazquez
An excellent collection. After this I finally did some much need washing. The interesting thing is you don’t really need dryers in Spain.
Some people might not want to read any further as this is graphic. Being a Sunday they local bullfights were on, however as the running of the bulls is on shortly so the experienced bullfighter are out of town. As a result this month saw the young bullfighter’s championship. I got an excellent seat (on hard surface) one back from the fence. The bullfighters tonight (started at 9 pm thank god because of the heat) were; Raul Alonso, Jose Manuel Sandin & Juan Jose Vian El Palentino).
The highlights of the night include the bull knocking down a horse. I thought they would have to kill the horse but it eventually got back into the fight. A matador also got knocked down (which I think is very rare).
A fight basically works like this:
- The bull entries the ring and runs at the 6 or so bullfighters present (they keep hiding but are there to wear down the bull)
- Horsemen enter the arena and eventually stab the bull badly (heaps of blood).
- The bull keeps running at the horse however the horse is protected and can’t see the bull.
- Bullfighters then stab the bull with these flexible sticks (about 6-8 times)
- The Matador then plays with the bull, first using a minor sword to cut the bull and later a large sword for the so called fatal blow.
- After the fatal blow the other bullfighters surround the bull until it falls, at this time on of the bullfights uses a knife to stab the bull in the head and finally kill the bull.
- Horses are bought out to drag the fallen bull by the horns out of the arena.
It is brutal and the future of this sport must be in question. I suppose tourists like me coming to watch doesn’t help.
One bull survived being killed in the arena; it was already falling down before the Matador came out so they took it from the arena (probably to be killed). It is really graphic; at one point I almost got blood on me. It’s the closet we have to the old gladiator days from 2 centuries ago.
Having seen it I can now judge it and it’s one thing to kill to eat another to kill for sport, in the end I’d support a more to end this sport. Having seen it live I have a must better understanding of how brutal and painful to the animal this sport is.