I recently visited Madrid and got to see an original Spanish bullfight. I had no idea what to expect other than what I had seen on television. A matador trying to entice a bull towards him while placing sticks in its back. We arrived at Madrid’s Plaza de Toros one Sunday afternoon and purchased seats in Tendido bajo 9, Section C-D, row 4 seats 36 and 37; primo seats at €67.50 each. (There are really no bad seats in the house but we got seats in the shade [sombra] vs. the sun [sol]). It is important to note however, that most of the action does occur in the shade.
The fight began with each of the three professional matadors parading in on their horses and circling around the ring. Then each one was given an opportunity to fight the bull twice for about 20 minutes each. With the event lasting about two hours and six bulls being killed, we got to experience the gore.
As each matador rode by the bull on their horse, they stuck brightly colored spears into the bull until it died. ¡Ole! My partner and I cheered for the bull as it fought back. If the bull was killed quickly, then the matador could win either one ear; both ears; and both ears and the tail. That day two matadors won: one with one ear (second place) and the other matador (first place) won two ears. It is important to note that the tail is considered a delicacy in Spain.
As I was sitting there watching as the bull was retreating and blood was gushing out its nose, I thought that an animals’ rights group in America would be appalled at such a sight. It was truly sad to see an animal die that way. After the bull died a set of three mules with harnesses dragged the dead carcass out of the ring. If the fight is well received by the crowd they will wave white handkerchiefs meaning “Victory,” and that the matador should get the bull’s ear or tail. ¡Ole!
Tickets for Bullfighting in Madrid by Phyllis Wilson