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Bullfighting Experience, A Memorable Day In My Life

by Holiday Yellowpages
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Photo © iseeshesaid

Love it or leave it, the Corrida de Torros” (bullfight) remains one of the most popular cultural experiences for the Spanish people and it was always my dream to attend a bullfight. I never got to visit the bull runs like the ones in Pamplona but that is most definitely on my next trip’s itinerary.

Las Ventas

My tour guide was simply wonderful. I had just been informed by a friend of mine, a Madrileno (Madrid resident), that tickets to bullfights are usually sold out many months in advance. I had lost all hope until I mentioned it to the travel company that was handling our itinerary and excursions. The guide gave me a choice between different ticket categories for seats in one of the biggest and most famous bullfighting rings in Spain, the Las Ventas. I got a gold ticket that was a 4th row seat costing about €90 for the 3 hour show. The view and acoustics were spectacular. The stadium atmosphere was superbowl-exciting. Make sure you get there early as they lock people out and only let them in between fights, never during. But if you do arrive late, there are big TV screens where you can watch all the action. Here is a play by play of how it all went down.

Corrida de Torros

The first thing that grabs the visitor’s attention is all the costumes by the crowd and the “players”. Everything is so colorful in true Spanish style. The trumpet noise and heavy drumming adds to the fervent excitement and I could feel my mood soar. The bullfight is a duel between 6 huge and fearsome bulls against three teams consisting of a matador and three assistants. Each matador will deliver the final cut on 2 bulls. The whole show begins with some elaborate ceremony when the officials hand over the keys to the bull pen.

Tercio de Varas

This first phase started with loud trumpeting and drumming that got the crowd into frenzy. A team of participants walked out in their fancy gold-embroidered torero costumes, flags, and swords to wave to the anticipating crowds. The people here know the stars much like we are familiar with our football celebrities. A big bull was released into the arena running madly around searching for targets. Several team members, known as toreros or banderilleros were there waiting to anger it even more as they ran around and ducked behind the wooden walls just like rodeo guys do. The objective is to get the bull worked up and also allow the matador to watch for patterns and weaknesses in the bull’s attacks.

Next, two team members known as picadors get into the arena on horses. The horses are blindfolded and have some cushions on their bodies. The bulls ram into the horses as the picadors cut into the necks of the charging bulls using varas. This weakens the bull getting him ready for the next stage.

Tercio de Banderillas

In this phase, the banderilleros have to keep agitating the bull while at the same time they have to stick some sharp-ended flags (banderillas) onto the bull’s shoulders. This leads to the loss of strength and exhaustion for the bull.

Tercio de Muerte

This is the climax part and I could feel the excitement in the air. There were screams from excited fans as the matador gallantly strolled in with his sword and red cap. The sword was about 3 feet long and every time the matador used it you could hear the crowds shout “jole”. The band picks up the beat to a crescendo as the matador makes some fancy movements to attract the bulls attention…and its wrath too. In the six bullfights on this day, the matador made a final clean cut that felled the bull. This is usually taken as a sign of high skill and a matador who makes too many attempts typically leaves the arena disgraced. The finale was especially captivating, with the matador and the bull in a face to face standoff a few feet apart and the whole arena in a highly expectant pin-drop silence. The matador then moves and the bull charges, the matador plunges and the bull falls all seemingly in one stroke.


There has been lots of talk even in Spain about animal cruelty and the practice of bullfighting has even been outlawed in some regions in Spain. The youth especially are increasingly disregarding the tradition but it continues to gather a fan base that consists of locals and tourists.

At last

If you can handle the sight of blood, there is no sport as ecstatic as watching a bullfight. The action in the arena is mesmerizing. The crowds are fascinating, and the mood is exhilarating. I can’t wait for the next trip, this time I hope to witness the arena bull fight and the street bull running.

Author Bio: I am Rao a travel freak, so far I have visited 59 countries from Asia to Eurpoe. I really like the experiences, how different people think differently, how they live their life, their cultures, food habits and everything.

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