April Fool’s Day

We started with a very slow morning. Scott and I were still fighting jet lag while Robin was recovering from weeks of long working hours at the office.  Sadly, we discovered the coffee maker carafe was cracked which slowed our morning down even more. We eventually made it out of the flat to go to the Reina Sofia museum, Madrid’s modern art museum, about a 15 minute walk.

The museum is in a huge building with glass elevators — not my favourite thing.
The music conservatory faces the same square.

Miro mobile in the courtyard.

Scott looking at rocks.

Not many pigeons in the square.

The museum was free on Sunday but closed early.  We looked at the early 20th century collection before the museum closed.  We then went wandering for a place for lunch.  Madrid is very hilly in places.


Lunch at Arroceria Gala:

Tapas of squid, prawns, jambon, eggplant, salad and bread. And cervecas (beer). The waitress talked us into ordering too much food.

We went back to the flat for a break then ventured to the metro to go to Las Ventas, the bull fighting stadium in east Madrid.


The view from our seats before the spectacle starts.


Then the show begins.

So what happens during a bullfight?:
First, the bull is let into the ring. Then, the top bullfighter called the Matador, watches his chief assistant wave a bright yellow and magenta (or pink) cape in front of the bull to make it charge. He watches this in order to determine the bull’s qualities and mood, before taking over himself.

Then a trumpet is sounded and several fighters called Picadores, lancers on horse back, weaken the bull by placing spears into it. The poor horses look to me to be the victims in this; some were lifted off their feet by the bull’s horns. Hopefully, the padding around them was enough to prevent injury.  Then three banderilleros run at the bull and insert spiked wooden sticks, banderillas, in the bull’s neck. This takes around 10 minutes. By this point, the bull is seriously weakened.

Another trumpet is sounded and the Matador now removes his black winged hat and dedicates the death of the bull to the president or the crowd before beginning his faena.

The faena consists of a running at the Matador carrying a muleta, a piece of thick crimson cloth draped over a short stick and draped over the espada, the killing sword. Usually the muleta, in left or right hand, is first held in front of the matador to make the bull charge and is then swung across and away from the matador’s body (hopefully) taking the bull with it.

The matador stands some ten feet from the bull, keeping the bull fixated on the muleta and aims the espada between the shoulder blades. The matador attacks pushing the espada over the horns and deep between the shoulder blades. If the sword goes in to the hilt it is an estocada but if it hits bone it is a pinchazo or media-estocada. An estocada usually results in the bull dropping immediately to its knees and dying, but if the bull fails to die, the matador may take the descabello (a sword with a short cross piece at the end) which he stabs into the bull’s neck severing the spinal cord. The fight is over.

Six bulls are killed. We watched for about two hours. I did not take any photos of the bull getting killed.
Would I go again? No. But I’m glad for the experience because now I think Hemingway was delusional to think this spectacle was some essence of manhood.
We returned to our flat for a bit of champagne and birthday celebrations before going to La Barraca, a paella restaurant.
a cava to start


mixed paella


rose or rosado

One thought on “April Fool’s Day

  1. Poor bulls 😦 Matadors are putos! Once in a lifetime opportunity to see them though. And luckily Pinky didn't become Reddy even though you picked your seat by the ring… in the sun… at the fights. Haha mmm rose…And tell Dad if he brings back dog-pee-covered stones I'm shaving one of his eyebrows in his sleep.


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