On Monday (May 1), when a few of us from residence here got together in Nenad’s room, Daniel mentioned that there would be a bull fight the next day, but he didn’t have many details. Nenad and I decided that it was something that we needed to do at least once in Spain, so we would go regardless of price.
The next day arrived and we didn’t hear anything from Daniel or anyone about the fight. We met Q at lunch and he said that the others were in Madrid and we would meet them. We still didn’t know exactly when or where — two critical factors needed to meet someone. So to keep this story moving, Daniel, Pablo and Marco (a friend of ours from Italy) returned and we had about 3 minutes to get ready to make it to the bullfight which started at 19:00. We took the subway into Madrid and emerged at the station which is right in front of the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas. And that is when the scalpers swarmed. Apparently we were too late for the box office, and these scalpers (who by the looks of it did this for a living) were quick to “come to the rescue”. So we spent 10€ each on tickets that would have cost 4€ otherwise, but hey we were late and I had been expecting to pay 25€ anyway.
Of course, tickets normally that cheap mean the nose-bleed section — and they were — at the very top. But we could see the action, and that was the main thing. Thankfully when taking 8MP photos even distant objects can show up fairly clear and I took about 100 photos of the bull fight. The thing about Spanish bullfighting (as opposed to Latin American or other European countries) is that at the end of the fight, the bull is killed. In essence that is the entire point of the match. I wasn’t aware of this until on the way to the fight, since the bullfighting I’m more familiar with is the Latin American version where the bull isn’t killed. Personally I don’t condone the public killing of animals even if that is what they were raised for. But when in Spain. Apparently the 20,000 in attendance felt differently about that notion than I do. And while it was a necessary experience it really wasn’t terribly spectacular and I most likely won’t be going again.
Afterwards we swarmed out with the masses and into the plaza in front of the bull ring. Instead of going back into a packed subway (I’ve done that.) we strolled up the street to take in a bit of the sights of Madrid. Considering it was getting to be close to dinner time, we were starting to get hungry. Nenad had wanted to return to residence for dinner, but the rest of us, who included two people who didn’t live in residence wanted to eat somewhere in Madrid. So as we walked we eventually came across a Museo del Jamon (lit. Ham Museum). This is a restaurant/food chain in Madrid that specializes in — surprise — ham and related products. So we sat down and ordered various sandwiches — I had a bacon and cheese sandwich — along with a couple plates of patates bravas. Dinner was a pleasant affair and after we paid we wandered back out into the street. At this point it was dark out and as we continues down the street Daniel and I took a few photos of lit structures. Then we came to another plaza near the Centro Colon where a very huge Spanish flag was flying over some other exotic looking stone structures. We spent the better part of an hour wandering around taking photos of each other. After our photo taking episode we stopped for ice cream (some of us) at a Häagen-Dazs store and continued on towards the subway. We were heading for a station on the number 10 line that takes us straight to the MetroSur line (12) which is where we live.
By the time we got home it was well after midnight, but it was a good night — a very successful trip.