14-15 August 2006: Today we wake up at 11:00am having slept for 12 hours. We got dressed and starter our wandering to the town to see the sights. Passing in front of the cathedral and Alcazar we found the Mateo Gaso road where many cafeterias are located. Unfortunately at this time none of them serves coffee. But we are lucky and we found a small cafe called Bodeca. The today’s day will include Alcazar, Plaza Espagna, Torre d’Oro and Arena to ask about tickets prices since we learnt that tomorrow bullfighting has been organized. After we finished our coffee we start our walk to Alcazar.
The palace is one of the basic sights of the town. Hopefully for us, the entrance is free since we have a student card, else it would be 7euros. It is difficult for me to write the story of the palace and its kings, since you can find it in any tourist guide, so I will try to give you my impressions. What I saw is spectacular. It not actually the best since I have seen the Alambra palace which represents the prototype for all these palaces. Alcazar palace contains many discreteness’s which confer a different and unique character although its replication. Our wandering to the palace lasted 3hours without noticing it.
Our next destination is Espagna Square. This square is next to a big park, with high trees which provide a big shadow to rest. In the middle of the square there is a small lake. At the ward there are some things like monuments, each one representing the different counties of the country. On each monument there is the map of the county, the county’s logo and perhaps a sight that exist on each county. There is an impressing building next to the square which is impressing because of its size and because it is covered by small bricks. As the guide mentions this development is one of the characteristics of the area’s architecture.
After the square we walk towards the Arena but first we pass from the Torre d’Oro, the “Golden Tower”. This tower was a Muslim observatory and a rumour says that it was once cover with gold. Further down we found Arena. We ask at the ticket office and the cheapest ticket costs 19euros/person. In the beginning we are not sure if we want to see the bullfighting since we are not sure if we can stay one more day. We thought about it and decide that since we came until here we should see bullfighting.
After we bought the tickets we move to the Cathedral to eat tapas and find out where we can see flamengo dance so as to see the differences with the one in Granada. After we had our food in one of the most known restaurants, which did not impressed me, we search the guide for a place to see flamengo dance. Some of them are closed but we found one a little further. Finally we found ourselves in the store "La Carboneria" (18 Levies Str.). Inside the place there some musicians, and one lady who danced for 3-4 times. You do not pay a ticket to get in. the decoration of the place is simple while the show last for 1- 1.5 hours. After the show we returned to the hotel by taking another route so as to see the other part of the town.
Today we woke up feeling relaxed and having reserved enough strength for the rest of the journey. After a few minutes that we woke up we found our selves rest on the hotel’s lobby drinking our coffees. I found the change to oil the motorcycle’s chains. I realized that we have to change the machine’s oils since we have done more that 5000km. Today is a bank holiday so the museums are not open. So we will visit the Cathedral which is open to the public and the Pilatos house and then we will watch the bullfighting at 20:00pm. I believe that our last visit will be the best sight.
At the Cathedral the only open room to see is the place for the liturgy and not the museum. At the museum I wanted to see the grave of Christopher’s Columbus. Anyway we saw the interior of the temple which is imposing and full in tourists.
By passing through some alleys we reached at the Pilatos mansion. The architecture of the mansion is the same as with other houses in the area. For the building of the specific mansion many workers who had worked in palaces came to help. The result is impressing but for me a little heavy since the owner combined anything that he saw in different places around Europe. It combines elements from Arabic, renaissance and roman architecture. After the Pilatos mansion we made a stop to eat tapas. While next, we visited some restaurants that we locate yesterday. There is an Arabic restaurant there that I would like to visit and enjoy its flavours. The food is tasty and we also meet the waiter who was Syrian. After our food we head to the hotel to rest until 20:00pm.
At 19:00 we found ourselves outside the gate 12 of the Arena. After 5 minutes we are in. This arena is bigger that the one in Ronda but in the same style. Our seats are in a good position and close enough to the scene. While the place started to full I had the change to see the place. There are some gates where the bulls and the horses come out. In the periphery there are places for the vet, doctors, photographers and anyone who is part of the show. Most of the viewers are tourists, locals and some old age funs of the show. At 20:00pm a lot of people have gathered and a small band started playing something and from the gate bullfighters, horsemen, and their assistants came out under the noise of applause. After they went-around the scene they took their positions.
After a while the first bull came out from the gate running. The assistants to the bullfighter provoke the bull by waving their capes to attack them. Each time the bull made an attack they avoid him well. This kept going for a while and then 2 horsemen with armour cover their bodies and their horses appear to the scene. One of them attacked the bull so as to hurt him with 2-3 hits. The bull reacts and attacks but the horse or the horseman are well protected by their armour, while the assistants call of the bull by waving their capes and then he attacks them.
What is impressing is that the horse is calm. Even though it is been attacked by the bull is calm. This maybe happens because the horse’s eyes are sealed and because it is very well trained. The bull now is tired. Then some of the assistants leave aside their capes and take some blow with a pole. They stand in front of the bull waiting his attack. With a very trick way they pin their sticks to the bull’s skin. This lasts for 3-4 times. In the end the bull is very tired and is blinding. Now the bullfighter enters to the arena while everyone else whips off. The bullfighter provokes the bull to attack him. With very precautious moves from the bullfighter the bull passes next to him and actually touching him and specking his suit wit blood. This is the spectacular of this fight; how much the bullfighter’s suit will be stained by the bull’s blood.
After a while everything ends. The bullfighter takes a sword from a guy dressed with a dress suit who happens to be the observer of the game. Then he sticks in the sword to the bull’s backbone. Then his assistants enter in the arena and surround the bull. On of his assistants gives the final bust to the bull and then he dies. The bullfighter is then deified from the viewers. After all these 4 showy horses enters the arena to take the bull out. Then the bullfighter goes-around the arena while some women throw to him their fans so as to collect them later from him.
The whole show lasts for 2.5 hours, where 3 bullfighters fight with 6 bulls. The main process is the same. There are some other events that happen such as the different show that the assistants do, the attack of a bull to a bullfighter who almost happen to be wounded and the injury of a horse. At the end of the show the emotions are mixed. Personally I was negative to view this type of show. The battle is uneven and the result already known. I have a contrary view on the specific show. I agree with the Portuguese who do not kill the bull in the end of the show, like the Ancient Cretes did. After the second and third bullfighting the things become easier…