The end of bullfighting in Spain ?

On the 18th of December the catalan parliament had the first round of votes upon the abolition of the corridas. In this same discussion, the Fiesta Brava or Spanish National  celebration is at stake, as it enjoys a festival of bullfights. This is clearly an attempt made by nationalists (or regionalists) to draw an offence to the Spanish identity. Although the sake of the bulls is pointed out as the main concern, the discussion does not include in any way other cruel practices inflicted on animals, such as hunting or fishing, the fur industry, cow and chicken farming, …

Although I do agree the corridas are somewhat violent it is part of the history, traditions and culture of Spain, including Cataluna. In this regard, how can one deny its identity as such? Back in the days, Barcelona had three bullfight arenas and no other city in Spain ever topped that, no wonder it was called “la capital del toreo” (capital of the corridas).

Without the corridas Catalans will not be less Spanish (or Catalans for that matter), but is this sacrifice worth it? While public opinion seems outraged, I’m pretty confident we’ll be hearing a lot more about it.The parliament’s final decision will however take place in May.

Here is a video from El Mundo, with 2 minutes by Pedro J. Ramirez you’ll get a good grasp on the subject (in Spanish)…


When coming to Spain…

Valencia: Let’s wait and see…

by Isaure Cointreau

Leaving Spain permanently in a couple of days, swapping countries with England, I felt like I still had one destination to acknowledge. Last time I had a good paella I was in Palma de Mallorca and since then I always said I would go to Valencia for a traditional one. A few months later I still hadn’t gone and the countdown of my stay was ticking.

When my internship came to an end I still had one week to go until my final leave. As a friend came to visit me to enjoy the southern sun, I decided to have a little trip. How could one say no to the perspective of a beach holiday? The tickets booked we were off to Valencia.

Only a four hour ride, the bus from Madrid brought us to the city, and only a 15 minutes walk from where we were staying. I would recommend it to anyone as for the price of the traditional Hostel, where you share a room with 8 other backpackers like you, the room is yours in a clean and comfy space. Basically the El Cid Hostal is a hotel in disguise.

El barrio del Carmen that surrounds it is the historical part of the town and as far as I am concerned the only part worth a look. Between Plaza de la Reina and  plaza de la virgen and Plaza de los Toros and the Market place you will encounter lovely sights full of colors, history and charm. The Churches are outnumbered and among these buildings you’ll also find imposing towers which once upon a time stood proudly as the city gates.

In these little streets where you can easily loose you way you can find multiple museums such as the IVAM, which I would recommend for its exhibit on Julio Gonzalez, and cultural foundations, such as the Octubre centre, though you should be aware that other than promoting contemporary culture and art it also promotes valenciano, therefore don’t expect a word in Spanish!

However let’s not forget that this district is also a great place to hang out and have a drink or dinner. Walking around you’ll easily find a place that’s suits your mood and envy, though I really enjoyed the night scene around Calle Caballeros and the Gelateria on the Plaza de la Reina. The Oreo ice-cream is heaven!

Outside this area you’ll see the least expected, especially when its your first time in Valencia. Crossing a bridge where instead of a river you’ll find a huge garden, modernity catches up with the charms of the old town. Feeling as if you were in Mexico city where tall buildings have been constructed massively to catch up with the economic boom of the country, Valencia becomes ugly. However in a weird way down this green gardeny river the Opera and the science museum appear as elegant modern archetypes of futurism. At their sight I felt as if I was in the “Fifth Element” movie sets.

Taking the bus 19 to go to the Beach you’ll pass by small little fishermen’s villas and out of nowhere the Formula 1 circuit stands upfront, setting foot in the sea imposing and ugly to anyone’s view.  It was a disappointment though once you are far enough, the beach feels like paradise. The sand is white and soft, the water is clear and warm, and the sun makes your skin glow. A great place for a good sun tan, however it feels a little empty. Along the beach you’ll find little restaurants to have a nice lunch though everything is so small and the beach is so vast there is hardly enough service and variety to suit all tastes. Every thing is low key and I was shocked to see that the potential of this place was left out.

My thoughts on the subject, that are confirmed by the work that is being done nowadays in the city, constructing, refurbishing and repaving the town, is that in 10 years if I come back I bet it’ll feel like being in Cancún.

Tapas at home whenever & wherever

by Isaure Cointreau

The other day while I was having an exhausting walk around the town my stomach was aching for food so I stopped c/ Bailen at the Taberneria. This little place serves the best tapas I have ever tasted. Not of a flamboyant style, hip or even trendy it is just a simple bar where one can feel at home. The theme of the decoration recalls rural Spain and while engorging our fresh glasses of water, the meal arrived on our table.

The barman had freshly made our tostas and with the empanadas at hand we placed our meal on the barrel where we were having lunch. Tiles and candlesticks hanging on the wall, accompanied with a guitar and a wooden chariot’s wheel, we felt at ease and regained strength with what was served.  Bread, brie and Salmon, Jamon and onion jam, or marinated sweet pepper and goat cheese, every combination was yummier than the other.

To this fooding delight we talked about how great it would be to be able to make these and serve them for a dinner party. It goes perfectly with red wine, it looks great and seems fairly easy to make. But is it really? This would be the next challenge.

Where to start? Before leaving I asked the chef to give us some recipes tricks or advices on the Tapas making process, just to get started. Checking onto the web gazpacho and the local cheese cake seemed quite a thrill. The aim: making a whole Spanish dinner for a Retiro picnic on Saturday. I’ll bring the food, they’ll bring the wine, desert and other details.

First stop: Supermarket. Sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olive, oil, pepper, oregano, fresh bread, cheese, what could I be forgetting if it weren’t for the ham?

When in the kitchen with the groceries at hand, the recipes were on the table while a bowl and wooden spoon were waiting for instructions. Let the adventure begin.

Let’s start with the empanadas. Tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, it’s all about the chopping and into the pan with oil, herbs and salt. My personal trick is to add a little water to prevent having to put more oil. Who would want to eat a billion calories when unnecessary? Then it is on to the bird. Chicken fillets on the working panel it is again chop chop chop into small pieces to make them turn pink to white until some bits are a little browner when cooking. When all of this is ready then the fun part begins. Having bought pie dough (don’t tell anyone) the only thing left is to cut it in rectangular shapes and fill a half with the chicken and veggies. When folded you can put it in the oven and it’ll be ready in about a half hour . Strike 1: Achieved

So the pies are made what’s next? The tortilla is a Spanish must as it is present in every bar and is in every typical Iberic menu. Easy to make, my motivation couldn’t be any more eager to try to make it. Bowl at hand, 5 eggs will suffice. When battered all together with a little salt and a cloud of milk, let’s pass on to potatoes. Cutting them into square shapes you’ll have to fry them until they are tender in olive oil with a chopped garlic and onion. When all is ready let the potatoes swim in the bowl so they would gain a coat of egg when back into the pan. Try to dispose them evenly to cover the whole base. Add the eggs and when the mixture is half set use a plate to invert the process and let the uncooked side of the omelet onto the skillet. Leave it again 5 minutes and take it out of the fire when nicely thick and juicy. Strike 2: Excellent

How about tostas now? Living in Spain I have kept in mind the good combinations however although I tried pretty much everything there is an unlimited mixture of ingredients that you can put on your bread, surprising you more than once. The main element is the bread as in of any kind though I would suggest not too thick and large enough to have a few bites on it. Then before dressing it you’ll have to put a base like a natural tomato sauce. Then smoked salmon with brie, Serrano Ham with onion jam, marinated sweet peppers with melted mozzarella cheese and herbs, morcilla, possibilities are endless with the tostas. Just don’t forget to put in the oven for a few minutes as you would want them a little grilled. Strike 3: Looks good!

Arriving at the park with these goodies in my bag, I felt like the little red Robin Hood though the only thing that was going to be eaten was what was inside my basket. In a little private area where no one goes by, my friends had laid out a large cloth with candles every where and about and as the day was setting on Madrid the dim light gave a pretty enchanting ambiance. The bottles of wine in the middle, glasses and screw bottle not far away, a salad bowl was awaiting company, the tapas. The evening went by too fast and at the stroke of twelve we had to leave in a merry mood with the sound of the guitar playing furiously while walking through the gates as the park would close. What a delightful evening!

However why did I even bother? Other than the pleasure of sharing with others your experiences, such as this one was to me,  it’s always nice to bring a part of Spain with you when you are far away. I felt that if I could make a Spanish meal, its warmth would catch up with any kind of mood, as it always brings the best of people. Leaving Spain pretty soon I could then always bring a piece of sunshine on my table.

Anni B SWeet

by Isaure Cointreau

While listening to Anni b Sweet’s new album “Start Restart Undo” I remembered the face of my roommate when I told her I had bought the CD. Overthrown by excitement I had to give her the music right away. A few weeks earlier in Casa de Campo there was a festival and while heading back we heard some delightful folk-Indy music. Stroke by the crystalline voice of the singer we stayed to listen to the band and in the end asked around to know the name of the performers.  This counts as strike number one.

Strike number two I guess would be: Myspace. Listening to the tunes displayed on the website along with a little Youtube viewing, the talent of the group was undeniable. Talking with others about it, they couldn’t agree more. This leads to strike three where the Casa Encendida was hosting a concert by Anni b Sweet. The room was far from being empty although it was an odd hour to have a performance. At noon the musicians were all on stage and the crowd was thrilled by the soft rhythms of the band. However, although they do form a great group where there is an obvious complicity in the jokes and bright smiles they share during the show, Ana Lopez and her angelic voice stand out.

After the concert, we had a little chat and the young women’s strong charisma and ambition only adds to the addiction she inspires in her music. I can tell she is a talent to watch as she appears to have a very promising future. Her style appears as a mix of Folk, Indy and Pop, and relates to artists such as Bob Dylan, Cat Power, Feist and Kate Bush. The singer is also the writer of the album’s songs and through topics related to love, death, the past and life, she asks questions and shares her feelings about them. Through innocent, sincere and sometimes melancholic tunes, the rhythm will however stick to your head for a while. Apathy is what it doesn’t inspire the listener and seeing the public clapping their hands, moving their heads and toes at the sound of the music, there can be no doubt of their appreciation.

Ana came from Malaga to Madrid to look for a band a little less than two years ago. As the encounter of a group was found difficult and unsuccessful for a time she then decided to learn to play the guitar, and after a year or so started to master it. After a while things all came together. She started writing her songs, and in Brian Hunt and German San Martin found two musicians she would work with on the album.

On the outcome of the songs, one detail can catch someone’s attention when knowing that the writer’s and performer’s mother tong is Spanish. As the English accent of the singer is undoubtedly the best I’ve heard from all her compatriots, and because only one out of twelve songs is in Spanish I figured there was a catch. Apparently young Ana Lopez is fluent in both languages as she was brought up in a bilingual high-school in southern Spain. Although she says she needs a little conversation practice, she has no problem working in a different language than her own. Therefore this adds to the prospect of a  potential exportation of her music a great deal of credibility.

These days she travels all around Spain to promote “Start Restart Undo”. Though the disc is officially launched the 19th of September, it is already out in any CD store. However I had to ask: “How about Europe?” Although it is not on the menu for the moment, she would definitely love the idea of having a multinational public. Let me be a little critical now, Spain is a little selfish as it keeps all its artists for itself. Therefore I say no, music and art should be shared, and Anni b Sweet has most definitely a wide range of fans waiting for her. She has the talent, the style and the look for it. I can already see these young girls imitating their idol’s brunette fringe and retro style. With time, who knows?

A perfect getaway…

by Isaure Cointreau

The other day when I woke up to go to work, I felt ill. Not that I was sick or anything I just didn’t want to wonder the streets of the city, not because it was Madrid, just because it was summer and there was too many people in the metro. As usual I got up, had breakfast and took a shower. While I was under the water, my thoughts were gathered upon one question: Why not take a day off and leave the city? After a little debate between my conscience and that little devil who always knows when to tempt me, I finally agreed with the plan. What the hack, you only live once and a little adventure never hurts.

Going back to my room, I took a travel book about Spain and opened it on the community of Madrid spots. There was Avila, Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, Cercedilla but I already had visited all of those must see. However, a photo caught my eye and beneath it was the name of the village it illustrated:  Buitrago de Lozoya. It is a little town up north of the Capital, in the heart of the Sierra Norte. It was two hours by bus and as the views of the photo looked breathtaking, I imagined it would be exactly what I was looking for. A breath of fresh air in a picturesque little village lost up in the mountains. I was off to go, and my roommate came along as she was having the same longing for a return to the country-side.

The bus 191 leaves from the Plaza de Castilla station every hour, and Buitrago is the last stop. Feel free to have a good sleep during the trip though you might want to wake up towards the last half hour as the sights are worth a look. Therefore after a coffee break at a terraza, we took our ride and left the city with a feel of freedom rushing in our veins. According to the travel guide, the village is located on a river bank by the sierra de Guadaramma.  It enjoys a chiasmic encounter of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures. This historical heritage still shows in the architecture of the town as the city walls are still up, flashing out the Mudejar style.

On the road we were accompanied by the oddest looking people. What can I say; it was a sight to be seen, just for a good laugh anyways. After leaving the bus we were on to the main street walking to the city hall. The village seemed empty, though the sunlight and the violent breeze were making up for the soul of the town as if its history and heritage had made time stop, impregnating every building, tree or cat.

In the basement of the Ayuntamento is a little Picasso Museum, and it was our first stop. I would agree this is an unusual place for a museum for that level of an artist; however I enjoyed the fact that it was an unexpected, rich and very private exhibitit. The collection was donated by Eugenio Arias, former barber of the illustrious Pablo. Friends more than anything, the painter honored their friendship by many gifts from his work, and leaving to him kind words and smart sketches in special book editions. You’ll get to see a side to Picasso that isn’t well laid out elsewhere, drawing before your eyes a more intimate understanding of the artist’s vision, style and life.

On our way out we headed towards the gothic style Church, of Santa Maria del Castillo. As the roofs were burned down at the beginning of the 19th century one would assume there isn’t much to see, though this awful prejudice shouldn’t misguide you. The façade remains as beautiful as ever, and everything has been carefully restored inside. In the silence of the sacred church you’ll find some helpful notes on the history of Buitrago and its early cosmopolitism.  After a while we stepped out to check on the remains of the Castle de los Mendoza, and then the city walls, which are the star stops of the visit.

Feeling as if we were on another time frame, the view and surroundings made us dream eyes wide open. Our little walk from the city gates, from the Albarrana tower, to the remains of the Arrabal Bridge made our day. This place is perfect for a day getaway, as the horizon above the 800m Arabic style walls gives out the best overview of the mountain’ s flora. The Lozoya River that surrounds it adds the right touch of charm and beauty that make you wonder why you live in the city. After this exciting walk the right thing to do is to sit back in you chair, with a “café con leche” on the table, at the local tavern of the main plaza. To be sure, after a day like that we could only take the latest bus ride, as the calm pace of the country side with its light rhythm of natural silence can not be more of a delight.

Wine tasting with croissant on the side at the Mercado San Miguel

by Isaure Cointreau

The 13th of May the San Miguel market reopened its doors to the public. After years of refurbishing it has become a gourmet center where gastronomy it top notch. What a fantastic place, it was worth the wait. Not only is it a market but it combines as well the function of a bar and tavern, though all in style.

The Iron architecture of the place make you think of Charlie Chaplin and its Modern Times, however through this wink to an industrial era it apparently was designed as inspired by Les Halles de Paris. Although it relates to the French 1900 market’s style it was revisited as to suit the southern culture and rhythm.

The ceramics that can be found all around the ceiling recall the precious Sevillan azulejos and the variety of products on offer present only the best of Spain. Because the Calor is part of the culture, the fans and water sprays have not been forgotten and that for the very pleasure of its customers. The composition of the building has been well thought through as to prevent from the heat to invade the market, that’ll explain the wide glass composition. Although it does underline the apparent refurbishing of the place the crystalline walls actually add to its charms a little modernity. Therefore like an oasis in the Madrilenian summer everything has been put together to prevent you from melting while shopping or enjoying your wine and tapas.

Have your pick there is everything one would wish for such as oysters, fish, sweets, bread and wine. Everything looks delicious and ready to go. It however has nothing to do with your local Dia as your wallet would say, though you’ll find there wonders. Bringing to you the sea side gustative pleasures and as many kinds of Vermouth you would ever dream of, let’s say it is a little piece of paradise for any mouth to fill. As much variety of cheese a British could ever dream of, as many fantastic breads and pastries that would make any Frenchmen jealous, everything is brought to you on a silver platter.

A few days ago I wanted to try it myself with a group of friends. The center of the market has been arranged as a sitting area, with tables and tall stools, where people can enjoy their drink until midnight. Having a seat we were amazed how the place had chic written all over it. Every architectural and design detail is a pleasure to the eye, and the people all well dressed with poise and smiles give to the market a very soothing ambiance. However be prepared to sip slowly your wine as it can get pricy.

At midnight a bell will ring and a voice will notify you of the closing doors, though no one will actually push you out right away. Hanging out a little longer, we witnessed the cleaning up and the closing of the little stands. At some point, the venders and the waiters were moving from one shop to the other as if bearing gifts. They in fact had put away on a tray some leftovers and were sharing them with the others.

While we were about to leave, the bakery had put a selection of croissants and brioches on the winery stand. Our eyes saw them gleaming in the light and while people were hanging out with the shopkeeper, we stopped by. Chatting a little bit with the group, we found out that they were all good friends and that the exchange of Oysters, sweets and pastries happened often has it would otherwise be wasted, thrown in the trash. Wouldn’t it be terrible to see such delicious things not appreciated by anyone? Seeing that our stomachs were speaking for themselves through our passive leering at the tray, they offered us to take whatever we wanted. Grateful and thrilled to see our wish fulfilled, we left only a half hour later. We were the last customers and even the doors didn’t want to let us out, was that a sign? However we left then and plan to come back pretty soon.

On a vintage stroll down Malasana

by Isaure Cointreau

It’s getting hot in here and laziness is part of the daily routine as the siesta becomes a must. After a light lunch, eyes come closing as the hot air of the southern weather imposes its heavy weight on our energy. After the necessary nap, the afternoon stands open armed to fulfill one’s urge to move from the living-room sofa.

Next step would be showering and changing into something lighter than jeans and shirt. However when the closet imposes itself with jumpers and winter clothing what can one do? Summer is here for sure but for those who are still not armed to face the heat, where clothing would be ideally an accessory; a dresser’s reorganization is unavoidable.

Luckily sales are on Spain-wide in little over a week. However if the idea of fighting over a shirt in a crowded shop where people don’t mind stepping on your foot to get what they want, you might want to rethink that. So what’s next? What is the other option that would include cool stuff for an attractive price? If you have heard about vintage shopping then you know what I mean as Madrid is full of these second hand shops.

Heading towards Malasana, a few euros in the pocket, the lookout for new-old stuff is on the go. Down the Corredera Alta de San Pablo,Retro City appears as a cave of wonders. Of course one should be prepared to get their hands dirty as the amount of boots, vests, dresses and various accessories are outnumbered. Expect to spend at least a half hour to find something, but to be sure, you’ll leave the shop with Doc Martins and an exotic jump-suit or a leopard printed scarf, jean shorts and an Austrian mountain hat. Prices are deliciously reasonable and therefore style is not much of a luxury. Although accessorizing can make anything look like a million dollars, one still has to count on their basic tees, though that’ll be the job of any Gap or H&M.

A little further down El Barco, the Corachan y Delgado shop offers a wide range of 20’s to 80’s clothing. Walking in the shop feels a little like entering an exhibit on XIXth Century trends. However, though it’s not on the cheap side, “haute couture” stands before your eyes and in good condition, so have a look around to see if you can find something that’ll suit your taste. The owners on the other hand will gladly help you as they have the eye to understand what could appeal to you.

However for those who prefer something a little more retro-like, linked to a very cool and soothing ambiance, C/Velarde’s Magpie-Vintage might suit them best. In a charming little shop with very little furniture, shoes, hats and bags from all age and condition are at hand. Although most of the clothes exposed are way too much of a high maintenance look, you could be surprised by a few finds. However don’t forget to check out the 5 to 10 Euro basket as vests and amusing t-shirts may be just waiting for you.

To continue on the vintage stroll, C/Pez is a keeper. Holala opens its doors to all eccentric style lovers. Although some dresses seem to have been designed for an Almodovar movie, some jewelry, shoes and sun-glasses can be a catch. Though pricy for the most part, such as the bags and costumes, it is always great fun to have a look around. But who knows what can come of it? Maybe it is just what you have been looking for.

Therefore on a hot afternoon when shopping is an option to avoid the crowd of the busy center and eventually replenish your wardrobe of nice summery kinky stuff, Malasana is the place to go.

Douglas Aguiar: Brazil from him to you

by Isaure Cointreau

The first time I met Douglas it was at a little Moroccan style bar on Calle Colereros. I was just looking forward to have the best mojitos in Madrid, though that night there was a concert and I ended up having the best of times. With his guitar, Brazilian accent, suave and energetic songs, one would define his style as “world music”. However it’s much more than that, mixing popular themes and modern rhythms, Douglas Aguiar has a real talent to transmit to his listeners a southing and thrilling vibe.

Since then I bought his CD, went to a couple of his other concerts, had a few charlas and eventually he became a friend. I could say I’m somewhat of a fan, though I believe that all the people that have been able to be acquainted with his music have become so as well.

The Brazilian musician has been living in Spain for almost ten years now, and although he will never forget where he’s from, going back and forth at least twice a year, he doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. As the guitarist’s first motivation for coming to the Iberian soil was his high interest in the flamenco style, it did not stop at that. Madrid, as it does for most of those who inhabit it, grew on him and now embodies his first years into adulthood. Starting a new life, making new friends and having his first career experiences, Madrid became part of him.

In 2007, mixing the different universes he had experienced, the project of launching an album succeeded.  Produced in Sao Paolo, the CD is the result of a mix between Spanish and Brazilian culture. As a result his work is an overall delightful warm fusion Brazilian “root music”. On the twelve different compositions, eight are in Portuguese and the other four in Spanish. These are not the only tokens of variety one would find as the different rhythms and climates go from soft to more upbeat, and this all for the very pleasure of its listener.

The album goes by “Boca a boca”, and seems to be referring to multiple meanings the intelligent lyrics keep on illustrating.  Based on a double metaphor, two concepts are being winked at. La boca as in “the mouth” is referred to as a communicative instrument and symbol of desire. As it appears the artist seems to take at heart the manipulation of rhetoric and globalization led by the hand of mass media. However, although “Boca a Boca” has a language of its own, it invites the public to interpret the songs as they please.

Although Spain is now his main musical stage the artist plans to travel throughout Europe. He has already performed in Toulouse for a while, and in October, Paris seems to be his next destination. So we might see more of this musician, singer and composer in the future and around the world.  Until then, I would encourage anyone to log on to his myspace to check out his talent and next performances.

The art of bullfighting

by Isaure Cointreau

Living in Spain one cannot avoid the famous corridas. Although there are debates arguing whether it is a barbaric tradition or a fantastic folkloric art, it is either way a breathtaking experience. During my time on the Spanish soil I have witnessed several executions of bulls, some more spectacular than others. Between the novillados, the matadors and the rejoneadores the picture is well set to suit all tastes.  For my part I have a preference, what’s yours?

Starting with the beginners, although the young bullfighters can appear clumsy and make us feel ill for the poor animal, some could surprise you. Don’t miss on the novilladas, you might see the first steps of a great matador! On the other hand, the more experienced bullfighters execute their labor with far more grace and confidence. The defying attitude towards the bull is part of the game and while they dance with their “capote de brega” , they enhance the thrills and excitement of the show.

However if you want a little bit more extravaganza, beauty and intense emotions, try the ones where horses are part of the arena. These are called the rejoneos and although the stakes are very different in the art of bullfighting it is, as far I’m concerned the most enjoyable.

On Sunday 6th of June, Andy Cartagena overthrew its public with a tremendous performance. The alchemy between the horse and its rider were evident and it felt as if they were one. Through audacious twirls while the bull was chasing the torero’s ride, the tease and remarkable execution, the show was unbelievable. Setting the bullring on fire, Cartagena took the high road, leaving the arena through the main entrance, acclaimed like a hero and carried by its public. No wonder two ears were granted to him.

Although the trills of the corrida are undeniable, more agreeable to some than others, it is often forgotten that it is not just a sport but a complex game between life and death dictated by precise rules. The last few weeks have been a sheer example of the dangers of the arena and the talent of Israel Lancho did not prevent him from a tragic fate. While the bull was waiting for the last coup it refused its death sentence and surprised the matador with its horns. Let this be a lesson for all as to never let down our guard when facing unreliable circumstances.

Although to foreigners this game seems to be pretty much out there, there is much more to it than what meets the eye. Skills, precision and courage are the three elements a matador requires throughout his training as they are eventually the only resources he will rely on during the fights. On the other hand, the cape seems to be another reliable fact for his safety. Contradicting the legend where the bull would be attracted to red, it is in fact to moving objects that the animal is encouraged to charge.

Alongside the whole rhythm of the events of the corrida, such as the venue of the picadors and bandilleros, the bullfighter comes last but with the tragic duty of finishing off the bull. Armed with a smaller cape, making his presence more evident to the beast, and a long sword, his role is to aim for the shoulder blades of the black bull. This is where bullfighting can be considered as an art. While the matador performs a breathtaking dance, in order to tire the wounded animal, the risks are nevertheless hazardous. This beautiful show ends when the sword sinks in the black neck. The beast then surrenders falling on his knees, the blood silently dripping on the sand. Then according to the performance the fighter would be granted either the public’s applause or a prize, such as an ear or two of the sacrificed toro.

So what will it be, tradition or SPA? I am far from being a vegetarian but I do fear the exhibition of blood, however I cannot be disgusted in any way by the sunlight reflected on the red stained back of a bull. The graceful movements of the cape, the shining costumes, the runningbanderilleros and the ringing applause of the public, how could one be sick of such enthusiasm? If Matisse once said that art is the realization of impressions, isn’t bullfighting the art of dancing with death, creating for the viewers the sensational thrills of fear and amazement?

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