SevillePosted: November 17, 2011
Seville, yet another elegant, almost graceful Spanish city. More than 2000 years old, the Capital of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, is said to be the quintessential Spanish city – a vibrant blend Islamic splendour and Catholic extravagance . Typically, the centerpoint of the city is the Cathedral, one of the largest in the world.
Our first encounter was with La Maestranza Bullring. We took the tour and perhaps the only way I would get to see inside a Bullring – when there is no bullfight. It’s a cruel but fascinating sport, with historical origins dating back to the 1700 hundreds, the bulls were originally killed to provide entertainment, and to feed the poor. 25 minutes and 3 capes later a Matador hopes to end the fight with one sword spear, through the back of the neck, directly into the heart to kill the bull instantly! This is the theory. In the meantime the bull, arriving straight from the farm with no previous experience of any of this, is provoked and cajoled, firstly with lances from horse back, and secondly with smaller spikes from other very annoying humans on the ground. Finally, the Matador does his work! The Bullring has a vibrant feeling and the traditions of the Bullfight are set deeply in history. The Matadors, of course, celebrities! The Seville Bullring, not the largest in Spain, hosts 40 (sold out) shows a year and sits around 12000 spectators. Doorways and gates have very specific purposes, as does the hospital and the chapel (for superstitious Matadors). The spectacle must be amazing. If a Matador pleases the crowd they crazily wave white handkerchiefs to the attention of the judge who will then decide if the Matador should be rewarded a trophy. This will entail an ear of the bull to the Matador. The highest honour to the very best Matador, 3 trophies in one fight – Two ears and the Tail!!!
We loved Seville. A beautiful, classic city to cycle around, we spent a lazy, sunny Sunday winding through narrow, cobbled streets, to encounter one of many plazas filled with orange trees and colourful Spanish tourist shops. A twist or a turn in a tucked away lane may also lead you to a major boulevard as easily as an art fair under some Jacaranda trees, or buskers blowing bubbles for children. A city full of delightful surprises.