Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
I had attended the annual bullfght with a few of my friends from France and Miami. We were lucky that we got tickets for six euros each! That was a steal compared to the normal ticket price of 90 to 160 euros per person. Not only was the stadium huge, it was beautifully decorated with turquoise textiles, creating a pattern along the perimeter of the stadium. The crowds had gathered by the gates, all lining up to show their tickets. The show had started as we were arriving so we had to run to the gates to make it in on time for the frst showing. In each showing of a bullfght it involves six bulls and three matadors.
This event was particularly special as the matadors were riding horses during the show. The horses along with the matador put on a fantastic performance, leaving you at the edge of your seat in anticipation. Before the show had started I could hear the crowd roaring in excitement. Each matador is graded on the performance they put on, while the bulls are considered based on size and weight.
The purpose Day with the Bulls for the fights, similar to that of ancient Greece or Rome is to test the strength of man against that of a beast and man does not always win. However, if a matador puts on an excellent performance they are rewarded with spectators throwing roses and even chickens into the ring. The judges give one or two ears or both ears and a tail as per what the crowd thought of the show. The crowd will wave their handkerchiefs and yell “ole!” to signify that the matador deserves a prize.
This incredibly traditional sport is kept alive through the spirit and bravery of those who are willing to keep it going. This experience was the most memorable of my year in Spain because it was the time I felt the most connected with the people, the culture, and the history.