Toro! A Salamanca Travel Blog
(Originally Posted to the Camino Blog on 27 May 2017. )
Toro! Tonight I’m in Salamanca, it was a beautiful and ancient university city even before the Roman’s decided to visit, and stay. The Romans are long gone, but the tourists remain, and the city and its amazing architecture are even more beautiful. As I haven’t closed out my Camino Blog yet, I’m going to include this journal note within, just so it has a place to stay. Besides, I’m still in Spain and on my own little post-Camino Camino. Toro! Salamanca travel blog
Tonight I was walking the ring of the city, out and away from where the tourist and party-goers revel. I wanted to spend time away from the crowd, but found even away from the tourist zones, the Spaniards are all out and about enjoying their city. Coincidentally, because I have a place overlooking the Plaza Mayor, it means the party-goers are right outside my window. And because this is a weekend, they’re there until 0600! So I thought a jaunt around the ring boulevard around town would would offer solitude. I guessed wrong.
I came across the typical outdoor bar, cafe splayed all over the promenade zone of the major boulevard. I saw a big screen TV and thought I’d join in the fun to watch, and get a beer. It wasn’t soccer that was on display but a Bull Fight, up front and personal. The High Definition screen showed everything. I only stayed for one round – one Bull/Matador combo.
Many years back I attended a few ‘fights’, or are they called ‘matches’, in Madrid and Jerez dLF. Because of this I flatter myself into thinking I understand the ‘sport.’ I probably don’t, not even close.
This particular ‘Matador Team’ was pretty impressive, the bull, even more so. Everything went like clockwork. All the team members completed their tasks and the Matador got his glorious moment in the spotlight with all the conditions set to make a glorious killing. He threw his hat into the center of the ring and skillfully guided the bull to the center to trample on it.
I find Bull Fights to be a conflictingly fascinating undertaking. In today’s antiseptic world the daily advent of death is hidden in sterile buildings, managed by practitioners who have developed blasé terminology to mask the brutality of the finality of death. Death and dominance and pain are hidden from us, except in movies and the Bull Ring, where it is glorified. Watching a bullfight is like watching a train wreck, you can’t stand it, but you can’t pull your eyes away.
Master or Mastered?
The mastery of the young Matador over this deadly beast was sublime. Towards the end he could get the bleeding and dying animal to just about dance around him. Everything went on cue and as the young man was about to earn his bull tail with the final Coup de Gras, everything went wrong. He made the eloquent stab the first time, but it didn’t penetrate deep enough. The second time it penetrated fully, but missed the heart, by only centimeters.
The bull didn’t drop, the Matador over reached, the bull got his horn between the young man’s legs and because the neck cuts weren’t severe enough, he lifted his head and threw the boy into the air, like a rag. Then he went for the second ‘pay-back’.
Fortunately, the horns did not penetrate, but when the would be slayer hit the ground, he was out, cold.
The Bull won…. but he didn’t. I guess because the cuts were deadly enough, his moments were numbered and the decision was not made to send him off to the stud farm. After the colorful little men (six of them) carried away the unconscious matador, they cornered the victorious bull, and worked him until he bled out. He was tenacious to the end, even the short stab behind the skull still left him kicking.
Life is not Fair
I guess sometimes life is not fair. The Matador had a masterfully, domineering event.
He was on his way to fame and glory, until the missed by centimeters. Now he’s in a hospital and when he wakes, his managers may be talking to him about a new profession.
The bull, he was still standing as the Matador was carried out of the ring, but it didn’t matter.
This is why I find Bull Fighting fascinating. It’s a stark reminder that real life is not antiseptic; that one bad instant can lead to disaster and that a great performance can still lead to death. Life is not fair and there is still one country that proudly retains one of it’s old customs reminding us that we should live each day to the fullest while we can.
Salamanca is truly a beautiful city, I’m very happy I had it on the bucket list. Off to Toledo on Monday to spend more than an afternoon investigating it’s Byzantine alleyways, like I did 20 years ago. This should be fun.
Additional Links (Toro! Salamanca travel blog)
- Enjoyed this Blog, visit our Camino Travel Blog for more of the same!
- Enjoy our beautiful imagery from Spain on our Precioso Iberia Photo Gallery
- Like to Comment? Leave a note on the form below