Tag Archives: Las Ventas

Photo of the Week: My Spanish Torera

imageI really thought the taxi driver had finally faced his worst nightmare

imageAlas! This is not a scene at the bullring of Las Ventas or El Pueblo de Chinchon, but a photoshoot in the corner of Carrera de San Jeronimo and Calle de Sevilla

imageLet’s give it to our “torera” who played the part to a T, albeit she still struck me as comely and every inch a lady

How often do you come across a Spanish torera in the middle of a busy street of Madrid, garbed in the traditional bullfighter outfit and on a defensive stance? Not too often, right?

Luckily, I chanced on one yesterday, she with her one hand with a firm grip on a sword raised high, seemingly ready to be thrusted onto a charging bull, and the other on a bright red cape.

Obviously she wasn’t Cristina Sanchez de Pablos, and neither did I secure a ticket to a Las Ventas bullfight event. Nonetheless, our subject was an absolute charmer while she did all those poses, which I assure you was a lot (upon much prodding by a “relentless” cameraman, I supposed).

Anyway, these pictures are such a great way to start my blogging week they even had me adding a new category: Photo/s of the Week. More pics like this to come, hopefully.

Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas: Must-see in Madrid

It can’t claim to be the largest in the world, being only third to Mexico City’s Plaza del Toro and Plaza de Toro Monumental of Venezuela (first and second, respectively), but Plaza de Toros de las Ventas in Salamanca, Madrid is easily the most famous bullring stadium of them all. Many afficionados even consider it to be Madrid, Spain’s and even the world’s seat of bullfighting.

Front of Plaza de Toros, Ventas, Madrid
Front of Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, Madrid

I am indifferent to bullfighting. I’m neither for nor against it. I am aware, however, that debates on the subject are always heated ones. Many label it as a blood sport and a clear act of cruelty to animals. Many others insist that it is a beautiful form of art.

In recent times, many Latin countries, including those with a rich history of bullfighting, had ceased to play the sport. Even in Spain, notably Catalona’s Barcelona, the game has been banned. Madrid, however, insist that such a tradition must be preserved.

I have yet to see the interior of a bullring, much less watch an actual bullfight. All I have is a recollection of a 1970’s film of a popular Filipino comedian, whose character in the movie went to Spain to search for her lady love, and was mistaken by locals to be a Matador.

When told that Las Ventas (as it is affectionately called) is a must-see Madrid site, and to stand on its grounds is thrilling enough, I was convinced that a visit is in order.

Starting at Columbia Metro Station, I rode line 9 and got off at Nunez de Balboa, after which I transferred to Line 5 en route to Ventas.

Imagine my surprise as I got out of the station – Voila! The tall and mighty Plaza de Toros de las Ventas of red-brown shade stands in front of me. It is such a massive structure that I thought it truly deserves to be the home of bullfighting.

I had to step further away from the building to take a wider shot. Notice Vendas Metro Station just to the right of Plaza del Toro
I had to step farther away from the building to take a wider shot. Notice Vendas Metro Station just to the right of Plaza de Toros

It sprawls in a vast land fronting Calle de Alcala, and is surrounded by various displays of bullfighting sculptures in its grounds.

To the right-side area of the site are a few scuptures. his one is a Matador statue seemingly honoring the plaque of ...a
A Matador honoring Dr. Alexander Fleming
Premier Matador ....
Premier Matador making a proud bullfighter stance

My curiosity was immediately piqued upon seeing the edifice’s reddish-hued entirety, made bolder that day since it is set against a sordid background of gray skies. That moment, I developed a great interest in watching a bullfight, even if only a single one, for the sheer experience of it if not for the enjoyment (I hate the thought of seeing a bull possibly getting hurt).

Matodor and bull sculpture in front of the Plaza del Toros las Ventas
Matodor and bull sculpture in front of the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas

I was advised, however, to wait for the San Isidro Fiesta, which happens in the months of May and June, and so I’m looking forward to the event next year. The fiesta is when Madrid bullfighting is at its best because all the finest fighters in the country (los matadores) and the finest bulls (los toros) will see action.

I plan to tour Las Ventas in my next visit, around April perhaps; to help me learn more about the bullring stadium and gain a better understanding of bullfighting.

Matador in Action (Photo courtesy of Alfredo Miguel Romero)

I’m also excited about the coming San Isidro Fiesta, as I hope to become a spectator to a game. Will my indifference to the sport of bullfighting turn to disgust or appreciation after finally witnessing a bullfight? I will know by then.

Nearby restaurant, also along Calle de Alcala, is matador-themed Los Timbales
Get refreshments after witnessing an exciting bullfight action at matador-themed Los Timbales, just a street from Las Ventas and along Calle de Alcala

Tour of Plaza de Toros Las Ventas with Audio Guide

Schedule:
Monday to Sunday, 10AM to 5PM

Ticket Cost:
Adult: 12 euros, Child: 7 euros

How to go

1. From Puerta del Sol – Take Vodafone Sol Metro at line 2. Arrive at Ventas after 7 stations.

2. From Plaza de Castilla – Take Line 9 and alight at Nunez de Balboa. Tranfer to Line 5 and reach Ventas Metro after 2 stations.

3. From San Blas – Take Line 7 and get off at Pueblo Nuevo. Transfer to Line 5 and reach Ventas after 3 stations.

Map