Tag Archives: Madrid Metro

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

Thank You, and More Please

It’s 2015, and like everyone says, it’s a new year to look forward to.

But the pessimist in me feels it’s just another bleak year to get by.

Evidently, being in a new city somehow dampens my spirit, and the feeling won’t dissipate.

I’m surprised at how easy it is for me to disregard the positive things I wrote in my first post – hopefulness, great opportunities in Madrid, Spain, and the burning desire to make it here.

I must shrug off this negativity and be thankful instead.

But, what should I be thankful for? Apart from family and friends and good health, it’s hard to think of anything else. Listing a few more seems a lot of work cut out for me at this moment. Damn the New Year’s day blues.

Why should I be, in the first place?

We have to express gratitude for what we receive – to God, the Universe, or anything else we believe in. Otherwise, we can’t ask for more. I watched this film, fell in love with it, and made me a believer of the mantra – thank you, more please.

So, for this post, I made a short list of things that I am grateful for. Here goes…

1. I am totally indebted to Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Casa de Baños, Calle Bravo Murillo, at Distrito Tetuan for the free beginner Spanish class. I look forward to the succeeding Spanish courses of higher level (both of which are also for free).

(I’ll be beholden to the Universe to no end if it can make my brain work like a super sponge, and suck in everything there is to learn about the language.)

hello
Spanish Alphabet, found in the manual we use in our class

2. Our professor was not able to lecture one time, and had us watch a movie instead. And so, I must thank Profesor Francisco, mi nuevo amigo, for introducing me to Volver, an amazing film which I thought was also crazy and magical.

3. Everyone at home wanted to have a Roscon on the table as part of the New Year’s Eve meal, so I bought a small one at Carrefour Principe de Vergara, near Colombia.

Roscon and the paper crown, New Year's day in Madrid
Roscon, or Rosca de Reyes, the Kings’ Ring, and My paper crown

Lady luck must be on my side because my first slice had the toy, an owl figurine, in it. The toy is a representation of Baby Jesus, and the one who chances upon it becomes blessed, and lucky for the next whole year(?).

Roscon gift for me
The white toy owl means blessings and luck has been bestowed on me by the Three Kings. The bean means that I have to buy the Roscon for next year

The next slice had me finding another toy, this time, a plastic bean or seed (either a lima or fava). A friend teases me, says getting the bean means I’ll be the one to buy next year’s Roscon. Being told of this just put a smile on my face, for I am only too happy to oblige.

Thanks to Carrefour’s Roscon for blessing me and making me king for the day.

4. I would gladly walk through this…

Deserted Madrid metro passageway and turnstile area passageway made possible because it's December 24th, Christmas Eve.
Empty Madrid metro passageway and turnstile area despite (or rather because of) the holiday, December 24th, Christmas Eve.

than be crushed in this..

Long, heavy passenger lines to Manila's Metro Rail Transit System. A daily occurence. Photo source: wheninmanila.com and Mark Balmores of Manila Bulletin
Long, heavy passenger lines to Manila’s Metro Rail Transit System, a daily occurence.
Photo source: Thanks to When in Manila and Mark Balmores of Manila Bulletin

Actually, I only have good words for Manila MRT for providing service at its best, and accommodating riders many times its capacity. Kudos!

Just seeing these photos make me appreciate Madrid Metro all the more for the convenience of travel and commuting.

When I finally get my abono (which allows holders unlimited train ride around the city for a month, all for 52 euros), it means access to more places in Madrid. Definitely, a boon to Let’s Talk Madrid.

5. Thanks to Madrid and Plaza Puerta del Sol for the memorable New Year’s Eve countdown event. It was simple, with hardly any firecracker lit. All the noise that greeted 2015 was sheer shouting, cheering, and boisterous laughing of merrymakers of mostly families and friends. Yet, frankly, it was one New Year’s Eve celebration I immensely enjoyed.

This is as near as we can go to Puerta del Sol. Still we had a nice view of the countdown celebration at Calle de Arenal
This is the closest that we can get to the plaza of Puerta del Sol. Still we had a nice view of the countdown celebration from where we stood at Calle de Arenal

Last night’s was just one genuinely heartfelt celebration.

Feliz Ano Nuevo! Happy New Year to everyone!

6. Hey, I have many reasons to say thanks after all – and I admit that there are so much more apart from this list. I’m truly happy for everything I received the past year, and look forward to 2015 and what it might bring.

Thank you, and more please.