Graffiti and bullfighting in Zaragoza

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, Spain - Zaragoza | Posted on 26-09-2010

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After the passport adventures I had getting out of Milan, it was a short week once I finally made it to Zaragoza, but man was it ever great to be back in Spain.

Spain takes everything the Italians pride themselves on (food, wine, fashion, etc) and deliver it up without the attitude or ego… It’s like the italians want to keep it to themselves, but the Spanish believe that everyone should be living the best life possible.

Zaragoza was a cute little city with a beautiful town centre with some great bars and an amazing tapas culture. The little alleyways and winding old streets revealed some amazing street art as well.

Saturday I went out with G and M from the crew and we headed out to catch a bullfight. Now, I’ve got a huge trigger issue with animal cruelty, but it’s been weird how much I’ve had to justify my decision to attend the bullfight after the fact. I remember thinking when we were touring the Coleseum in Rome about how they used to battle animals in a spectacle and that for some reason, I was ok with it. I mean, really – think about it… on one side, you’ve got a bull that’s had a good life, been fed well to strengthen it up, been allowed to roam and screw, and then rather than just offing it in a slaughterhouse like everyone else he’ll ever meet, we’re actually giving him a chance to fight back. To me, that’s a lot more fair and noble than the horrifying conditions you find in feed lots and slaughterhouses. It’s also hard to take someone seriously about animal cruelty when they’re eating a hamburger and wearing leather shoes. In fact, G who I went with was a vegetarian, and I respect her greatly for going for the sake of the experience.

The bullfight itself was actually a lot more interesting than I expected. There’s a crazy history and ceremony about it, and the posing and staring down the bull by the bullfighters is cocky and beautiful. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but from what I gathered it’s pretty much the guy who gets the crowd the most worked up wins (and the guy who doesn’t do a clean kill which comes across as cruel to the bull is booed).

An interesting tidbit: when one of the bulls refused to die (as in would just keep getting up and staring down the bullfighter and putting up a serious fight with glorious attitude), the crowd actually stood and applauded the bull. It’s not killing for killing’s sake – it’s a ritual and celebration and skill juxtaposed with the violence and high liklihood of injury or death of the bullfighter.

Yes, I enjoyed it, and no, I won’t apologize for that.

Other than that, spent every afternoon working, every night out tapas hopping with friendly folk, and the hotel we were in was the nicest we’ve stayed at on this tour so far (amazing beds and the ‘best. shower. evar.’) which was a nice treat.

Not sure if I’d go out of my way to return to Zaragoza, but I’d never be upset at finding myself there again.

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