Day 4 came way too early. I hadn’t realized when booking my flight out of Lisbon that I would need to be at the airport before the metro even opened. Thankfully, the little square next to where I was staying had taxis all the time, so I caught one of those before the sun was even in the sky. By noon I touched down in my new home for the next 3 nights, Valencia, Spain!
For my time here I had found a room in an apartment overlooking the square with the large Valencia Cathedral. I would be staying with a Spanish lady and her teenage daughter, for a really low price. I couldn’t resist the price tag and the locale! I was provided with directions for how to reach the apartment, and I followed them diligently from the airport through the metro system. Unlike other cities I’ve visited in Europe, the metro is not well placed within the city. It circles the old part of the city, with no stops within. So I got off at the stop I was directed to, which brought me into the sunlight in front of the Plaza de Toros, the bull fighting stadium.
The bull fighting stadium was part of the sole reason why I chose to visit Valencia of all the places to see in Spain, and what I worked my entire trip around. In July, they have a month long festival, in which is the Feria de San Jaime, in which there is plenty of bull fighting. I have always wanted to see a bullfight, it is a dying sport, and one which defines a passing time in Spain’s history. It is an art to the people who participate in or follow it. For these reasons I wanted to experience it, before the opportunity to do so is lost forever… The bull stadium was covered with bright posters advertising the bull fights. I walked over to read them, and saw that there was a bull fight that night. I went to the ticket office and got a front row ticket for the fight.
Ticket in hand, I resumed the trek to the apartment. It was quite a walk down the streets to reach the square it was on. Once I found the apartment, I met the owner who provided me with a map and advice of the city. She highly recommended the market and the fresh fruit juices you could buy there. I settled in, changed into cooler clothes (Spain was HOT!), and set out to explore.
I wandered to the market first where I got a freshly pressed strawberry juice and later a peach one. Both were absolutely amazing, cost a euro, and were sitting in ice, so nice and refreshing! I grabbed a late lunch at a restaurant outside of the market. They didn’t speak great English, I speak pretty much no Spanish, so my order came out all sorts of messed up and the food wasn’t that great. Oh well… Sometimes that is just going to happen! I wandered off again, more exploring to do…
I walked through the Valencia Cathedral, seeing what they claim is the Holy Grail. The cathedral was beautiful, especially with the deep blue themed painting over the alter. The tower of the cathedral is open to the public, for a price, to climb to the top. It has a lot of narrow stairs winding up to the top, and it is quite hot within the tower, but the view from the top is worth it! You have a 360-degree view of the city and can see the Mediterranean Sea beyond it. Add in some refreshing breezes and you don’t want to make the climb back down that hot tower!
From the top of the tower I had spotted a neighboring little square with a magnificently large fountain with a center statue of Poseidon, reclining back. I made a beeline for that once I descended the tower. With the Spanish heat, I can not express how tempting it was to just climb on into that fountain!!! Eventually I wandered back to the apartment where I crashed for a nap before dinner and the bull fight.
FAIR WARNING… my next post will be about the bull fight. A lot of people are ignorant to exactly how a bull fight is conducted. I was one of these individuals. Sure, I knew the bull died in the end, but some of what happens prior, I was not truly ready for. In the hour and a half that the fights lasted for, I honestly experienced the full range of human emotions. Some of which, I really will not be able to properly relate to you. I tell you this, so that you might decide for yourself if you wish to read it, or if not, you know to skip that post…
MY QUESTION for all of you, though, how much of this do you want to see? I have pictures of the whole process, which I will include the safe ones, i.e., the bull is not yet harmed, or pictures of the individuals. I can include pictures of the later process, but in black and white, so it is not as gory with the blood being evident… Yes, these bulls bleed. Also, I have 15 minutes of video of an entire fight… I met a couple later during my time in Valencia who were debating going to see one of the bull fights. When I mentioned the video, they were very eager to see it so that they might make an informed decision as to whether or not they would go see it… They were able to decide not to. So, video? And if so, video of the bloodless beginning, or video from throughout? This will be a Youtube video as well, that you do not need to click on to watch if you don’t desire to see it. I truly want your opinions on what you wish to see, or not see.
Finally, I full well understand the opposition to this sport and the killing of the bulls. This post, or the next, is not the place to voice your distaste of it or try to convert me to your beliefs. While you are welcome to your own opinions, I am not interested in putting up with anyone’s attitude or comments here, it really won’t change anything, I’ve already been and seen it. So please, understand that my discussion of the bull fighting is solely to inform people about my experience with it. For those of you who are truly curious about this, then read on, and if it truly bothers you, then skip it, this is your head’s up so you can do so.