Taking the metro has become one of my favorite things to do in Madrid because it It makes me feel like I am a real resident of Madrid. Little did I know that today would be a day full of my favorite thing.
Today we took the metro from Sevilla to Las Ventas, the biggest bull-fighting ring in Spain. Upon arriving, I was immediately struck by the sheer size of the building. Which makes sense when considering the fact that it was built to hold up to 23,000 people. Other than that, the architecture was absolutely entrancing. The mix of Moorish and Catholic influences was very clearly observable and very stunning.
And don’t even let me get started on the gate!
We enjoyed a tour done by the incredibly entertaining Raúl, who works for Las Ventas. Having Raúl as a tour guide made the experience a million times as incredible due to his witty personality and one-liners. He started his tour with a warning of an exam he would be giving us later, which I admired because it really made me pay attention and made the whole experience much more enjoyable and engaging. He also asked us questions to make sure we were listening, which was mostly just him asking us who the best bullfighter was- it’s Manolete!
Raúl later asked for volunteers, for which I quickly raised my hand. It turned out that I would be able to try a virtual bull fighting experience, which was simultaneously absolutely incredible and terrifying. To my surprise, I was apparently pretty good at it. I think it might have just been my Iberian blood.
Las Ventas was filled with tons of other incredible views. Such as, ironically, the slaughter house…
Another great view was the actual ring itself. It actually took me by surprise because from the outside Las Ventas does not seem as big as it does from the outside. So, upon walking in, I was immediately hit with a wave of humility as I was reminded how small I am as a human on the Earth.
Note that the bullring is only used for actual bullfighting from late March to October, so Madrid used the ring as a rent out place for raves and other events in order to keep making money.
After the ring, me and a few other friends went out for lunch to a spot in front of one of the biggest opera houses. There were a number of seemingly delicious options, but I settled and had a veal lasagna and let me say, it was absolutely mouthwatering! My second course of the meal was what I expected to be marinated chicken wings, but were only just fried chicken legs. I suppose that’s the result of a menu mistranslation.
Later on in the day, we got to meet with a local journalist James Blick. It was amazing to ask him questions about his life in Madrid in an face to face session. It really allowed us to feel like we were talking to a human and not just a person in a screen. He offered us a lot of really valuable insight in information ranging from career to personal experience. I think that this conversation with him really tied the afternoon together into a pleasant little bow.
After our pleasant conversation with James Blick, my friends and I headed to a park hidden behind the royal palace called Campo de Muro. The trip there consisted of several 2-steps-forwards-one-step-backs on the metro, but since I love riding it I had a lot of fun. Eventually, after about 5 metro rides instead of the intended 2, my friends and I arrived to the park at around 6:15. However, the park had closed at 6:00PM. Nevertheless my friends and I decided to walk around the gate of the park and take in the beautiful sites.
On our walk, my friends and I encountered another park. We walked around for a little bit until we encountered a map, which showed a lake not too far away. One thing about me: I love bodies of water. So, I quickly decided that we would most definitely be walking toward the lake, and so we did. After about 20 minutes, we arrived to the most beautiful artificial lake. The sun was setting and there were ducks floating in front of a glorious fountain. This peaceful view was a very refreshing breather from the hustle of the city.
This is one thing that I really love about Madrid: it does a wonderful job at maintaining a healthy balance between urban and green areas.
Overall, the day was filled with all of my favorite things, beautiful views of a forest and castle, good food, and, of course, METROS!!!