As of January
2012 bullfighting will be banned in the Catalonian section of Spain.
This is the north-eastern region known as Catalonia. To bullfighting
aficionados this may be a hard pillow to swallow, but to Animal Rights
Activists and true Catalonians, this is the only way to go. There is a
great difference between Spain and Catalonia and over the years a
Catalonian break away was not out of the question.
|Of course there are many
bull rings in Spain and some of them operate to capacity crowds.
The original bullring at Ronda still boasts statues and popular
tours to an old tradition. But for the great Plaza de Toros
Monumental in Barcelona the curtain is finally coming down.
Animal Rights opposes the ‘sport’ and Catalonians oppose it as
they oppose the rest of Spain. Even the language is different
and Catalonians hardly want to be called Spaniards.
For me, it started with
Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and the morning dashes along the
streets by men being chased by bulls. I grew up thinking of it
as a sport and as a show of courage. I sat wide eyed in Madrid
and watched the cocky matadors arch their backs and urge the
gigantic bull to charge. He dared the bulls as a show of courage
and stood his ground while the bull’s horns missed his body by
centimetres. The cape in the matador’s hands would almost
mesmerize the unknowing bull. It was the cape or muleta the bull
charged while the matador waited until the bull charge into a
pointed sword for the last time. Yes, in his books, Hem saw it
as bravery or bravado. But the bull with the rounded off horns
was at a great disadvantage even with his size.
Later Hem wrote Death in the
Afternoon. This was not a novel but a book about the art of raising
bulls to fight and then the craft of the battle or coridas. He explained
the whole idea of raising bulls to fight and selecting them by size and
eagerness to fight. These bulls, he explained, were facing a standing
man for the first time. With men inserting picks in their napes to lower
the magnificent heads, they were putting the man at a further advantage.
|It was a one-sided contest
and the bull would not leave the arena alive unless the
President of the bullring deemed that it was brave enough to
leave alive. This rarely happened. Hemingway was obsessed with
So I read and I attended. I even went to a
bullring in Portugal where the bull was taunted, toyed with and
mesmerised the monstrous creature. I saw fights in Mexico too,
where the bull was fought by a man or woman on horseback. Then
as years went by and the animal rights activists showed their
colors, I began to think twice about this so called ‘sport’. The
last time I attended a bullring was about ten years ago when I
took a group of visitors to the Barcelona “Plaza”. It was hardy
crowded. It was bloody and distasteful. I swore never to go
again. Now, the people of Barcelona and all Catalonia agree.
After all these years, this activity will cease at least in this
area. It’s a beginning and it’s a statement. I say Bravo!!!
Catalonia is a beautiful
area with mountains flowing to the ea. Barcelona in one my three
top cities in the world. There is so much to see there that
hopefully, one will soon forget that bullfighting was part of
Take for example the long
peaceful old riverbed that winds to the seaport. The Ramblas as
it is called offers bird and flower sales, art dealers, food
sales, magazines and newspapers and a chance to walk under
beautiful shade trees without worrying about cars. On the sides
are restaurants, fashionable shops and hotels you will not
The work of Gaudi is visible
throughout the city and one cannot visit Barcelona without seeing Park
Guell or the Sagrida Familia. This church is in the throes of being
completer. It started in the 1890’s
Geuel’s Sagrada Familia
music hall, the opera and the Cataluña Square offer tourists a
delectable feast on the eyes and place to show t
heir children the city of
their prod heritage. And speaking of feasts one must visit
Picassos favorite El Quatro Gats (4 Cats) for local food worth
waiting for. He too was interested in bulls but Picasso was a
southern Spaniard and from Malaga, not Barcelona.The People’s
Political Party, Catalonians in general and Animal Rights
followers have won the struggle. For them, enjoyment comes from
Football, not butchery.
If I have piqued your
interest in Barcelona, get in touch with a young man named
Benjamin Serio, the International Detective Coordinator. He can
show you around Barcelona on a theme. It’s almost a contest.
Look him up at
This is a tour with a difference…
The 4 Cats is at Montsio 3bis
Phome: 34 93 302 49 for
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)