If you are curious to see this bloody tourist show, please consider that:
24 hours beforehand, the bull is shut in a dark wooden box, denied food, and weakened and disorientated by having the ends of his horns painfully cut off.
At the moment of the bullfight, the bull is released from the darkness straight into the arena. Blinded and disorientated by the light, he looks for a chance to escape. But here he will be tortured with a 45cm-long spear tipped with a conical blade to cut the muscles at the base of his neck, force him to lower his head, and start the blood loss.
Then, in the same part of his body, ‘banderillas’ (harpoons of 8cm in length) will be thrust in and left there to painfully sever nerves and muscles with every movement the bull makes. Finally, a sword of 80-100cm in length is plunged in, which penetrates the bull’s body, perforating his heart, his lungs, his diaphragm or liver, causing him to die.
The horses too are the victims. Often gored and disemboweled, their wounds are hidden by the long blankets they wear. Their vocal chords are cut, so that you are unable to hear their cries. Do not encourage the torture of animals: Spain has many bloodless festivals that demonstrate it is possible to enjoy yourself without being cruel. 75% of Spaniards are against this practice but it is the financial support of tourists that allows this butchery to continue.
To call La Rambla a street somehow appears a little demeaning, thoroughfare or boulevard seem much more fitting words, however neither really adequately describe the 'slice of life' that is La Rambla.
Running from Placa de Catalunya down to the port area, La Rambla is a place for people to stroll, meet, pass through, trade, eat, drink, people watch and be entertained. And if you think it's busy wandering down its length at midday return at midnight when it's even livelier.
Entertainment comes in the form of buskers and street performers of the 'living statue' type - give them some coins and they'll perform for you or just admire them as they stand immobile. One favourite was the headless torso with the 'detached' head alive and chatting on a plate of vegetables next to him. There are also stalls selling flowers, sketch artists offering to draw your likeness and booths selling a variety of birds and small animals. Indeed it was quite incongruous seeing pigeons hoping around the ground in front of a booth where others were on sale.
Inevitably in such a busy place there will be pickpockets so be careful with your purse, camera and other valuables. However don't let that put you off, whether it's a morning, afternoon or evening stroll - La Rambla is the place.
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