Sunday, July 22, 2012

El Escorial + Ventas

*WARNING* Some of the content towards the end of the blog may contain disturbing images!!! Especially for vegetarians/animal activists/queasy kids/anybody really! Just lucky my camera wasn't as graphic as what I saw!!

We woke up super early this morning to go join our tour that we booked to take us to a different village. We couldn't find the bus pick up area as the office gave us complete different directions so we asked these two handsome policemen that were sitting in their car. 
They were so nice to us and went out of there way to show us where. Eventually driving behind us as we walked and BEEPED whenever we started heading towards the wrong way. It was funny hahahah!
The tour was lovely - they took us to a small village called El Escorial which has a monastery from the 15th century as well as a basilica and a humble palace embedded inside. We couldn't take any photos inside but I wish I could've. The pantheons were so different and absolutely gorgeous.
My sneaky monk photo… he's next to blue shirt guy
This was the first tour that I was actually listening out for every information. The tour guide was really good. Too bad I'm way too exhausted right now to share the interesting stuff haha I'm so sorry. We even saw monks! I have never seen a Catholic monk before! In Portugal, all the monasteries and churches are unoccupied as there was a religious dispute so the government decided to own everything and let the religious orders come back, ONLY if they built their own new place with their own money and stopped the nonsense. 
We saw the King's palace, the tombs, the monks area, and the other side is now a school/university. Afterwards we went to the Basilica of the Valley where stands a 150m cross on top of a mountain. The church is a natural basilica that is embedded INSIDE the mountain. It was pretty cool to look at. We weren't allowed to take photos either but I managed to take one or two shitty ones before I realised that it was prohibited. But I wish I could share all that I saw today!
Mum was so definite that this dude was Keith Urban LOL
Got much more packed 20 minutes later
For lunch, mum and I decided to have grilled steak. It was yummy. The argentinian sauce, chimichurri is awesome. While mum was in the toilets after we finished eating, there was the HOTTEST Spanish waiter and he kept smiling at me and started walking towards me, probably to say hello and mum with impeccable timing bursts out of the toilet, "DEENA!!! YOUR TURN!!!!!!!!" 
I couldn't stop laughing to myself! 

Mum and I then walked all the way back home and then looked in a department store, I helped mum do some shopping. Then we went back to the hotel. 

After our rest, we headed out to Torres de Las Ventas, the arena for the weekly Sunday bullfight. It was packed with people and we were all crammed against each other on concrete steps and no leg room. The atmosphere was fun, we enjoyed a sack of goon being passed around from our lovely Spanish friends sitting in front of us. 
It was interesting to see the bullfighting spectacular but my mum and I were feeling queasy from seeing all the abuse. I guess to foreigners we would see it as barbaric, especially since we don't understand the game. I'm looking it up now because I really don't understand. Okay, still don't understand the entertainment after reading it but its not my culture. We stayed for 3 rounds and I was really sick of seeing the bull's blood spill onto the arena and at its final moment, collapse onto the ground. Sometimes I saw the poor fellow coughing up blood trying to gather himself before collapsing….

The matadors strike it with swords, stab it with stakes and men on blindfolded horses spite the bull in to attack so they can spear him. Eeek, I really didn't like to watch.
After we decided to leave, we saw pictures of some gross moments, like horn through throat then out through the matador's mouth, eye gauging, death, funerals, being thrown into the air by the bull, bull chasing into the crowds.. etc. 
Following were photos on exhibition...
It was good to bask in the culture and experience the real deal though. I still really don't feel comfortable watching the bull be slaughtered in the ring though. They can only ever be used once, and the sword is the final blow… AHHhahriahriahgh now I get why people are vegetarians.
No idea what this says but WHAT AN AD! HAHAHA birds up!
P.s Philippines was named after King Phillip of Spain
P.p.s Bullfighting is banned in Barcelona and in Portugal it is illegal to kill the bull in the arena, it would be brought out alive and then slaughtered in the pens
P.p.p.s Sometimes most often rarely the bull becomes a stud and spared its life if it performed exceptionally well in the arena
P.p.p.p.s if the matador performed exceptionally well, the audience cheers and waves their handkerchiefs to indicate that they deserve an ear, or two or/and the tail of the dead bull as I saw today!