Monday, April 6, 2015

A Trip to Lorca for a Corrida

Saturday, 4 April, 2015:

As was stated in a previous post, Laurie and I both like to go to the bullfights which we know upsets some people but, so be it.

Laurie has an on-going love affair with horses so today we would put bullfighting and horses on the front burner of our busy Semana Santa doings.

Mysterious, rusty train station sign

We were up at a decent hour to catch a train that would whisk us away to our destination only a 55 minutes from Murcia. Our two one-way tickets cost a mere 6.90 Euros combined. 

Murcia 45 meters above
Mediterranean Sea Level

Laurie debating reading vs.
watching the passing landscape

Hammer Time???

We arrived safe and sound in Lorca

Los Toros at 5:00 p.m. was our goal

But first, a little sustenance

Lorca architecture

The Reds

Lorca has four Confradías that revel in their fabulous Semana Santa celebrations. The two big ones are the Blues and the Whites. The two lesser known Confradías are the Reds and the Purples. Our Hotel Felix was located in the Red section of Lorca. 

Red Pride

They have Flying Pigs in Lorca

Many places were still closed

The final night of Lorca's impressive Semana Santa parades was last night and many Lorcans were still resting.

Decorated Church

Three Doñas on cell phones

With King Alfonso X, El Sabio

We headed to Plaza de España as we had been led to believe that there would be a large Semans Santa related flower display on the Plaza starting at 9:00 a.m.

When we got to the Plaza, there was no sign of any flower show so we had breakfast instead.

The old city jail was nearby

Earthquake Toll

In 2011, Lorca suffered a devastating earthquake that killed nine people, injured many more and left lots of folks homeless.

Signs of the damage are still all around Lorca while the citizens continue to rebuild.

 Lots of buildings look like this

 A home that was spared

 Laurie liked the street lights

We were know in the Blues' territory

A representation of one of the Whites'
best Semana Santa cloaks

Five men talking without cell phones

Home of the Blues' Museum

I had visited this museum on a previous trip to Lorca. It houses many of the beautiful embroidered cloaks that the Blues wear for the Semana Santa parades.

We still had a long time until
the Corrida de Toros started

What to do?


Laurie was in HEAVEN

I opted to sightsee while Laurie
bolstered the Lorcan economy

Nice fountain

The Mercado was next to Lorca's
Teatro Guerra

So was this restaurant

Although the Plaza de Toros' ticket window was not scheduled to open until 4:00 p.m., we walked down to both see the Plaza and see if maybe we could buy our tickets a bit earlier.

Lorca's Plaza de Toros

No luck, the Plaza was not open. We would just have to return to the Plaza at 4:00 p.m. to buy our two tickets.

 Lorca's main round-about

 Santa Paola

 It was a good time for some
Tinto de Verano

Laurie liked the wisteria

 Fútbols stored for the afternoon

St. Michael the Archangel
Whites' poster

Baroque Style

After lunch, drinks and more sightseeing we returned to the Plaza de Toros to buy our tickets.

He was ready

Laurie was ready

I was ready too but no one was here only an hour before the Corrida's start.

Something was amiss.

We talked to some Lorcans strolling by the Plaza and were told that the old Plaza de Toros had been closed due to earthquake damage since 2011. Lorca now had a much smaller, temporary bull ring located on the other side of the city.

Our new friends gave us directions to head West to find this mysterious new bull ring that did not appear on my map of Lorca.


After ten minutes of walking, we asked for confirmation of the bull ring's location from another man. He said we were headed in the wrong direction, the temporary Plaza was located in the East end of Lorca behind the Gato Negro Bar.

After ten more minutes of power walking, we asked an older caballero who was walking purposefully if we were heading in the right direction. He said we were and that was where he was headed.

He led us there without any further hitches but, without him we NEVER would have found the Plaza.

I gave Laurie the camera to take pictures while I bought us two Jubilado (Senior Citizen) discount tickets that allowed us to sit anywhere in the miniature Plaza.

We made it!

Since this Plaza was truly temporary, all of the horses, bull fighters and bulls were in plain sight in the Plaza's dirt parking area.

One of the many horses that
Rejoneador Sergio Galan would use

Lots of care for Galan's horses

 Laurie liked the Arabian

Taking care

Picador's horses

Picador leg/foot armor

The bull will attack the Picador and his horse from the Picador's more heavily protected right side.

A banderillero taking care of a steed

Galan's stable of horses

Galan rides different horses for the different phases of the fight.

The view from our seats in the
quaint, uncovered Plaza

"Temporary" is the right word

The Opening Procession

 Cruella Deville was in the Plaza

So was The Band

Warm-up visualization exercise

 Sergio Galan was a crowd pleaser


Miguel Angel Moreno
The First and Sixth Bulls 

A magnificent beast

Feeling out the first bull

 Picador entering the arena

 An agressive bull attacking the Picador

Necessary weakening of the neck muscles

Nice pass

Nicer pass

Body language is important
in the Arena

Good placement

Alternativa for Miguel Angel Moreno

In the darker Suit of Lights is novillero Miguel Angel Moreno who today took his Alternativa today. The Alternativa is the ceremony where a young novillero learning his bull fighting craft while facing younger, smaller bulls is finally recognized as a full fledged Matador de Toros. Here he is hugged by Matador Paco Ureña and will be soon be by Rejoneador Sergio Galan to congratulate him.

Moreno showing his bravery


Trying hard to impress the judges

He impressed us for sure.

 Facing Death

 Great pass

Moreno in complete control

Lining up for the kill

Perfect kill

For his efforts on his first bull as a Matador, Moreno was awarded two ears!

 Moreno's second bull

 Moreno performed well

 Lots of good passes

 Unfortunately, his sword failed him

The bull just refused to die, some in the crowd started to wonder if there was a sniper in the nearby rooftops.

The problems with the killing of this bull cost Moreno any chance for an award.

Sergio Galan
The Second and Fourth Bulls

 Sergio Galan in action

We had seen him fight a few weeks ago in Murcia's Plaza de Toros where he performed well cutting two ears. He was the main reason that we came to Lorca on this day.

Close call


Chasing the horse's tail

Showmanship to the MAX




Perfect performance

Galan cut two ears on this bull. Let's see him in action on these three videos that Laurie captured.

Pirouetting Horse

Prancing Steed

The Elbow

Everything today was entertainment

Even this effort to insure the footing after the second and fourth bulls brought the crowd to its feet.

The car was driven by a cigar chomping caballero who tried to drag the ring's very soft, loose dirt. While he was doing this, a man brought out a chalk liner to re-chalk the two concentric circles that are used to restrain the Picadors from wandering out to far into the ring.

The chalked was about half done with his first new circle when our caballero behind the wheel deftly maneuvered the drag so as to completely wipe out the new line. This drew a menacing scowl from the chalked and a cacophony of laughter from the publico.

The crowd got another kick when our driver got to the middle of the ring after dragging the Arena in ever smaller circles but could not figure out how to get the drag to smooth out the ten foot round epicenter of the Plaza.

After about six or seven attempts to encircle the troublesome spot, he finally approached it straight on and drove through it in a straight line to the delight of the spectators.

Never a dull moment in Lorca's bull ring!

 Galan's second bull
would be a good one too

 The Run Around

 Catch me if you can

What a horse!

Passing by

Perfection again

Getting close . . .

VERY close indeed!

The kill was clean and Galan was awarded another two ears.

The Arrastra

After the kill, the Arrastra team comes out to slowly drag the deceased bull out of the ring and into the waiting arms of the butcher who will sell the bull's meat in his shop soon after the Corrida ends.

But not in Lorca, at least not the slow part. Here the Arrastra team races out of the Plaza to the sound of a cracking whip as the show continues to the amusement of the crowd.

Mule Skinner with a puro

A caballero wanting a better
view atop the chute where
the bulls enter the Arena

Paco Ureña
The Third and Fifth Bulls

Good cape work

Another nice pass 



 Ureña's muleta work was good too

See what I mean

 Come and get me

 I'm in charge

Toro unwilling to take his shot


To the hilt

 Blood on his hand

Ureña cut two ears on his first bull. We were on an ear cutting roll!

After the third bull of the Corrida
we had a ten minute halftime

Stare down

 Another nice Faena with . . .

. . . good pass after . . .

 . . . good pass

Another bull that refused to die easily cost Paco a bit but he still cut an ear.

It was a good day at the Arena as nine ears were cut from the six bulls and we had thoroughly enjoyed another day at La Fiesta Brava.

Lorca at night

We celebrated the day over delicious pizza at a popular Italian restaurant near this round about before taking a taxi back to our hotel.

We LOVE España!!!

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