Cosas de Sevilla 10, Spring 2017
30 March 2017
Dear Friends and Family of The Texas Tech University Center in Sevilla,
Hola de nuevo from Sevilla! We've had another busy week here, including a trip to a livestock ranch!
In preparation for the visit to the bull ranch, last Thursday we had a presentation on the rules and traditions of modern Spanish bullfighting. Don Jesús Franco Cardeño, a former bullfighter, showed the students some beautiful capes and a real “traje de luces”, the outfit worn by a bullfighter. It is an interesting introduction for the bullfight we will attend in some weeks.
Last Friday morning we got up early, boarded a bus and headed to La Finca Las Monjas, a Spanish bull ranch located in the nearby village of Lora del Río, just forty five minutes from Seville. It is one of the most important bull-breeding farms in Spain, and it was founded at the beginning of the XIX century.
Enjoy the beauty of the Andalucía dehesa, the bulls grazing in the meadows.
The “tienta” fighting at the arena.
Andalucía, with its extensive pastures and open countryside, is the largest area in Spain dedicated to this magnificent animal. La Finca Las Monjas extends over 600 hectares and has almost 500 heads of cattle grazing in its meadow (called “dehesa” in Spanish). Visiting a bull ranch is a wonderful opportunity to discover the animals in their natural environment. Surrounded by evergreen oaks, eucalypts and wild olive trees, brave bulls spend five years life free in the farm.
We were hosted by Don Manuel Bajo, the owner of the Finca, in charge of caring for cattle and running the ranch, and Don Jesús Franco Cardeño. They talked us about the Finca's bull-raising history and the bullfighting tradition in Spain. We also learned about the different stages in the life of the fighting bulls. They guided us during our visit to the different areas where the bulls, depending on their age and weight, are kept.
We also had the opportunity to attend a “tienta”, where the calves are tempted in order to determine their bravery. The selection of the fighting bull is carried out by professionals. Since the bulls inherit their temper from their mothers, the best heifers are selected to become the mothers of future fighting bulls. Don Jesús fighted and tested the calf in the “tentadero”, a smaller arena, in order to look for the qualities of a real fighting bull: bravery, strength and nobility. We were surprised to note that, in spite of its size, it was such a fierce fighter!
We could spend a really nice day enjoying the beauty of the landscape and these splendid animals, a truly unforgettable experience.
Well, that is all for this week. See you next week for more updates from Sevilla!