Spain
Mérida

Here you’ll find travel reports about Mérida. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

7 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    Beautiful Mélide

    May 6 in Spain

    Wow! What a gem. No wonder it is a world heritage site.

    The day started early, leaving our rather primitive albergue before dawn. There was a wedding last night and the locals seem to celebrate by driving round all night and sounding their horns in the early hours of the morning, so we were all wakened by a 5am cacophony.

    It was a straight tramp along the highway and we reached the Roman bridge into Mélide by morning tea time - perfect for sightseeing. Aside from the magnificent arched bridge I also saw the Roman ampitheatre, the circus, the Alcazaba (fort), temple of Diana and the Roman and Visigoth museums (phew!)

    And a local exhibition of folkloric singing and dancing!

    Tonight I and two other women are sharing a room in a good hotel. Such luxury to have our own bathroom and be able to spread our gear around.
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  • Day26

    Hoofed it to Merida

    May 3 in Spain

    My choice today was 25 km to a small hamlet with a Pension above a gas station, or 40 to Merida, I opted to grind it out. This was one of those days where the stimulus had to come from within, because the scenery was unlikely to get your juices going. There was the occasional flower burst or bucolic scene with cows grazing, but for the most part it was 40 km on asphalt next to a busy highway. In fact, I’d have to say that one 5 km stretch on the shoulder of a busy national highway was right up there on the list of “scariest walks on the camino.” But I made it. And joy of joys, the last 8 km or so into town were far from the highway all on dirt.

    So I walked into the main square at around 3 pm feeling pretty whacked. The following facts presented themselves— 1. there would be no touring for me since I have been to Merida 3 or 4 times, most recently in February with Joe. 2. there was a fancy hotel in an ancient building inviting me to go in and check out the last minute prices. 3. Since I had walked 40 today, I could sleep in and take a short stage tomorrow. All indicators pointed to my flopping down in the fancy hotel with a cheap last minute rate. Which I did!

    I have been out to the Roman bridge, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I have been in the square in front of the hotel. But for the most part I have enjoyed the little balcony off my room, the glorious bathroom with forceful hot water spraying out of the shower head, and the lovely feeling that comes from having walked a monster stage unscathed. I am pretty ascetic but every now and then these creature comforts are irresistible.
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  • Day26

    Day 26: Exploring Mérida

    March 13, 2017 in Spain

    Shandos managed to get up early and visit the local supermarket, so we were both well fed and relaxed by the time we headed out. Lots of ruins to check out today!

    First up we headed to the Circus Maximus which was right near our apartment, and bought ourselves a combination ticket which grants access to the five main ruins of the town. The Circus Maximus is the horse racing circuit (think Ben-Hur chariot racing), and it's still remarkably well-preserved - apparently the best preserved one outside of Italy. It's 400 metres long, 60 metres across and on race days would've held up to 60,000 spectators which surely would've been everyone in town.

    I should note that the town itself was founded around 25 BC by Emperor Augustus, and was originally called Augustus Emeritus - built to house former soldiers from his legions during the conquest of Spain. It was actually the capital of Lusitania province, an area that covers basically the south-western quarter of modern Spain and Portugal. So a pretty important city back in the day.

    Next up we walked over to the amphitheatre and theatre, both of which are still standing and incredible. The amphitheatre is a lot like the Colosseum in Rome, though smaller, and the theatre is modelled after one in Pompeii (that also still exists). Both seemed very large for the size of the city, holding around 15,000-20,000 spectators, but I guess it shows the importance of theatre and spectacle.

    The amphitheatre would hold gladiator bouts and show "hunts" (eg two men vs a lion), while the theatre was for plays, comedies and so on. Again both were really well preserved, and with lots of good information signs in English, Spanish and Portuguese. There was a large museum holding a bunch of statues and stuff as well, but it was closed on Mondays so we couldn't go in.

    Outside we stopped at a cafe for a lunch baguette (though our intended quick lunch became a long lunch when our food took 40 minutes to materialise), then headed across town to check out a few other things. We saw a snow well, which is where snow (or probably large ice blocks, I was dubious of the translation) was kept during summer, along with some partially buried manor houses, thermal baths, a ridiculously long low bridge over the main river (760 metres long!!), and the original main entrance gate to the city. There's now a small fortress there called the Alcazabar, as it was built by the Arabs after their conquest in the 800s.

    After a long day we headed back to our apartment for a rest, though we headed back out soon afterwards to give Schnitzel a run around. Poor little guy had been confined to the apartment all day while we'd been exploring! Spent the rest of the afternoon/evening in the apartment doing work. I was feeling inspired and put together a video of the past two days!

    It's also time now that I can reveal my secret new project - aiming to visit every UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world, and doing brief YouTube videos on each one. I've so far done Seville, Cordoba, Ubeda/Baeza and was finishing up today on Merida. Still need to do Alhambra and the dolmens of Antequera, and then keeping up to date on the future ones we visit! Spain has the third-most sites behind only Italy and China, so I'll be very busy for a while! I don't know whether I'll actually finish the journey as there are some extraordinarily difficult ones (Yemen, Saudi, Syria, Libya, Niger to name a few), but it'll be fun and exciting seeing how close I can get!
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  • Day27

    Day 27: More of Merida

    March 14, 2017 in Spain

    Much quieter day today. We actually slept in by accident, and didn't get up until nearly 10am! Weather outside has turned again, it's now quite chilly and very windy. We hung around the apartment for the morning doing various project work, then had lunch and headed for the Museum that had been closed yesterday.

    It was quite interesting and well done, lots of stuff to see and plenty of signs in English and Spanish again. Original sculptures from the buildings outside, as well as mosaic floors that had been recovered from various villas around the town. Also a very large collection of coins with the different emperors on each one, again in great condition.

    Afterwards we headed out into the super-quiet centre of town (siesta time, so everything was shut), and made our way over to the Church of Santa Eulalia. Apparently this is the spot where Saint Eulalia was martyred during the Christian purges of the late Roman empire. She was supposedly buried here and a chapel set up over the top, but her remains are long gone and there's now only various tombs from the last couple of thousand years under a large gothic church.

    If that sounds interesting, well, unfortunately it wasn't. There was a huge amount of information entirely in Spanish, and the section where you could go into the crypts under the church and directly see the graves from Romans, Visigoths, early Christians and then Muslims just felt odd. Mainly because we were just underneath a false floor for the church above, and the giant gothic pillars looked perhaps a little less sturdy than you'd hope.

    Back to the apartment where we brought Schnitzel downstairs and took him around the nearby park. Happy to get outside, but not as excited as he was yesterday. We didn't stay out for too long though, as the wind had shifted direction and now smelled distinctly of "fertiliser".

    Upstairs to the warmth where we kept working, watched some football and had a Skype session with mum before heading to bed around midnight.
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  • Day25

    Day 25: Northwest to Mérida

    March 12, 2017 in Spain

    Long day of travelling today. We chilled out in our apartment for the morning, doing a little more work. Shandos grabbed us some breakfast from a different nearby bakery to yesterday, and Schnitzel got a short walk.

    Set off from our apartment around midday, and this time had no difficulty navigating out of town. Slightly annoyed that our car had been in an underground carpark for two days, I paid 35 euros before loading up and exiting, only to have the boomgate automatically lift up as we approached! Could've saved ourselves $50 if we'd known - alas.

    We were heading northwest towards the small city of Merida, where a huge complex of Roman ruins awaited us. But first, a 4 hour drive. The first couple of hours passed very quickly on the freeway back to Cordoba, but after this we were on second-rate country roads. Filled up with fuel and snacks, and eventually stopped for lunch at 2pm at a random hotel and restaurant that appeared in the middle of nowhere. Decent tapas too - had some fried chorizo, french fries, and croquettes which are surprisingly common here.

    Arrived in Merida around 5pm which was a bit of an issue since our Airbnb hosts were on a weekend away and wouldn't be back until 8:30pm (we were aware of this when we booked). Since some of the Roman ruins were unfenced and unticketed, we took advantage of the last couple of hours' sunlight to check out the enormous aqueduct which stands about 25 metres high.

    It's in the middle of a large park as well where we let Schnitzel off his leash and charge around like a maniac. Seems like his favourite place in Spain so far! Stopped for a drink in one of the only restaurants open (basically everything in Spain shuts on Sundays), and visited an ancient Roman temple which was once the centre of town.

    Since we're here for a few nights we headed for the supermarket to stock up on a few groceries, only to discover that all of the supermarkets were closed too! Aldi, Carrefour, Mercadona, Lidl - all shut! Crazy. This is a town of 60,000 people after all! By now it was 7:30 and quite chilly, and I was getting quite cold in just shorts and thongs (it had been fairly hot in Ubeda!).

    So we took the option of last resort: dinner at McDonalds. Originally we intended to eat in the car, but Schnitzel seemed pretty comfortable so we left him in his bed and ate inside. Tick-tock, 8:15. We drove back to the apartment and waited out the last 10 minutes in the car before our host turned up to let us in. Nice apartment, very large with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms though the living area isn't enormous. And we've got a parking space in the basement for the car which is great.

    We unpacked, relaxed for a bit and then headed to bed, ready for another day of sight-seeing tomorrow.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Mérida, Merida, Merido, مریدا, מרידה, QWX, メリダ, Emerita Augusta, 06800, Мерида

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