Skip to main content

Day 11, Rest day in Mérida, Oct 31

Roman mosaic.
Body paragraph

We had a great sleep in our lovely hotel followed by a fairly basic breakfast but with lots of coffee, which felt like quite a treat. The helpful front desk staff who the day before had given us good recommendations on where to find restaurants also knew there was a laundromat two blocks away. It was quite luxurious with TV, wifi and a kids play area, so I stayed and got the much needed laundry done while Nedjo went back to the hotel to start in on some work. We do web-based work and so while trying not to do too much of that during the walking portion of our trip, we did need to occasionally check in.

We headed out late morning, heading back to the alcazaba, which occupies an enormous space right at the entrance to the city. It was quite intriguing to see the layers of Roman, Visigoth, Moorish and Christian usage all in one location. Climbing up on a wall gave wonderful views to the Roman bridge and the river.

Detail of a carves column.
Details of a column in the alccazaba complex.

After our time at the alccazaba we headed back up to “restaurant street” but choosing a different place for today’s menú del día. The menú del día can be a wonderful way to feast in Spain. In the best instances you are given lots of choice of starters, main course and dessert. You usually also get a drink and bread. Sometimes it can definitely feel like quantity over quality but we had some stellar menus during our trip, and both we ate in Mérida were excellent. Instead of the usual glass of tinto de verano  that we’d usually enjoy mid-day, they brought us a jug of wine and a bottle of soda to make our own, so we imbibed more than we usually would at lunch and my tarta de San Marcos was one of the best non-flan desserts. A siesta would be the normal activity after such a meal, but we had sights to see.

The stunning Museum of Roman Art was the next on our agenda and it was a highlight of all the museums we visited on the trip. The crypt has in situ ruins they found when constructing the building. It was also wonderful to see the original statues that we’d seen replicas of at the theatre the day before. I was also impressed with the glass vessels that have survived this long as well as the intricate floor mosaics. On our way home we took the long route to see the Roman circus, one of the largest surviving in Spain.
The rain was just starting as we were finishing up at the circus, so we made a quick dash back to the hotel for a little rest before heading out again to see what, if anything, would be happening for Halloween. It was quite the scene with lots of little kids trick or treating at stores along the main pedestrian street and then throngs of older kids and teens by the plaza. One thing that stood out for us was that there were large groups of friends all wearing identical costumes.

Temple of Diana, Merida.
Temple of Diana.

We had a drink on the plaza so we could watch the merriment and watch the parents having a drink with friends and watching their kids. Then we wandered off to find some food, finally settling on a cafe by the Temple of Diana for potatoes and aioli. It was a superb setting and given that we’d had some hot chestnuts as we wandered, it seemed enough after our huge lunch. And no ill effects from our boozier than usual day—four tintos de verano for Nedjo!