Mérida

What Rivendell was to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings so Mérida was to us on El Camino: a beautiful city offering a comfortable and luxurious stop at the beginning of what would be a long and arduous journey. For us, the beautiful part of Mérida came in the form of its Roman ruins, pristinely preserved and still dominating the city’s life 2,000 years after their construction. Luxury came in the form of a one-star hotel that, through the eyes of these pilgrims anyway, looked like the Waldorf Astoria with its top-of-the-line amenities: a double bed, locking door with keys, and private bathroom. Our stay wasn’t long (just one and a half days) as we didn’t want to completely lose the pilgrim groove we had worked ourselves into with much effort over the previous week and a half, but it was a welcome and wonderful visit all the same. Below you can find some pictures from our time there as well as a poem by Kate.

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An apt start to our time in the city: a walk across a Roman bridge

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We were surprised and excited to see a hoopoe pecking around the ground near the bridge

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Enjoying a coffee in the city’s main plaza
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Roman aqueducts that ran for 6 kilometers to deliver water to the city

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Dimples in the bricks from where they would be clamped and lifted into place were still just as visible as the aqueduct itself
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The Temple of Diana. If you look amidst the pillars you can make out another structure. Apparently in the Middle Ages, a rich baron decided that he wanted to build his house amidst the temple.

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A depiction of Jupiter
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The city’s amphitheatre where gladiatorial events took place
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We were surprised to learn that they had musical accompaniment to the gladiator matches as well as a referee!

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While there were no signs indicating this for sure, we imagined this was where gladiators entered the arena.

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Neighboring the amphitheatre was the theatre, where less gruesome forms of entertainment played out.

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Looking at the theatre from one of the hallways that emerged into the stands

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Enjoying a drink back at the Temple of Diana to cap off the day
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A depiction of Medusa, the myth of whom inspired Kate´s poem below.

Epithet to Medusa

Are you aware
of the irony
of your preservation
in stone?
Sinuous snakes—
your only companions—
petrified
in a writhing frenzy.
Your staring eyes—
more damaged than before—
gaze unfocused,
no Iris,
no Pupil—
just you
and your memories
before your life
was as tangled
as your serpentine tresses.

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