Iugula! Verbera! Missus!

Monday, October 19

We are still in Merda and we are going to visit ten Roman Ruins today if we follow Bob’s schedule!

Today’s title is from one of the plaques from the Amphitheatre yesterday.  Bob wanted me to use it for the title yesterday but I forgot so here it is today. It is what the crowds would shout at the Amphitheatre when the gladiators were fighting.  Kill him!  Beat him!  Pardon him! These were not easy times…

#1 The Mithreó House, a rather grand Roman residence that has mosaics, wall paintings, three patios, garden rooms, family rooms, commercial and industrial rooms and hot baths.  It is located outside under a protective roof.image

#2 The Aquaduct of San Lázaro image#3 The Aquaduct of Los Milagros ( I think). There is some confusion over the name of this one.  Bob thinks he can hold it all up!imageimage

#4 The Circus, or Racecourse, which was a kilometer around the track, and they ran around this seven times during the course of a race!  We walked the track and out through the gates that the charioteers would have entered.  The Circus held 30,000 spectators who would often spend the entire day from morning to dusk watching the races.

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#5 Excavations at Santa Eulalia Church.  These excavations are beneath the church and have the remains of four different times: Roman Houses, 3rd century, a Christian necropolis, 4th century, which contains a mausoleum for Saint Eulalia, a martyred child saint, a basilica dedicated to Saint Eulalia, 5th to 9th centuries, and the present day church from 1230 until now.  imageimage#6 As we are walking we come across the ruins of a Roman hospital and pilgrim’s hostel, built on the remains of the site of an earlier necropolis.  There are ruins everywhere in this city!image#7 Next stop is the Temple of Diana, which was built in 1 BC, and later had a palace built inside of it, which can be seen at the back of the temple.image #8 Plaza de Espana is next, and time for a much deserved rest and some tea and cookies.image

#9 Trajano’s Arch which is 15 meters high and was once covered in marble. Part of it is now lower than the road that runs through it. The right hand pillar has an area around the column that goes down to the original base of the arch.
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#10 The Citadel and Conventual, which is a Moorish fortress in 835 and later a convent in 1229.imageimageIt has a really neat underground cistern that we walk down this tunnel to visit, complete with goldfish.image

Bob is sure he can pick up one of these cannonballs.  What do you think?
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#11 The Roman bridge over the Guadiana River which was built 2,000 years ago was still in use in the 19th century and became a pedestrian only bridge in 1993.image

#12 The Morería Archaelogical Area is 12,000 square meters of ruins that had several modern building constructed over them in1980 in a way that allows visitors to still walk around the ruins.  It is quite something to see. Look closely, one of the pictures has me somewhere in it.image image

Whew!!  I can’t believe we managed to see all this, and it didn’t even rain on us.  Somehow we saw twelve different places, not the original ten Bob had planned for us!  It was a busy day but a very interesting one.

Merida, Spain

Sunday, October 18

Merida is about half an hour from the Portuguese border, in central Spain.  It poured rain all night and most of this morning so we weren’t in a hurry to go exploring. We decided we would go to the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, which we both really enjoyed.  It is  a beautiful building that was designed to house this collection, rather than being a converted monastery or palace, like so many museums in Europe .

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Here is a close up of the sculptures and reliefs at the end of this big hall.image I really loved this huge bull from the 1st Century AD.image

The museum has several very large floor mosaics on display.  I wonder how they are able to lift these off a floor and display them on a wall?  Anyone know?imagePortrait sculpture was very important to the ancient Romans.  I felt like I would know these people if I met them, their portraits were so expressive.image image

We stayed in the museum until it closed at 4:00 and then went to visit the Amphitheatre and the Roman Theatre.  These were both amazing places.  The sunken area of the amphitheatre was once covered by a wooden floor.  I have no idea why, there are lots of things I wanted to know about, but didn’t find answers to.  Guess I need to do some research.imageThe view from inside a ‘room’ beside one of the entrances to the floor of the amphitheatre. imageSome pictures of the area on the way to the Roman Theatre.

image image imageMerida was founded in 25 BC and was the capital of Rome’s westernmost province which was why it has all these fantastic monuments.  This Theatre wa built in 15-16 BC and is still used today in the summer for the city’s drama festival. It is hard to believe that these ruins are 2000 years old and still in such good condition.  Yes, some of it has been reconstructed but it is all still pretty amazing.image

The gardens behind the stage were used as a foyer during intermissions.imageWe spent quite a bit of time walking around these splendid ruins but then it started to rain again so we headed home for another late supper.  Our car was parked near this pretty little courtyard.  image

Toledo to Merida

Saturday, October 17

We are on our way to Toledo this morning, and then on to Merida where we have our next apartment.  Yesterday we stayed home for a bit of rest and to pack and get ready for today.  This view is from the cafeteria on the top floor of the public library in Toledo.imageWe literally travelled in circles looking for a library of ancient manuscripts and books. The Information center sent us to the library, but it was the public library and they told us that what we wanted was likely closed but that we could go see, so we went there, but where they sent us wasn’t the right place.  A second information lady gave us different information. We found out it was in the Alcázar museum, so we went there, only they told us we needed to go back to the library and that the collection was a special room there.  The same library that sent us elsewhere!  Only problem was that it closed at 2:00 and it is now ten to two!  We give up, deciding that we just weren’t meant to see these manuscripts.  Too bad, I would really have enjoyed the chance to at least have a look at them. One of the stops on our way to find the elusive manuscripts overlooks a winding road and the hills on the edge of town.imageWe did find this statue of Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote’s La Mancha.imageThe streets are very narrow and Toledo is a very hilly town.  We seem to be either climbing up or down steps and streets. Once again, we are out and about when a lot of the shops and businesses are closed. This 2:00 to 5:00 lunch hour just doesn’t work for us.  We are usually home by 8:00, and it seems everyone else is just starting to think about their evening’s meal and entertainment.imageWe take a tea break and have this great view of the Toledo Cathedral, but neither of us really feel like going inside, instead we sit in the sun and watch the people in the square.  Great people watching!image

There are lots of knives and swords for sale here, apparently they are made locally. I have a friend who makes beautiful knives and thought he might like seeing these.image imageThere is lots more to see in Toledo but we are tired and need to get on the road to Merida to meet our next host at 8:00.  We drive in pouring rain for the last couple of hours and it continues to come down in buckets when we arrive in Merida, but we meet Ana, our host, and we love our new apartment.image

We have been very pleased with all of our Airbnb apartments so far.  Let’s hope our luck lasts.  I love seeing all the apartments and it is so nice having a kitchen.  We are making most of our meals as that works so much better with my dietary restrictions.imageimage