Extremadura road trip: Badajoz & Merida

Badajoz – Moor’s world: Badajoz is located moments away from the Portuguese border and also boasts some impressive fortress structures in the old town. With some 150,000 inhabitants not too small either. It was here where i felt the historic islamic influence was most visible. The Moors conquered the city in the 8th century and made it a moorish kingdom (Taifa of Badajoz) until it was reconquered and then disputed between Spanish & Portuguese. We took a stroll around the old city wall (in 30+ degrees) and had lunch on a beautiful square before moving on. By now ordering food in spanish was effortless (practice & duolingo training). The newer parts of town looked less appealing.

Merida – lugula! Verbera! Missus! ‘Kill him! Beat him! Pardon him!’ the public would shout in Merida’s amphitheatre according to scriptures. It must have been a popular place in a city that was originally built for honourably retired soldiers – guess you cant switch off from fighting straight away. The arena and nearby temple form the heart of the roman ruins in Merida though there is a lot more around the city such as old bridges and a well preserved aqueduct. There is also an impressive bull fighting arena, but it only opens once a year in September we were told. Nightlife is centered around plaza d’espagna and worth a visit (glass of red for Eur1 anyone?).

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