I'm liking Merida so far. Actually, I'm really enjoying the whole pilgrimage experience so far. Thoroughly recommend it for anyone wishing to take a holiday to benefit mind and body. That said, I managed to wake up on the river bank with a horrible hangover this morning. A very beautiful river bank mind, and another very beautiful sunny morning. Still hitting the high 20's degrees C by day here with very mild nights.
There are Two very elegant bridges in Merida that possibly represent what the city is about to me. A city of contrasts. Roman remains are everywhere. A restored temple and a well preserved theatre are perhaps the best examples amongst the amphitheatre, aquaduct, gateways and mosaics and many others. Or, perhaps the bridge Puente Romano is the very best example. An elegant, yet robust bridge that crosses Guadiana river a couple of hundred Meters south of the extremely elegant, neon lit Puente Lusitania. On one hand Merida is as traditional and conservative as any other small Spanish city. Family oriented in every aspect with a very rigid routine that has remained unchallenged for generations. On the other hand it has a very contemporary vibe. Modern pastimes like jogging and martial arts seem to be very popular. All the children seem to be very well educated on matters of health. I'm frequently being told that smoking is very bad for me. The neon lit bridge at night gives a very cosmopolitan, big city atmosphere at the river crossing. It lies. This is a very small and stayed city in reality. I like it, but find it all a bit to 'D&G image is everything' for a city to live in. I can't see a place for me here.
I went to the albergue to claim my free bed, but it had already closed. Most of Spain and Spanish culture happens at night. You can't really live the city if you're in bed by 9PM. So, I bought a bottle of wine and headed towards the churreteria where I intended to take breakfast in the mroning. I found a nice quiet spot by the river with magical reflected views of both brightly lit bridges and slept for a good 10 hours comfortably. No snoring pilgrims. No smelly feet. No monster coughing loudness at Five in the morning. I was woken by ducks quacking with feet of my ears.
Cash wise was a healthy day yesterday. Spoke to a local journalist and photographer, so maybe I've made a spot in the local rag today. That may help me, or it may not. It will include a link to this blog. I'll either get lynched by the religious zealots, or find that they have a sense of humour after all.
Unbelievably, my belly is growing despite all the hiking. Must do something about my very unhealthy churros and chocolate habit. I wake every morning craving fat, sugar and chocolate!