It was as hot as it generally gets in the town of Mérida that august of 1972. It was on this old capital of the Romans- Lusitania province- that we spent some time and met some of my family having reached the nearest point to the Portuguese border we would get to, on the Interrail stretch.
Mérida is an interesting place: founded in 25 BC by order of Emperor Augustus it preserves to our time the longest remaining bridge from the Roman times, the one over the Guadiana River. Some of its remaining monuments are the amphitheater, triumph arch and theatre.
“In 713 it was conquered by the Muslim army under Musa bin Nusair, and became the capital of the Cora of Mérida; the Arabs re-used most of the old Roman buildings and expanded some, such as the Alcazaba.The city returned to Christian rule in 1230, when it was conquered by Alfonso IX of Léon and subsequently became the seat of the priory of San Marcos de León of the Order of Santiago. A period of recovery started for Mérida after the unification of the crowns of Aragon and Castile (15th century), thanks to the support of Alonso Cardenas, Grand Master of the Order. In 1720 the city became the capital of the Intendencia of Mérida.” Wikipedia.
It was sitting on the seats of the ancient theatre that we chose to immortalize our family gathering in the Spanish Extremadura. My sister Joana, a 14 year old teenager, by brother Pedro 18 and my mother Pamela 43 can be seen in the picture together with me João, at 20.Mona, 20 holding the camera!
Nobody could tell when we would be able to see Portugal and being so near was a special feeling for me at any rate.
From now on our return trip was on and our holiday beginning to end. We got in touch with our Spanish cousin Martinho and it was decided we would pay him a call when we arrived in Madrid!