Mérida, Spain (Mérida, España)
We had become so accustomed to the awesomeness of having freshly squeezed orange juice every morning with breakfast in Liencres that after our departure we had immediately invested in a portable squeezer for ourselves. It was possibly the most rewarding €2 I've spent in my whole life! Our first day in Mérida, we awoke in our heavily classical Roman themed hotel (with fake marble statues of lithe young women in the lobby) and partook in the zumo de naranja. Yannick deemed us zumo wrestlers as it takes some elbow grease to get all that goodly juice from the oranges.
Along a dusty pathway the casa was connected to another site, Los Columbarios, which is a 4th-century necropolis containing two families' crypts (also with sweet frescoes inside).
Once we entered through the iron gate of the site, we were allowed peace and quiet once more, with a few tourist comrades admiring the ancient stones. Boasting a capacity of 15,000 spectators, some epic gladiatorial fights were undoubtedly had in the eras of emperors.
With the afternoon wearing on, we made to leave but could not find the blasted exit. We followed the signs, but no salida! We tried to leave the same way we came in, but an officious Spaniard told us we couldn't go that way. So we walked back across the site and found ourselves hemmed in by fencing once again. The signs were wildly misleading! We asked a kindly looking man who was spraying weeds with death potion, and he told us to exit the way we had entered. I knew it!
The only non-Roman site we saw that day was the alcazaba, a Moorish castle that had been built in 835 and was now left in ruins. We took a walk along the ramparts to avoid a howling group of schoolchildren and enjoyed the views over the river as we waited for their excitable shrieking to move elsewhere. Who should we encounter there but selfie girl! She had caught up to us, hopped up on the crenelations and was posing for more selfies.
We didn't notice how close we were to the child horde as we were exiting the alcazaba and we became stuck in a traffic jam as two teachers performed a headcount. School trips are not fun for anyone except the kids, who are only happy because they don't have to be trapped in a classroom all day. They didn't care about the history! They were all babbling to each other the whole time.
Once we staggered back to our hotel, we decided we quite liked Mérida and should stay one extra night. But the receptionist told us that they were booked out, so with heavy hearts knowing we had but one day left in the city, we collapsed and fell into a lunch-induced coma for four hours.