mérida / un fin de semana en cáceres
Throughout the semester here in Spain, my program has a few weekend and day trips that are all included in the program fee. These are nice because not only does it give us a chance to travel with all 24 of us Iowa State students, but we also don't have to pay or plan for anything! Our first was a little day trip to Mérida, the capital of Extremadura. (The region of Spain that I am in).
Mérida is only an hour away by bus, so it was the perfect day trip. This World Heritage Site is home to some of the most well preserved Roman ruins, including an aqueduct, bridge, theater, and lots more. My personal favorite was the Roman theater (el teatro romano) which is actually still used today. Every summer in July and August, this beautiful outdoor theater still hosts plays, musicals, and other live shows. It's crazy to think that something built in 15 B.C. is not only still around and looking so beautiful, but also still used.
After returning from Mérida on Friday afternoon, I was really looking forward to finally having a relaxing weekend at home in Cáceres. It was exactly what I needed after traveling the past few weekends. On Saturday, my host brother Javi and his sweet girlfriend took me and my roommate Abby to a nature preserve nearby, called Los barruecos. The preserve has a super unique look, filled with giant granite boulders and lakes. It is also famous for being the location of a Game of Thrones scene. Now, I don't watch Game of Thrones, but I'm told that the dragon scene that was filmed there is pretty iconic. ;) After strolling around the park and laughing at each other's Spanish and English skills, we ended the night back in the lovely Plaza Mayor de Cáceres, where we enjoyed some gelato, chatted and people-watched. On Sunday, I slept until noon and did a whole lot of nothing, and it was amazing. It was the best relaxed weekend I could have asked for. :)