We had a breakfast at 6am at the bar across the street from our hostal with a group of ~8 other pilgrims and were on the road by 6:45. At first we walked along the shoulder of the highway and then a track/trail alongside. The view was similar to yesterday but the vineyards and olive groves were smaller. We had a short day of only 15km before reaching Merida and crossing the Guadiana river on a Roman-built bridge and entered the old part of the city. A young man on the bridge invited us to his “Albergue Insvka Carisia VIII” and guided the way. It’s small, with only two bunkbeds, a kitchen, dining area and bath. We were the only two pilgrims there tonight so had the room to ourselves and got the bottom bunkbeds! All previous bunks we had to sleep in the top bunks. The albergue is convenient to the historic areas and we had a light lunch in a street cafe.
Merida is the the most historically significant city since we left Sevilla. It dates back more than 2000 years to the time of Ceasar Augustus. It’s latin name is derived from Erimata Augustus and was established by discharged soldiers from his armies. It guards the very long Roman bridge across the River Guadiana. We toured the ancient theater and adjacent amphitheater where they held gladiator battles. Tomorrow our route out of the city takes us past a Roman aqueduct.