As we headed southwest from Madrid to Mérida, we saw a sign along the highway for a Roman amphitheater, so we pulled over and ended up in Medellín.
I’m a Greek and Roman history buff and wanted to see as much “ruinas romanas” as possible. The Romans settled the village in 74 BC.
We ended up driving over an old bridge, which was really narrow. At one point another car entered at the opposite side toward us, and I thought for sure we’d need to backtrack, but we passed each other slowly without issue. I was so glad we didn’t get the original vehicle the rental company assumed we Americans wanted – it was monstrous. We downsized to a small Peugeot which made driving and parking in Spain so much easier, and I got to dust off my stick driving skills.
After getting over the the bridge and up to the castle on the hill we parked the car and started walking. Absolutely no one was there. We found out the castle was closed for the day, but we were able to walk around and take photos without any issue.
We learned that this was the birthplace of Hernan Cortes in 1485, the Spanish Conquistador who fought the Aztecs in Central America and colonized large portions of Mexico. Additionally, Columbia’s second largest city is named for the town (and yes, the drug cartel!)