After driving 250 miles southwest from Madrid, we finally arrived in Mérida, home to many Roman ruins.
This was actually the second Mérida that Cris and I had been to, and the story of the first is funny. It was our “trip from hell.”
When we first met and got married, Cris worked for Continental Airlines, and I traveled for free on her “buddy passes.” However, with a buddy pass you travel on space available. One time we were trying to get from Denver to Cancun, but as you can imagine, all seats were filled. We looked on the Continental route map, and saw that they flew to Merida on the Yucatan peninsula, and there was space available. It looked like a few hour drive at most to Cancun, and we figured we’d take a cab. We were young, adventurous, and threw caution to the wind as we got onto the plane.
Ha! When we got to Mérida, which we really liked, and looked into a cab, people there told us it’d be several hundred $. We were young, adventurous, and poor, so we figured we had to find another way. We walked to the bus station and found that we could take a bus for cheap in the morning. But that would require an overnight, so we found a cheap hotel, had a nice dinner, and checked in for the night.
The next morning I couldn’t find one of my contact lenses. And of course, I hadn’t bothered to bring a spare set. So now I was effectively blind in one eye, squinting to try to get some semblance of vision as we walked back to the bus station.
Cris and I are hyper-punctual, so we were at the station early, and had first dibs on seating. We decided to sit in the very back seat of a Greyhound bus on the right. The bus began to fill up and when every seat was filled, we were excited to get on our way. Cancun! Cervesa! Margaritas! Here we come!
But then, more people continued to stream onto the bus. Pretty soon the aisle was filled with people standing. We thought, “Wow, are people going to stand in the aisles for hours?” Yep. Then, two guys climbed up our seats to lay in 69 position in the “free” space behind our heads. We looked at each other with the expression of “Really?” It gets better.
Shortly after that some guy gets on the bus with chickens. Yes, chickens. The organic, cage free sort.
At that point, the bus departs. And instead of going down the highway, of course, this bus is going to stop at every little town in the Yucatan for people to get off and on the bus. What could have been a 3 hour ride became 8 hours. And since we knew we would end up standing in the aisles with the chickens if we were to get up and do a bio break at one of the many stops, we decided to hold it. For 8 hours. With two guys behind our heads. And chickens near our feet. And I can’t see out of one eye.
We finally got to Cancun, and of course, a tropical storm had hit. Although we were able to check into our room, it was stormy and blustery the next day and was projected to be that way for days. We finally decided to abort the whole trip. We were lucky to get to the airport and find there were seats available back to Denver. Thus ends our first Mérida experience.
Mérida, Spain was much more fun. We found a nice hotel room, had a great tapas dinner, and the next morning toured all the ruins.
Mérida was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC, and includes the Teatro Romano which is still used today.
Next to the theater is a Circus Maximus.
An old Roman bridge, the Puente Romano, over the Guadiana River that is still in use, and is the longest of all existing Roman bridges.
And also an aqueduct, the Acueducto de los Milagros (aqueduct of Miracles).
After touring the ruins in the morning, we got back into the car and headed north to Salamanca.