So the first stop on our Extremadura and Portugal trip was the Roman Ruins, located in Mérida, where we wandered through the anfiteatro and the teatro. While some of it was reconstructed, parts of the stonework had been there since the very beginning.
It was stunning and breathtaking, despite the fact that the anfiteatro was used for events which usually involved blood, pain and ultimately ended in death. As we walked around the stands, it was clear that some of the stone seats had been reconstructed, whereas others had remained. I couldn’t help but think, “May the odds be ever in my favor” when I walked through the tunnel and into the empty arena. Just imagine hundreds of people crowded in the stands, yelling for blood and death. Yesh, it’s absolutely frightening yet awe-striking.
After looking at the little dens where the lions and other ferocious animals (tigers? bears?) where kept for the entertainment of the people, it was hard not to think about how violence has really been embedded into our culture since the beginning. People reject and call for the removal of violence in our current entertainment systems (videogames, movies, tv shows), yet our entertainment has simply evolved from our old ways of entertaining ourselves: watching people fight to the death. It’s funny isn’t it? Considering that our form of violent entertainment is, in a sense, better because no one is actually get hurt for our entertainment.
But those are just my thoughts. Anyway, after the anfiteatro, we went to the teatro.
This itself was another breathtaking ruin. I can’t believe that the Romans were able to build this all out of rock. It was truly incredible. Funnily enough, some of the stone steps leading down to the stage, where people would sit to watch plays such as Oedipus Rex and Antigone (both incredibly mindblowing greek tragedies), were plastic. We had some fun bouncing on them and then realized if they broke it wouldn’t be fun at all. What was interesting about the teatro was that they still perform plays there during the summer. I couldn’t help but think how awesome it must be and what kind of greek or roman plays they would preform.
After the teatro, we walked around the grounds, passing ancient roman bathrooms (I didn’t get a photo of those), a garden and a cute little open house (which I unfortunately don’t remember what it’s used for).
We then were given some free time to grab some lunch, explore the rest of Mérida and just relax until it was time to get back on the bus and continue our way to Cáceres, stopping by the aqueduct to stretch our legs and frolick in the grass.