This morning we where invited to the Extremaduran assembly. It was a very representative place in the middle of the city of Mérida. Here we learnt a bit about how an autonomous region works and that the Extremadura region has more ambitious goals than the Kingdom of Spain! When Spain has 20% of the energy coming from renewable sources, the figure for Extremadura is 50%! Our students also got to meet a politician from the assembly – Mr Felipe Redondo Milara, a member of the socialist party. One of the questions he was asked by our students was: “What are the politicians of Extremadura doing to improve the circular economy of Extremadura?”. He told us about the creation of a new National Park to protect biodiversity and the eco-system of the flora and fauna of the region. There is also approx. 160 other projects going on in the region. Many of those projects are about solar energy replacing fossile fuels as sources of energy production.
Next official visit was at the mayor´s office. The mayor himself: Antonio Rodriguez Osuna, held the opening speech. A panel made up of the head of the board of education, the head of environment and the principal of the Sáenz de Buruaga School told of us about their work with circular economy and sustainable tourism, then all students were presented with a gift from Merida, a T-shirt of course in spanish red.
When all questions had been answered we walked back in time to 37 AD, the date when Augusta Emerita, the “grandfather” of Mérida was founded. The Romans built a fort at the northern banks of the Guadiana river. The fort was later taken over by the arabs and turned into an Alcazaba. A remnant of its roman history is kept alive in the current coat of arms of the city – a two-arched bridge. Our guide through this long history was the archaeologist in charge of the excavations. Whoever was in charge of this fort controlled the only bridge from the north to the south in the province of Lusetania!
Those of us who had some energy left after this went to Dolmen de Lacara and after that we had a dinner together before finally getting a night of sleep, preparing for another busy day experiencing the spanish hospitality.