Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Day 127: Around Gibraltar - Tues 9 Sept

Day 127: Around Gibraltar - Tues 9 Sept
Another country today – England is our 17th for 2014 (albeit Gibraltar only!), and the Rock on the peninsula where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean another milestone on our bucket list. Taxi 60€, show passports into British territory (since 1704), took buses then cable-car up massive rock.

Magnificent view of Levant fog and Africa beyond
Couldn't even guess??

View over Gibraltar from cable car

Seriously impressive....
Watched the monkeys in the colony of Barbary Macaques in the Nature Reserve, cranky, cheeky, curious. Silly young tourist let one into cafe as we had just sat down with morning tea, and large one caused mayhem by jumping up on table and snatching BoyRob’s scone and sending his coffee flying. Monkey escaped, food replaced by staff, peace restored…

The offenders plotting at entrance to Cafe




Walked to top of Rock for views over British peninsula; Morocco, Africa; Tarifa Port, Spain. 

Walked through spectacular St Michael’s Cave (said to be bottomless!), magnificent stalactites and stalagmites and cathedral cavern under light show. 


Next was 3km walk to other side of Rock to see Princess Charlotte's bastion and cannons, a lime kiln (eg whitewash cistern linings, pour over plague victims in mass graves), Siege Tunnels (14 sieges in Rock's fortified history - eg when Spain tried to take back Rock) and WWII tunnels (hospitals, water tanks and channels, power stations, munition magazines).

Lime kiln


View from tunnels onto runway bisecting isthmus

Walked down to Siege exhibition describing life during early siege conditions, and past Charles V vertical wall.


Continued our walk down the Rock to Moorish Castle, previously the "Tower of Homage". Moors of North Africa were Gibraltar's first permanent inhabitants. 

View through merlons over city

Regular apertures in cliff face

Walked/ limped final half hour down through terraces in city to waterfront, reckon we did at least 7kms "up hill and down dale" today. Through Grand Casemates Gate/ Sea Gate into town square, setting up for National Flag Day tomorrow, flags and bunting across streets, flying from balconies etc.

"Keep Gibraltar British"
Ahoy down there!


Cannons everywhere....

"Depressing carriage" - to shoot DOWN rockface

Such a “British” town, with its red pillar boxes and English labelled shops. English pub for late lunch of pie, roast and cider. Called it a day, caught bus and had to wait in traffic in heat before we could cross airport runway (built in WWII it crosses the isthmus and neatly intersects main north-south road!) back to passport control where no-one looked at them as we walked out the gates. Missed one of only four Tarifa buses a day, so had to taxi back. Exhilarated, too tired for anything but soup for dinner, shower bought out day’s sunburn. 

Gibraltar Brew
Trafalgar Pub
Planes on runway take precedence over vehicle traffic

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