Published: July 14th 2009March 23rd 2002
Who wants to go through all the trouble of securing a UK visa for a day trip to the Rock of Gibraltar? In my home country, a UK visa is as rare as a visa for the US, and costs quite a lot. A day in the Rock of Gibraltar does not do justice to the nearly US$100 we paid for the visa to enter this UK colony.
The Rock is a crown property of United Kingdom in the southern coast of Spain. This limestone promontory juts out into the Strait of Gibraltar and on a clear day, one can enjoy a glimpse of Northern Africa across the Strait . History claims that the area was named after a former slave Tariq who led an army guarding the Rock. Natives thus called the rock Jabal Tariq, which meant Tariq's mount. Through the years, Jabal Tariq assumed the name Gibraltar. It is interesting to mention that before Columbus discovered America, Gibraltar was thought to be the end of the earth. In fact, the Spanish town Tarifa actually means end of something in Arabic. It was thought then that if one were to go beyond Tarifa, one
would fall over the edge of the earth!
With its extended tunnel system or underground passages, the site proved to be a keystone in defending the area against the Germans during World War II. Such military significance inspired the saying "solid as the rock of Gibraltar" . In fact, Prudential Financial uses the Rock as its logo to signify how solid the company is!
Hell Lady Driver from Gibraltar
With 40% of the land area classified as nature preserve, there was very little area and very little to do within the Rock. We took a taxi driven by a 67 year old hell of a driver grandmother cum tourist guide. Cost us 20 euros to zigzag our way up to the highest point . Right on this site, we found the "Two Pillars of Hercules" . The myth went that one of the pillars rests on the Rock , while the second pillar rests on the African side.
We visited one of the hundred caves that can be found in this peninsula . The most famous are St. Michael's Cave and Gorham's cave.
The stalactites are really no different from
the usual, and we found ourselves out of the cave soon enough , only to find that the place at the mouth of the cave is littered with monkeys. My apologies, but I was never a big fan of monkeys. Especially the unruly kind. One even got comfortable sitting on the head of one of the elderly ladies. There were so many we felt crowded out. So we decided to take the cab down and simply check out the shops. Just an hour and a half strolling around, and that was it for our adventure on this rock fortress. If we had a chance to stay a couple more days here, I am almost sure we'd run out of things to do. So there. Been there, done that.