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Published: April 18th 2010
one of our first views of the big rock!
Hola a todos,
So we left Arcos de la Frontera on Monday morning to drive to Gibraltar. The day was cloudy (the only cloudy day of our trip!) and extremely windy. The province of Cádiz receives a lot of wind I think mostly because it is near the strait of Gibraltar and apparently some people have to receive psychological treatment in the province because all the windy days make them go kind of crazy! The drive took less than 2 hours and when we drove through the passport checkpoint, they looked at our passports but didn't stamp them which was too bad...a Gibraltar stamp would have been pretty cool! We parked the car in a garage and set out to explore the town. We got a map at the tourism office and were told that we should hire a van taxi to go up higher on the rock to see some of the museums and the nature reserve. As the exercise-loving family that we are, we decided to walk up instead. It certainly would have taken much less time to see the sites up on the rock if we had just driven our rental car up there which we later
walking in the town before going up
realized was possible, but really the only annoying thing about walking up like we did was that we had to walk all the way down too, by which time our feet were pretty worn out. This was because the cable-car that we could have taken back down was closed that day due to the wind. Fortunately, the side of the rock where the town and nature reserve are located is protected from the wind so walking around up there wasn't really bad at all. We didn't go all the way up to the top of the rock, only about midway, but I imagine the wind up at the top must have been absolutely tremendous, judging from how the waves looked near the beach!
Our walk up and back down the rock took about 4 hours and our feet were pretty exhausted by the end but we had a good time seeing everything up there. The Moorish castle was our first stop, and then there was a small museum about life during the Great Siege of Gibraltar. This was as an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British and lasted for nearly 4 years from
walking up we began to run into the Barbary Apes on the streets!
July 1779 to February 1783. We also entered a long tunnel where cannons had been placed to defend Gibraltar during various attacks. Along most of our route we saw lots of Barbary Apes as well and I really enjoyed watching them. People are warned to be careful with their purses, cameras, food or anything that they are carrying because the monkeys have been known to snatch things from unattentative people, hehe. When Dad told me this before we climbed the rock I was kind of expecting the monkeys to be somewhat aggressive but from what we saw they seemed perfectly harmless. I think you'd have to either be harassing the monkeys or just leave something sitting around for them to steal something from you...
By the time we returned to the town below again we were very hungry but not too many restaurants were open because it was the day after Easter Sunday. We ended up settling for a British pub-style restaurant that, as to be expected, did not have very good food. Dad's shepherd's pie was passable, but the quiche I ordered had a gummy crust and Mom's shrimp scampi (which is usually shrimp in a kind of
view from the castle
butter sauce) ended up being some kind of fried, breaded cod that was shrimp flavored (basically shrimp flavored fish-sticks...yum!) But we ate most of the food--except for the fish sticks--considering how hungry we were.
Our next stop was Ronda, a pueblo in the province of Málaga. We left Gibraltar around 4 pm and arrived in Ronda around 6 pm. After checking in and parking the car, we took advantage of the rest of the daylight to begin exploring the town. Ronda is divided in two parts by the río Tajo gorge, which could not be more stunning. Our hotel was located right next to the gorge and we had a nice evening walk. That night we had a delicious dinner at an upscale restaurant but we kind of ended up ordering too much food and regretting it later. The paté that we ordered as an appetizer was the best I've ever had though!
We only stayed one night in Ronda so in the morning we went out to walk around the town some more until we had to check out at noon. We found a path that went down the gorge from which you could get a better
loved watching the apes!
view of the Puente Nuevo spanning the gorge. We also entered a former Moorish palace and saw some of the old city walls before checking out. Ronda really is a stunningly beautiful pueblo...all of the buildings are very well maintained and the views of the gorge and the surrounding mountains are great. I can see why is it such a well known place to visit in Andalucía.
Our next stop was Granada.... last chapter about this trip coming!
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