We arrived at the Rock of Gibraltar this morning, cruising in with a stiff headwind and frothy seas. The passage thru the straits was stormy, but you could still see across this narrow entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. At this point it is only 8 miles from Spain to Africa. The small peninsula that is the actual Rock of Gibraltar was prominently visible on the end of Spain. The top of the Rock itself was obscured by clouds and rain. Once inside the protected harbor it began to clear and by the time we went ashore at 10am, most of the mountain was visible and the rain had subsided. The old part of the city itself is surrounded by walls and fortifications. When you walk inside the old gate you are instantly transported back in time and you can actually feel the power and colonial might that was Britain in their golden age. Over hundreds of years and after numerous attempts, Britain has maintained control of this strategic point on the southern coast of Spain. We saw a cemetery where some were buried after Admiral Nelson defeated Napoleon in 1805. He was
seriously wounded in that battle and upon hearing that victory was at hand he famously stated, “thank god I have done my duty”, and then promptly died. His body was put in a wooden box and this casket was then filled with rum to preserve the body for transport back to England. During the voyage home the sailors drilled small holes in the box to drain out the rum. When they raised their glasses the toast, “Nelson’s Blood”, was famously born. And so it was that after walking all over this glorious bastion of naval power we ended up in the Lord Nelson Pub. It was fashioned completely out of solid rock and absolutely wreaked of history and atmosphere. Several other passengers showed up and we had quite a nice party group. We spent the rest of the afternoon toasting Nelson, Nigel (my English brother-in-law) and all manner of seafaring escapades.