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Published: April 13th 2016
Dateline: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
April 12, 2016
This morning at 5am we passed through the Pillars of Hercules. There is only about 7 miles between Africa and Europe as we head from the Atlantic, into the Mediterranean and our dock at the Rock of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It shares its northern border with the Province of Cadiz in Andalusia, Spain and Morocco can be seen just across the Straits of Gibraltar. Someone said this is the only place in the world where one can see Africa (Morocco), Spain and England all at the same time.
Some of you blog readers may remember the last time we were through here we were in total fog, literally. We made our way up to the “top of the rock” by cable car to see the Barbary Macaque Apes, and as you might also recall, a young ape decided to jump on my shoulders (so fun!) and my friend Sharon was quick with the camera and caught it on “film” which I shared with you. (See the 2010 Europe Blogs ;-)
Well today, 6 years later we are back!
Unlike the last trip, the day dawned sunny and beautiful. In the high 60’s. We stayed in town this time, as we wanted to visit the Gibraltar Museum. We walked from Casement Square down Main Street, past shops and restaurants looking for Bombhouse Lane which came up after only about 10 minutes. We headed down the lane to an austere building with a little sign. Inside was a tiny gift shop where we handed over our 2 pounds each. The museum looks deceptively small, but once inside is comprised of many rooms and hallways all with interesting artifacts including two mummies they found floating offshore in the 1800’s. As we walked down dimly lit hallways we found prints, photographs, coins, pottery, watercolors, artillery, jewelry, even skulls from 5000 BC- and, can you imagine, a beautiful, 5’ X 20’, meticulously painted model of Gibraltar done in 1865 and… of course the mummies ;-) We loved this museum. The best buy ever.
After an hour or so we headed back to Main Street and to the South Wall of the city to see Trafalgar Cemetery. Just as you go through the arch of the wall (that had at one time a
drawbridge), on your left is the small, beautiful, well- kept cemetery. We love cemeteries as they are so rich with history. We sat on a bench thinking about the men who fought here through the centuries. This is a very strategic piece of land at the entrance to the Mediterranean. Every country would love to have it.
We left the museum, took a left and headed down an alleyway toward Main Street to seek out lunch…wouldn’t want to miss a meal ;-) Tons of young people with children in strollers mixed in with the folks from our cruise ship. Busy. Everyone is busy. On Funchal, as here in Gibraltar, recycling is important and we see many places to put trash. As we dodge people on the sidewalk (and walking in the street), we spot some comfortable seats at an outdoor café and snag them. I love that dogs get to go in restaurants here. People with their children and dogs coming and going. Cope has quiche (yes, real men eat cheese and spinach quiche) and I have some amazing vegetable cream soup. We veg in the sun and people watch.
Since Gibraltar is only 2.3 square miles, everyone
is in a very small area. Many of the people who work here live in Spain and come across the border everyday to tend their shops, about 5000 of them from what we understand. There is a road from Gibraltar into Spain, however the runway for the airport crosses it so…when a plane is coming in, the road is closed until the plane has landed. Then they re-open it. Gibraltar looks very much like one would picture an old English village. However walking down the street you hear languages from all over the world.
On our way back to Casement Square we check out a few shops, visit with people we’ve met on the ship and pick up a diet coke near the taxi stand at…Burger King… We know, we know… but it was close and convenient ;-) and was supposed to have internet, but, alas, no connection to be had!
Tomorrow: Cartagena, Spain
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