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Published: November 13th 2016
Tuesday, November 8
Today we visited Gibraltar. The bus rode along the coast past the playgrounds of the sun bunnies and the rich and famous. We passed a toney club where the elite meet and greet and Julio Inglasious appears every August. George Clooney owns a home here and Sean Connery plays golf. The King of Saudi Arabia built a replica of the White House here and left it to his son Prince Faud. One of Faud's pleasures is shopping but he hates crowds so the upscale shopping center stays open at night just for him.
The day was chilly but the sky is severe clear blue and the sun is warming. After about two hours we crossed the boarded from Spain and the boarder into Gibraltar, looked both ways before driving across the airport runway, and headed into town. We switched from a large tour bus to two small mini buses with a new guide Alexander. Born on the rock and a seasoned veteran, he was proud of his home, proud of his Queen and proud of the history of the Rock.
The roads are very narrow and most have parking
on one side Making the drive itself an adventure. As we climbed, we drove through the rock in tunnels made with "gun powder, hammers, chisels and good old English Engineering". There was just enough room for the van and a runner we met in the middle.
Our first stop was at a lighthouse, purported to be the oldest in the Commonwealth. Directly across the water is Africa, to the right the Atlantic and to the left. the mighty Mediterranean. One can easily understand why the British have clung to sovereignty over this small, 2x6 sq mile, piece of land over the centuries. The Med is only eight miles wide here and whoever controls the Rock controls the sea lanes from and to the Atlantic. Currently the population is about 30,000 while 1,000 military train inside the rock for duty around the world. Inside the rock is 32 miles of roads, and everything needed to provide for a force of 6,000. During WWII, the British locked up the German fleet inside the Med but also feared a land invasion from the Spanish dictator Franco. Thus the troops.
At the lighthouse there is also a 17th
century Catholic Church and a 20th century Mosque. This land has known Phoenicians from the East, Muslims from North Africa, Romans, Spanish, and British with a couple of other short conquests in between.
After we took pictures we boarded the bus for the Cave of St. Michael a large cave in the limestone rock that has been fitted with ramps, stairs, chairs and colored lights changing from blue to red to purple to yellow. It would have been spectacular in a natural light but did not photograph well in technicolor. The best part was the Macaque tailless monkeys that posed endlessly for photos. There were eleven babies no bigger than small cats and the adults probably topped out at 40lb. They seemed to want to go for a ride as they climbed on top the bus, found a seat on the rear view mirror and clambered around until we started to move and then jumped off.
We stopped at an Italian restaurant at Irish Place and had a bite then sat in the sun until it was time to leave for the hotel.
Very interesting and historic place. Now scratched from the bucket
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