Only place in Europe free monkeys call home. On the tip of Spain owned by the United Kingdom, closest point to Africa.
Today we took our first official tour of the trip to visit the Strait of Gibraltar. The tour included wondering the streets, a trip up to the St. Michael's Caves and to see the monkeys. Gibraltar is the only place in Europe that has free monkeys. The city of Gibraltar is owned by the British and was a heavily fought for area throughout time due to its access to the Mediterranean Sea countries for the outside European countries and vice versa and Northern Africa. The country that owned the Strait had access to a large taxes of ships. Spain eventually surrendered the territory to the British, but have first right of purchase if Britain ever wanted to give it up. The town is rapidly expanding and is planning on building on the other side of the rock and also about a hundred years ago the city built out beyond the sea waters. When we entered the city, we had to pass through the Spanish border patrol and United Kingdom patrol, but neither would stamp my passport. On the tour to Europa Point, we learned that in the rock system they had built a city in the rock due to fear of an attack during WWII. The caves were incredible and very alive. The drapes and arches were the best I had ever seen. However, the highlight of the trip were the people we met. There were two retired Scotland police officers. One rented out an apartment for a month at a time during the off-season in different places every year and the other took 2 weeks to visit. The other group that was incredibly entertaining was 4 elderly friends from Long Island, NY. We befriended Myarian who told us how she came from Columbia at 17 and worked in a hotel. Prior to coming, she had some training in nursing. Her boss found that out and said you will not be cleaning hotels for the rest of your life and paid for her schooling. She has been a nurse for the last 50 years. But she was the crazy friend you want, demanding people turn for photos in the tour bus even through she doesn't know you. We ended up helping them get back to the bus station and she has been demanding we schedule our trip to Long Island ever since.