Goin’ South

Gibraltar. It is crawling with critters, and riddled with holes. We had a fun (and expensive) day of sightseeing.

Gentlemen - welcome to The Rock!
Gentlemen – welcome to The Rock!

Border crossing was easy, just walk about a kilometer from our hotel room in Spain, flash our passports at the officials and continue walking into Gibraltar. Gibraltar is a self-governing territory of Great Britain. Still on the Iberian peninsula, but different language, different currency from Spain.

Resemblance?
Resemblance?

We hopped onto the bus to go out to the point, where the Atlantic meets the Meditarranean. We saw the lighthouse, and the mosque and various monuments, then walked back into the town to have lunch. We were in Britain for the day, so we had English pub fare. Trog had the fish and chips and I had a jacket potato topped with baked beans and cheddar cheese. Then we took the cable car to the top of the rock. The upper parts of Gibraltar are a nature reserve inhabited by over 200 Barbary Apes.

No resemblance. (Aside from The Look of Great Disapproval.)
No resemblance.

The “apes” are actually macaques, the only monkey species without a tail. They seem tame, they are very comfortable around humans, but they are wild and have been known to bite. Visitors are warned not to try to eat anything in the preserve because the macaques will take any food that appears. We got to witness this when a foolish man tried to eat an apple while enjoying the view. The monkeys were all over him, and then they reached into his girlfriend’s tote bag and ran off with a bag of almonds.

We walked down from the top, through the preserve to see the sights along the way. We started with St. Michael’s Cave. I have been in several caves and this was the most beautiful one I have ever seen.

Inside The Rock - which is surprisingly hollow in some places. St. Michael's Cave amphitheater area.
Inside The Rock – which is surprisingly hollow in some places. St. Michael’s Cave amphitheater area.
St. Michael's Cave. Lighting added for dramatic effect.
St. Michael’s Cave. Lighting added for dramatic effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued on to see the siege tunnels, the World War II tunnels and the Moorish Castle.

The rock has long been used as a symbol of solidity, but it has holes and tunnels running all through it. The upper tunnels were dug during  The Great Siege, that lasted over three years. Soldiers tunneled through the rock using only hand tools to reach a position from which they could fire on the troops assembled below. The lower tunnels were excavated during WWII to provide sheltered quarters and a hospital for allied troops.

Military planning at its finest: a mortar cut into The Rock itself, intended to rain havoc upon attackers.
Military planning at its finest: a mortar cut into The Rock itself, intended to rain havoc upon attackers.
And as you can see, it rained havoc on the DEFENDERS...
And as you can see, it rained havoc on the DEFENDERS…
Spain on the other side of the airport terminal there. (Yes, you cross this runway to get IN to town. Planes have the right-of-way, of course.)
Spain on the other side of the airport terminal there. (Yes, you cross this runway to get IN to town. Planes have the right-of-way, of course.)
One of the cannons that used to be INSIDE The Rock and would fire upon attackers.
One of the cannons that used to be INSIDE The Rock and would fire upon attackers.
Uniforms of defenders past, firing cannons from protective tunnel positions. Helmet was probably wise - not thinking this is a place for a dress, though.
Uniforms of defenders past, firing cannons from protective tunnel positions. Helmet was probably wise – not thinking this is a place for a dress, though.

Next: Tarifa, and Morocco

2 Replies to “Goin’ South”

  1. You can’t say it’s the most beautiful cave you’ve ever seen and then not post a picture!

    1. Sorry about that – text takes-up much less of the limited Internet we had – pictures take a lot, so they had to wait 🙁 Fixed though!

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