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Gibraltar Rocks

By Ben

sunny 21 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.



After our Moroccan holiday we feel we can tackle anything, so why not tackle another “country” in just five hours. Gibraltar is not technically a country but it is like a quick trip to Britain without the need to cross the channel. “The Rock” is less than an hour from Tarifa and it is bit to Spaniards like Point Roberts is to Canada: a cheap place to get gas and hard liquor. When Gibraltar came into view from the highway we instantly could recognize why it is of such strategic significance. It is a huge rock promintory that seems to rise out of nowhere and commands the land and the sea.

The car line up into Gibraltar is astonishingly long; we hear it is often a 2 hour wait to cross the border. For a piece of land that is less than 7 square kilometers its 30,000 inhabitants love their vehicles. We chose to park our car and walk over the border to explore what we could on foot. Today we were not in the mood for museums or too much in terms of the historical. We were mostly interested in a good hike, a good view and a peek at the apes.

An interesting quirk of walking or driving into Gibraltar is that within a couple of hundred meters your path is interrupted by the Gibraltar’s airport runway. The gates came down to block the road and our pathway to allow an Airbus airplane to take off. Once the plane took off the gate came up and we literally walked across the runway to enter into the rest of the territory (no wasted space here).

Gibraltar: Abby feels at home

Gibraltar: Abby feels at home

The densely inhabited portions of Gibraltar has the iconic British telephone boxes and its fair share of pubs but isn’t quite England in microcosm or even as British looking as Victoria for that matter. It definitely is stretched for liveable space and seems to have devoted a large portion of its territory to a pretty active port. The real neat stuff is higher up on the rock itself which is riddled with 30 miles of tunnels, numerous old gun emplacements and some fairly narrow cliff face roads.

Gibraltar: Barbary apes

Gibraltar: Barbary apes

We walked nearly the length of the rock and were more than two-thirds of the way up its elevation. We were on the lookout for the Barbary Macaques (often referred to as Apes but really are tailless monkeys) and it didn’t take us too long to find them. They are very tame and curious and made for a lot of viewing fun. Legend has it that when the Barbary Apes leave so will the British. During World War II, Churchill ordered that measures be taken to make sure the population of apes was well-fed and maintained to prevent any possible exodus of these guardians of the British realm. The special care continues to this day to make sure the Barbary Macaques population is well-fed and continues to breed for the good of all Gibraltar citizens.

After our hike and a quick ice cream (the temperature was above 21 degrees) we got back in our car and drove three hours to Granada. We are staying in a motel/campground which provides the very basics in accommodation for more than what we paid in Luz, nevertheless we are quite happy to be putting our feet up. The camp host speks excellent English and is a dead ringer for an Aussie but Muriel found out he was a native of Granada and has spent just enough time in Australia to learn English (the accent and Aussie slang just seemed to be a bonus).
In the morning we will visit the Alhambra, the most visited historic site in Spain.

Posted by KZFamily 14:12 Archived in Gibraltar Tagged granada gibraltar

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We really enjoyed Gibraltar as well. After living in Spain for a year, it was a welcome change to speak English and feel "at home". However, my Spanish friends were less than impressed that we went there. They do not feel it is British land, but think it is theirs. Some strong emotions came out.

Enjoy Granada!

by David Hatherly

Hi Ben and family,
Thank you for all the up-dates and pictures. It was also nice to talk to Ben and Hannah this morning. It took some time this morning to read all the reports and see all the pictures.
During WW2 we learned a lot about the Rock of Gibraltar. It was of great importance during that war. We also learned about the Apes. They are not real apes but they are monkeys and have a third DNA , which the apes in North Africa don’t have. It is very interesting to read about the origin of the apes on the Rock.
Are there still English speaking people there?

by G.Koning

I am really enjoying your travels secondhand. You are all so descriptive and informative. Take care and God bless you on our continued travels. Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year. What a wonderful time for your family!

by Linda Sanguez

Man I learn a lot from you guys! I had heard about the airport runway, but not about the apes - how fun! Just so you know, we're off to Kelowna tomorrow for almost a week and I plan to be unplugged while we're away so I'll catch up with you again later, just in case you miss my comments :) We wish you the most memorable of Christmasses, which I think is very possible, and pray that you feel the love of God in a very real way. Much love to the 4 of you from the 5 of us!

by Judy Aalders

23:45 pst 20/12/12
Well, my family in Barbados and Australia are still alive so I need not worry about the 21st of December 2012.
You all have had quite the cultural experience and you will have the same sense of merchants in Africa, Caribbean evem Italy.
Yes, a Muslim country , expect to see less woman walking about though the price for a dowery seemed a bit low. Ben could have haggled for more :)
My cruise forumn folks have told me endless stories of these markets and everybody who approach you with limited English to show you around, Mexico is the one nearest us for this.
Have been Xmas shopping and we even had frost / snow a few days ago, The new Port Mann bridge in Vancoouver was closed yesterday as ICE fell from the cables smashing car windows et etra.

by RobBar

PS; Enjoyed your pictures and hearing you enjoyed one of our Anglican services. We try...

by RobBar

Hope you're enjoying the sunny south of Spain. It's a winter wonderland here in Courtenay complete with snowfall warning.

Feliz Navidad.


by Jane1

Hello dear family,
Wow, your Africa adventure was indeed one that you will always remember. Thanks for the great travel report.
The photos from Gibraltar show me what a beautiful spot it is. I love the photo of the monkeys.
And by now you will probably be back in Spain where you are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. I wish you a very merry and joyous Christmas and across the ocean send you all many blessings.

by Edith Roslee

08:20 pst 24/12/12
Happy Christmas to all

by RobBar

NO Snow here

by RobBar

We always enjoy knowing we are having warmer weather than back home.

by KZFamily

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