On Saturday, we didn’t have to wake up nearly as early as Gibraltar is only about an hour away along the coast. Unfortunately, this was the day nature picked to rain on southern Europe so we didn’t get the full effect of Gibraltar – namely, seeing Africa.
It was still very beautiful and it was great to be in a predominantly English-speaking area for a few hours. Gibraltar is owned by the United Kingdom. There is a border with a passport check and customs. However, according to our tour guide (who was delighted that we all spoke English so he could to the tour in English), they receive no financial assistance from Great Britain whatsoever. They have their own government, laws, school system, hospitals, social and economic structure and they are completely self-sufficient. It’s a relatively small city, only a few thousand live there. There are a plethora of churches and pubs, the streets are narrow, and the old city walls cut through the middle of the modern city.
Looming over the whole area is The Rock itself. It’s pretty impressive and somewhat intimidating, especially when you glimpse all the old cannons and battle turrets that dot the cliffs. There are still training facilities for various countries’ military units which still operate up on the mountain. On the whole, it’s fairly quiet and peaceful. There’s a bustling atmosphere down on Main Street where all the tourists go to shop, but up on the mountain itself, it’s quiet.
Even the monkeys don’t say much.
But they will jump on you.
Our tour guide dropped us off at a system of caves about halfway up the mountain and told us he’d meet us on the other side. The caves were lovely and actually house a natural theatre the locals use for concerts and shows. At the exit was a souvenir shop where I bought my requisite keychain and some water. I also bought some cookies.
Earlier, our guide told us to keep purses closed and anything wrapped in plastic out of sight as the monkeys identify that as food and will try to take it from you. He said there would be a few by the vans when we came out so to be careful. I did not expect a monkey to be right outside the exit of the shop.
Yes, he jumped on me.
I kept my cookies though. Take that, monkey.
The guide took us further up the mountain to show us the views (what we could see through the weather) and told us stories about the area, cracking jokes the whole time (I love British humor). It was a ton of fun and I would love to go back and just hang out there for a few days.
Or live there.
When we returned to our penthouse, we dressed for dinner and returned to El Cortijillo for Paul’s birthday. It was a lot of fun, filled with good food, good wine, some flaming sambucas and great company. We met some of Beth and Paul’s friends who lived in the same apartment complex as them and received multiple invites to various peoples’ homes should we ever visit England. We were peppered with questions about our accents (or, in my case, my lack of accent), our views on our new President, differences in language, and we compared “misconceptions” we all run into meeting people not from our country.
Needless to say, we returned to the resort a little on the tipsy side but looking forward to our beach day the next day. It was to be our last day and we couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than on the Mediterranean beach.