- Monkeys, Caves, and The Brits -
During our trip around Spain, the one place I really looked forward to the entire trip wasn’t even technically in Spain. Don’t get me wrong… I was excited to see places like Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona, but The Rock of Gibraltar with its tail-less monkeys and St. Michael’s cave had me giddy like a school girl. Gibraltar is a British territory, so we took a break from practicing our Spanish as they speak English just like the British do in England.
The day was warm as we were at the southern most point on Spain’s Iberian Peninsula, so a sleevless Carven animal print top with denim shorts with sailor buttons, Chanel sunnies, and the Marc Jacobs shoulder bag with sandals fit the needs of the day well.
Gibraltar has an unusual geographic situation being so close to Morocco only separated by a little water (you can see Morocco from the Rock) and being the tip of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s inhabitants for the most part want to remain a part of Great Britain and are very passionate about NOT being part of Spain, as our guide for the day insisted. To get to Gibraltar when you’ve been in Spain, you need your passport and again to get back to Spain. Gibraltar and Spain have the most interesting airport/border situation. When you cross into/walk into Gibraltar, you show your passport then either walk across or get on a mini bus to take you up the mountain. Well, the only road into Gibraltar runs straight through their only airport landing/takeoff strip! (Which is super short, too) When a plane is landing or taking off, traffic has to stop (including those on foot crossing the runway). Again, this is the only way in… and out. There’s a slight bit of fear that overcomes you being in a small vehicle crossing where you just saw a jet take off… Thinking, surely a plane is about to land on us. We were fine, but you really should see this once in your life for yourself.
Once across the airport, we ventured up the Rock to St. Michael’s Cave. This cave full of stalagmites & stalagtites is also now the spot for numerous concerts, weddings, and events like pageants. Miss Spain was held in the beautiful cave. Incredible acoustics and an experience we won’t forget. But, our favorite part of Gibraltar was the Barbary apes! These are tail-less macaques (rock apes) that are pretty friendly. The mischievous monkeys will take an open purse/bag as an invitation to stick their hand in and grab whatever they find like a camera or phone. I knelt down to take a picture of the cute little baby monkey to which he thought was a great opportunity to try to grab my camera. Little stinker! You can see in the photos above (bottom left) how the macaques climb on the buses and sometimes end up inside if there’s an open window. And the bottom right photo is the baby macaques on his way to steal my camera that I snapped before the grab. They liked being given water from a bottle as my husband did.
The Rock of Gibraltar is full of tunnels used during WWII and other bits of history we viewed as the guide brought us back down the mountain. The views from the top and road on the way down are pretty incredible, too. At the recommendation of Lonely Planet, we grabbed lunch at the oldest bar in Gibraltar - The Star Bar. The hubby had fish & chips for a full British feel with typical English food on the menu and beer on tap.
There’s always a chance the border won’t be open to visitors on any given day, so we were so happy we made it to visit Gibraltar, her monkeys, rock, and historic areas. Another pass across the airport runway and we were back in Spain to continue on our adventure.