Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our Impromptu Spanish Christmas Vacation – Day Six in Gibraltar

The Monday of our Spanish Christmas trip happened to be my brother’s birthday. We asked him what he wanted to do for his big 2-2 and he said Morocco. Unfortunately, the schedule didn’t work out for that, so Morocco was saved for later in the week and we ended up in Gibraltar.

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Our first view of the Rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar is actually a little part of the U.K. at the very end of the Iberian peninsula. You have to show your passport and go through customs in order to visit. But the actual British area is only the size of a small city, but has an international airport. They actually have to close the highway in order for the planes to land! I was so afraid of getting landed on that I didn’t end up with pictures of it.

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Once we crossed the border, it was a perfect picture point!

It’s easier to park on the Spanish side of the border and walk across.

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We found this awesome statue right across from the airport landing zone. Of course we had to take a picture.

To remind you that you are indeed in the Queen’s Land, there was the traditional red telephone booth…

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And Winston Churchill Avenue.

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We decided to walk into the old town from the border rather than taking the taxi. Once there, we saw the original entrance to the city…

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Originally, this was the only way into Gibraltar other than by sea. This tunnel was rebuilt in 1727.

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We were fascinated by old doors throughout the trip.  

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The shops in Gibraltar’s main street.

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This is a pretty awesome picture of my husband with an old canon.

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Once we had our fill of the city, it was on to the cable car and up the rock. You can see two little things sticking out of the rock in the picture above, and that’s the top where we had to go. It was a crazy angle in that cable car though! So scary.

At the top of the Rock, we took a bunch of pictures of fog – we couldn’t see as far as we had hoped.

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This is looking straight down from the observatory deck.

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We knew it was time to be done at the top of the rock when Mom got attacked by one of the famous Barbary apes that lives on the rock. Seriously.

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She may look innocent, but she’s so not!

This lovely female ape decided that Mom’s red backpack was really quite exciting and needed to see what was inside the bag. We were told that the apes know what food packaging looks and sounds like so not to take any out, because they will grab for it. We were also told that they could operate a zipper – I didn’t quite believe it until I saw this ape jump on Mom’s back and literally try to get into the bag and go for the zipper.

Needless to say, Mom kinda freaked out! We had to be done up there.

We started walking down the mountain and stopped at the St. Michael’s Cave.

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“Known to the Romans and long believed to be bottomless, this cave winds downward some 700 feet into the Rock. The upper hall, fitted out as an auxiliary hospital in 1942, is now used for concerts.”

We found ourselves beneath the surface, in an amazing cave, while hearing classical music bouncing off the formations. Wow.

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This is the area used for concerts, with the red seats at the bottom of the frame, as the audience area.

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We had enough apes, and so we skipped their habitat…

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And went to the siege tunnels.

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The siege tunnels they were carved out by the Merchant Marines in order to defend Gibraltar during one of the many sieges, the first starting in 1779.

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During the time of the American Revolution, Spain and France took the opportunity to try and recapture the Rock from the British, while they were distracted elsewhere.

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The tunnels were used off and on throughout the next two hundred years, and there were displays explaining all of their different uses.

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We kept walking down… and down…

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The tunnels were quite long and the angle at which they angled down was impressive. Climbing out was not fun.

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But climbing in and out of a piece of history was pretty amazing.

After our exploration of the rock, we hit up a hole-in-the-wall English pub, called The Aragon. :) The kitchen, which were seated nearby, was basically a fryer and a hot plate. But it was awesome.

We ended up getting our English experience, albeit it in a totally different place than we had originally intended for our trip!

See how the other days went  – one, two, three, four, and five.


  1. I cant believe that ape attacked your mom's backpack! ha! That's insane! Love the pics! :)

  2. Fascinating! And I love that you still got to go to the UK!