Gibraltar, British Territory
We’re talking locations again, and I’ve settled for… Gibraltar! I know, we’re going the way of British territories, and that is why I’ve placed this post in the ‘England’ section in Destinations – don’t blame me, blame Churchill, Mrs May and the monkeys.
Once described as ‘the end of the world’ by those in the pre ‘the Earth is actually round’ era (Greeks and Phoenicians, I’m looking at you), I first learnt about Gibraltar whilst watching a cartoon during the lamb years (it was The Mummy series which I found rather entertaining – again, locations sell!) An animated Evie Carnahan (sorry Maria Bello but Rachel Weisz will always come first) described Gibraltar for what it was once considered… so my intrigue took off.
I got the opportunity to see the place for myself when I was in Malaga, in the south of Spain – I was originally going to spend one or two days in Gibraltar but the logistics were working against me at the time, so I settled for a day trip. It did make things easier and a friend of mine told me that one day was enough for the territory – only thing I wasn’t happy about was the rain!
The whole day I was treated to some of the coldest and windiest conditions I’d encountered on my European adventure – Europa Point almost acted as a deathtrap when the tour bus stopped for some minutes.
Upon looking through my photos though, I realise now that the wind did allow for some clear conditions so that’s one big ole plus!
Was I happy about the weather, not so much, but when seeing the wet cobblestones (yes, Gibraltar has cobblestones… and red double deckers driving around) I felt that it kind of worked well together. However, I am aware that it can be rather nice during the summer and Unsplash was kind enough to provide your good Sheep with this.
Does inspire one to go back for a second stint in the future. This mix of European, and Moroccan, cultures does work for me – where else can one have a Nutella donut for breakfast and a lamb tagine for lunch?!
And to think I was going to order the chicken. The waiter at the pub was looking a little nervous when he told me they were out of chicken… but were rolling in lamb. I’m like, I’m from Straya mate. If any Aussies are heading over there, be sure to educate on what works for us without failure.
Now, things to do in Gibraltar – I can tell you now, one day was looking rather logical to me. You could potentially get it all done in one day and if you planned on making your legs hate you something fierce. Unlike my London post, Other Sides Do It For Me, I’m able to go into a little more depth.
One, I’ll just get it out of the way – the rock! The Rock of Gibraltar, which has been known as Mons Calpe to the Romans and Jabal Tāriq to the Arabs (Tariq’s Mountain) is something you must look at if you’re ever on the Iberian Peninsular in general.
This limestone beauty reaches 426 meters in height and is covered in a nature reserve that homes the Macaques (more to come on them).
This is definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to see the territory of Gibraltar – shit, it’s THE ONLY REASON KIDDIES! My only advice is to ensure you’re standing far back enough to get a decent shot… and that the weather is kind.
Fortunately I found this shot which obviously shows the bad boy in a better light.
If this doesn’t make the end of the world look good, I don’t know what will… and here’s a fun fact for Game of Thrones fans – the Rock of Gibraltar was the basis for Casterly Rock, the family home of the Lannisters where Cersei and Jaime started experimenting.
Two, you must, MUST check out St Michael’s Cave. This limestone beauty (I’m repeating myself it seems, but this Sheep refuses to lie!) is within the rock itself and is the most visited of the 150 (that’s right) caves.
We entered during one of the many downpours so the visit proved rather convenient.
The multi coloured lights on display added some much liked touches and Now We Are Free, by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, was playing on the speakers which was a lovely touch if I’m being honest (the theme song from Gladiator kiddies) – Coldplay was on the go at one point also.
We spent about… twenty minutes in the cave which I feel was enough – all you’re doing it going down some stairs – and what you find after the exist may satisfy for the better.
The Barbary Macaques are all over Gibraltar and are believed, by one Winston Churchill, to be the reason why the British will always remain in Gibraltar. No macaques, no Brits. It’s the same with London and its ravens – no ravens, no Brits.
The former Prime Minister had them brought in from North Africa just so he could prove his point, and now they number at around 300. For the record, and his stint on Doctor Who might have something to do with this… I do think he wasn’t all there in the head.
Now, because it’s useful to know, the Macaques weren’t dangerous whatsoever – they were very peaceful and were easy to get a dodgy selfie with. Park rangers were on call and were very vocal about people NOT touching the monkeys. Seemed reasonable.
If you’re in the mood for some mainland European nature, which I was finding a little difficult to get my hands on, these monkeys should do the trick.
And that’s what I have to offer about Gibraltar, apart from the fact that you will need your passport to get in and out (one couple on the tour weren’t so lucky to know this and had to spend the day at a McDonald’s if I recall correctly). Crossing the border is free also.
If this has convinced you, get on a plane and try it for yourself. The end of the world can be a good thing!
Additional photography provided by Mike Kotsch and Hello Lightbulb