Thursday, June 7, 2007

Welcome to The Rock

Now, I'm a big fan of The Rock, or Gibraltar as it's also known so I was extremely happy to be back. It belongs to Great Britain, so long as all the monkeys stay put at the top of the rock, so the legend goes (which is kind of weird because the monkeys, or Barbery Apes, are actually Moroccan Macaques, but they are the only primates to be found living wild in Europe) and I think we're just proud of the fact that it's SUNNY! This is the wall, and entrance to the main square in Gibraltar. I was enjoying Eric's reaction as it was his first time here. See, he wasn't too keen on the cable-car, but he got over it.

There are seagulls (this one LOVED the fountain here) and tax free English shops, as well as some interesting history here. Eric was enjoying this watchman's lookout post, near the wall of the town, dating from the 1700s.
From the top of the rock, which is £8 or $18 for a round trip in the cable car now (pretty steep, if you'll pardon the pun) but still worth the trip, you can see Spain on your left, and Africa on your right. And of course you can see monkeys too. We walked down from the Upper Rock and viewing terraces, the second of two stops the cable car makes (but you can only disemabark on the 2nd stop going up. On the way back down, you can get on halfway down, the mid-way stop, which is what we did) after a particularly nasty packet-cappuccino in the cafe up there. This family of monkeys caught my eye for some time, the male was so lovingly picking fleas from his woman. And then there's this sulky monkey, and this mother with her baby.
After hanging with the monkeys a while (we saw one accost a woman, it literally jumped from a vantage point onto her bag) we headed for St. Michaels's Caves. ANOTHER £8 later (I'm telling you, the place aint cheap) and we had walked, via this awesome monkey who liked hanging out with his plush counterparts as well as Eric as you can see, down to the caves, where they hold ballets and plays nowadays in the biggest one, the Cathedral Cave. Most of my pictures alas did not come out due to the darkness and atmospheric lighting down there, but I can tell you that we saw the skull of a woman found in 1848, known as the "Gibraltar Woman", as well as a stalagmite that is centuries old. It was thought that the cave was bottomless, and also there' a rumour that the cave is linked via a subterranean passage to Africa, over 15 miles long under the straits of Gibraltar. We were unable, given the time constraints, to either confirm nor refute this claim and for this, reader I am sorry!

Back at ground level, we got the cable car back down and headed for fish n chips. Our eventual choice, Roy's Cod "Best since 1988" did not disappoint, we had white fish with the skin left on and vinegary chips that were tasy, thick and just a little bit wet from the freshly-battered cod. Beautiful! Today's View from a Window was taken inside Roy's Cod, imagine the frying, vinegary smell we were salivating over while waiting for our food.

And this is us, back in the port at the end of our day in Gibrol-AH, as I say it, or GI-BRA-TAAA! as Eric says. You say either, I say.....!

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