Gibraltar - Caves, Cliffs, and Crazy 'Caques

We began our morning by heading to a plaza where we took a tour taxi to see some of the famous sites of Gibraltar.  I know you're probably thinking that a tour taxi sounds a bit touristy but the alternatives are not really plentiful.  The alternative is to take the cable car to the top and walk a lot up and around winding one-way roads on cliffs while dodging cars and threatened monkeys.  We have a baby, so, sorry folks, we didn't do what the average 20 year old does with no responsibilities.  Moving on!  So, we went up with an English family of 4 which had two boys, and a fifty something couple which could have been from Germany or something, not really sure.

We made the following stops:

  1. Pillars of Hercules
  2. Saint Michael's Cave
  3. Top of the rock / Upper Apes' Den
  4. The Siege Tunnels

1) Our first stop was not really worth mentioning other than the views of Algeciras and the city below, which made it worth it, but we're not much for pictures in front of random statues or odd things.

Saint Michael's Cave
2) Saint Michael's Cave, however, was quite worth the visit.  We hopped out and went right past the crowds watching the monkeys, although I'm not certain who was really watching whom.  The monkeys seemed equally interested in the humans and what they had brought them to eat.  Speaking of eating, don't feed them!  One monkey walked right up to a man's backpack and tried to unzip it causing him quite a shock.  Another girl was eating an apple at the entrance and a monkey tried to jump her for it.  The caves house an auditorium which is used for concerts and was also used as a makeshift hospital.  The caves were quite impressive and open with large stalactites and stalagmites all over the place.  The lighting was added which was of varying colors and gives our photos a 3D effect which was a nice surprise when we got home.

Top of the rock
3) By the time we got to the top of the rock the temperature had dropped and the wind had increased noticeably.  We were shown a monkey which had just given birth the day before and was holding its offspring in arms with the umbilical cord still attached.  There was a concrete structure and some stairs behind it which housed the monkeys while many were on the road, on the railing, or jumping onto the taxis.  They were quite entertaining to say the least.  From the stairs we could catch a glimpse of the Mediterranean / Alboran Sea side of Gibraltar while looking to the other side we could see the Straight of Gibraltar.  On the Mediterranean side we caught some glimpses of a beach which were quite beautiful.  The views of the rock were stunning, although it does it little justice.  It's quite incredible to be able to look around and see so many worlds converging.

Barbary Macaques
4) We saw only a small portion of the siege tunnels, but it was enough to get the general idea.  We walked in and there were many cannons placed into the holes on the sides of the rock and we were able to catch some great views of the city and imagine ships coming in only to be surprised by cannon fire from the rock.  I bet that was a nightmare.  It reminded me a bit of the tunnels I visited in South Korea near the DMZ only these were in a mountain instead of underground.  At the end of the tunnel was a bit of
Siege Tunnel view
light which gave us a glimpse of the Mediterranean side.  It was exciting looking out at the airport as well.  After coming back out there is a deck with excellent views of Gibraltar and Spain.  It's a great chance to see the airport in action and watch the cars back up.

Sandy Bay
Following the visit to the caves we descended to the plaza where we had begun.  We were relaxing and Olivia and my sister-in-law started asking me if I could ask about the beach... Our taxi driver was still around so after he had eaten we asked him about the place.  It was called Sandy Bay, which is home to an apartment complex called Both Worlds.  We conversed for a few minutes and thanked him.  A few minutes later he called us over to his taxi and said that he would take us there--his wife had joined him and they were going to be celebrating her birthday the next day.  He just offered to take us there just because.  He drove us past Europa Point and was really friendly towards us.  They dropped us off on the other side of the rock and told us how to get down to the beach and where to catch a bus home.  The views were something for which I have no real comparison.  On one side you can see the rock towering above you--all the same sites we just saw but from below, and the we have Mediterranean and some ships just floating about in the sea.  It was quite a different sort of beach from what we have in Wilmington, NC.



Post a Comment

Popular Posts