on September 14, 2010
Gibraltar is a British colony that can be found on a peninsular of Southern Spain. Approximately 30000 people live on the three square miles that make up Gibraltar and this tiny area has a very colourful history before it became a British colony in 1713 but Spain has still made claims on the area as recently as the 1960s. Unusually for Europe the currency here is the Gibraltar Pound but Stirling is also legal tender.Gibraltar is predominantly known as "The Rock" due to the fact that the majority of the land, besides the part that has been reclaimed from the sea is made up of one large rock that dominates the skyline as it reaches a height of 1400ft.The easiest way to take in the breathtaking views that Gibraltar has to offer is to take a trip to the "Top of The Rock". There are walking trails that take you up or you can opt for one of the many local minibus taxis that will give you good guided tours around the island, however one of the most exciting ways to reach the summit is to use the cable car which takes a couple of minutes to whizz you up the side of the rock face whilst giving stunning views across the harbour. The cable car does usually have two stops but in the summer 2010 season it has not been stopping at the midway stop. The cable car is easy to find as it is at the far end of the main street through the town. The cars are not particularly large and by sure to stand by the window to ensure you can see well.The cable car takes you to a revolting concrete structure that contains a cafe, a gift shop and public toilets. There is also a large viewing platform that gives views across the straits of Gibraltar to Africa; unfortunately on the day we visited the cloud cover was so low and thick that there was no view at all.Walking down from the cable car station takes you through the Apes Den which is home to the world famous, tail-less Barbary Apes. The British Army has the responsibility of feeding the Apes as Churchill said that as long as the Apes remain so will the British! The apes will jump on people and take hats or sunglasses and they can bite so it is recommended that you don’t feed them. They are also attracted to shiny things to keep tight hold of cameras and zips on handbags.After photographing the apes many people wander to St Michaels Cave which is a collection of limestone caverns with many stalactites and stalagmites, there is even a huge stalagmite that had broken and the surface has been polished and you can see all of the hundreds of layers. The largest cave is used for music concerts and has banked seating at one end and is said to have wonderful acoustics. On leaving the caves there is a gift shop and they recommend that you put your purchases straight in your bag as the apes associate the shop bags with food.Further around the rock, close to the runway that separates Gibraltar from mainland Spain is the Siege Tunnels, these were blasted and dug in around 1780 and now act as a museum to the life of the soldiers at that time.Back down in the town area of Gibraltar the streets are exceedingly narrow and one-way systems have recently been introduced on many streets to aid traffic flow. We did not have much time to look around the town but I was not impressed by what little I saw as a lot of it is quite new and built up on the reclaimed land so it felt quite modern and cramp and not very attractive. I believe there is an older part of town which is close to the Alameda gardens and I imagine that is more attractive an interesting.
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