Along Main Street and its connecting streets, are many duty-free shops, restaurants and pubs with. Being a British enclave since 1704, English is the predominate language. Bobbies, red pillar post boxes and red British phone booths all contrast with mainland Spain. Food menu selections and specials are listed on chalkboards with prices in pounds sterling. We went for a lunch of traditional English Fish and Chips downed with a Newcastle.
A good place to get a sense of the history of this strategic and geopolitical hotspot is the Gibraltar Museum located in the Bomb House building that is actually built on the Moorish baths of the previous occupiers. There are audiovisual presentations and several galleries displaying original artifacts, bones, coins, stamps, old prints and photographs on two floors and downstairs is the preserved Moorish Bath House. Of interest is a study of the prehistoric history where Gibraltar was believed to be the last refuge for Neanderthal man.
Continuing along Main Street, past the convent that is the Governor’s Residence, there are numerous photo vignettes of Spanish squares and colonial-style architecture on the way. Exiting the walled old town through the South gate we continued to the Grand Parade. Within the parking lot at the Grand Parade is the base of the Cable Car Station that you can take to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.
The promenade around the Grande Parade is the Alameda Botanical Gardens. This free and open to the public garden park is nestled along the sloped base of the rock and is well maintained. Numerous interconnecting pathways tinted by the local red sand meander through terraced beds constructed with the native Jurassic limestone rock. There are water features and monuments amongst a combination of native and others brought in from abroad plant and tree species. The common tree here is the Wild Olive that is the ancestor to the cultivated olive tree. There are fine examples of the Dragon tree, Stone pine, Nettle Tree, Canary Island Date palm and Solitaire palm. Numerous beds of Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Daisy and Geranium plants are framed by backdrops of climbers, creepers and scramblers. The air is filled with the scent of honeysuckle and Jasmine. There are also many specialty displays of Succulents, Cacti, Aloes and wild plants.