Prior to seeing it in person, whenever I thought of Gibraltar, I imagined a tiny place with almost no permanent residents. I also imagined it to be largely flat, save for the Rock of Gibraltar, which I assumed was a rock roughly the size of a small apartment building just off the coast (for some reason, in my head you could see the entire territory from the border checkpoint – this is not the case in real life). I guess I had never really looked at a picture before.
While in Málaga, Erin and I took a day trip there. It takes about 2 hours each way on a bus, which may discourage some from making the trip, but I highly recommend it. Since Gibraltar is a British territory, we had to walk a few hundred meters from the bus station to the border. Once inside, it certainly felt like we had left Spain – everything was in English, most of the restaurants and shops were British, Pounds were the accepted currency, and even the street architecture (think lamps and road signs) resembled the U.K.
But the real reason to visit lies beyond the town. Once we made the 20-minute walk across the busy downtown district, we took a cable car to the top of the Rock (it turns out that the Rock of Gibraltar is actually a series of strung-together mountains, with rocky cliffs on one side, and a still-steep foliage-, monkey-, and walking path-covered nature park on the other). The view was breathtaking. The Mediterranean Sea was a spectacular blue, and the clear sky allowed us to see across the Straits into Morocco. We were actually close enough that my phone grabbed a signal from a Moroccan Telecom provider at one point.
After hiking along the ridge towards the south end of Gibraltar, we decided to take the Mediterranean Steps back down. This long set of stairs was originally carved out of the face of the cliffs in 1789, and descends quite steeply. Despite warnings that the steps were strenuous, we went ahead, and didn’t meet another person until we reached the bottom nearly an hour later. It made for one of our best days in Europe to see such an amazing view of the seas-side cliffs with our own eyes, and then experience it up close like that.
Have you been to GIbraltar? What did you think of the Rock and the monkeys?
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