Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thats one big Rock!

For a relatively unplanned trip, the weekend trip to Gibraltar was probably one of the easiest trips since being in Spain. After an early start Saturday morning, I walked across the border around 9:30 a.m. They looked at my passport and then I safely put it back in its case, with two rubber bands securing the top so it could not slide out. Futhermore, I tightened the strap around my neck and tucked the holder inside the waste of my pants -- a rather uncomfortable location for the 12 hours of hiking.

I knew there was some history in Gibraltar to see, but after researching a little bit I feared that the monkeys would be the highlight of the trip.

Damian Corrigan writes on, "Considering the acres of press coverage the battle between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar gets, you'd think there would be something worth fighting over. I'm still trying to discover what that is - maybe the Spanish like monkeys?"

He goes on to mention the monkeys about four or five times in the article. Lucky for me, I had looked up places on and added some geocaches also. The geocaching lead me up the rock before I ever made it to the cable car which I had planned on taking. So my adventure began. I didn't find the geocache I was looking for but I did end up finding the "Siege Tunnels," which were carved into the rock.

My first experience was buying postcards. That experience was in English. My second experience was buying a ticket to enter the tunnels (which turned out to include the other attractions also). That experience was in Spanish. The tunnels offered some interesting glimpses into history and some cool views of the land.

I later visited a Moorish castle, the Mediterranean Stairs Trail (N 36° 07.499 W 005° 20.612), St. Michael's Cave and a lighthouse. I only missed two locations that I would have liked to seen: The Pillar of Hercules and the American War Memorial.

Some personal notes:

* The highest point is about 1,400 feet. I reached that point and then hiked down and back up. That is in addition to many other ups and downs I did on the roads and some of the stairs.

* I lost count somewhere around 200 stairs that I climbed after the apes decided to jump on me for a THIRD time. The first time was when I sat down at the picnic tables. The second time was also there. (The second time, after one pulled my hair, I got up and started up the stairs. Soon after they chased after and jumped on me again.)

* The third encounter was the scariest. I am afraid of heights and these monkeys were on me in a very high places.

* Somehow I think if monkeys were human's ancestors that some of the traits we have developed are definitely better. But we lost a lot in that evolution too. There is no way I would be anywhere near some of the places these apes were -- hanging off the guard rails!

* I think I spoke more Spanish in Gibraltar than English. Not that I am complaining!

* The next day (today) muscles I didn't even know existed are sore. I walked for about 20 miles up and down the hills. I spent 12 hours in Gibraltar.

* I think Gibraltar has one of the coolest airports I have ever seen. Pedestrians and vehicles drive across the runway. Pedestrians can walk to the airport.

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