Monday, July 27, 2009

Gibraltar and Algiciras

We really made the rounds this trip - even went to England! Well, not really England --- a British colony!!! Next stop on our whistle stop tour of Southern Spain was Gibraltar (as in "Rock Of").Gibraltar is this small three mile peninsula surrounded by Spain. Great Britain snagged the territory through the 18th century Treaty of Utrecht (1713) at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Everything there is British - from the currency (pound vs euro), the electricity, the phone and postage systems, the loyalty to the Queen and most importantly the language! What a coup to have this English-speaking oasis to relax and converse freely at this point in the trip. The only oddity is they still drive on the right hand side of the street (unlike in England). The only thing Spanish-feeling were these tiled buildings we spied.We ate a hearty lunch at The Clipper. The British pub with fish and chips was a pretty odd match with the Andalucia region, but it was familiar and we were waning on our interest in tapas!This sign confirmed to me that we were indeed in another culture entirely. In Spain they WON'T SERVE until 10 PM; yet here they take their last orders at 10 PM.After lunch we took the cable car up, up, up to the top of the rock of Gibraltar. At the top we found the "Apes of Gibraltar"! There are 200 of these monkeys living along the rock. Connor got a huge kick out of the apes and we did too! Luckily we didn't experience any "ape bites" - as the signs warned - but the monkey named 'Greenbush' did rush over and give Brooke a little surprise love pat.

Here Brooke exits the cable car while the monkey named 'Pepsi' looked on!Can you spot the monkey in the photo below, overlooking Gibraltar?
The weather was so strange. The clouds were forced up and over the rock, causing a very strange cloud formation that looked like a chimney pumping smoke. We were wary and cautious of the monkeys/apes, leaving them to be handled by the keepers who were all around. I guess they hold them at bay with treats of dried pasta. Yuck. But whatever works.
My little monkey had fun!
This sign is funny to me. The Spanish and the British clash over this patch of land - even still. When driving to Gibraltar there was not a sign or a marker identifying it (thank goodness for GPS). The Spanish are passive aggressive and cease to think of Gibraltar as even existing and therefore don't mark it. But in Gibraltar as we drove through immigration (too funny!) they had at least this handy "To Spain" sign.We nearly freaked out when we realized the "causeway" we were on doubled as a part of the runway too!!! Are you kidding me?!? I tried to snag this photo to show - us crossing perpendicular to the runway.We overnighted in nearby Algiciras and readied for our next stop - Morocco (stay tuned!) The town isn't too much to write home about, but our hotel was incredible - AC Algiciras. Since it was Sunday and nothing else was open, we went to McDonalds for dinner. I loved these shots of Brooke and Kirk with their McDonalds gazpacho and beer!!! Definitely won't see that in America!
Click here to see full album photos of our time in Gibraltar

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