Husband post: Gibraltar
One of the perks of my Husbands job is that when he is working he gets the odd day off in a foreign port. Here is what he got up to in Gibraltar:
I got a tour mini bus from outside the Cable car. This took me a while to find. For £22 you get driven up to 4 scenic destinations the pillars at the end of the world, so called because the Greeks thought that the sea beyond the rock of Gibraltar was the end of the world and would not sail past it. There is only a viewing platform where on a good clear day you can see North Africa, Morocco. Also there is a large map held between two pillars of the known world at the time of the Greeks.
After this we jumped back in the bus and headed higher up the rock to St Michaels caves, after getting your ticket stamped and gaining entry to the caves you walk along a small tunnel which then opens out to what can only be described as a cavern big enough to hold concerts in, and they do, royal marine bands and orchestras play in side on a regular basis. We are told that the acoustics are incredible inside. The bottom of the cave has been concreted in to seating areas a stage at one end. Walking around the caverns and round some of the side tunnels, I was amazed that this place was not carved by many scenery makers from fantasy films as it looks too perfect to my eyes to be made by the forces of nature.
Back out and in the bus we are then driven up to the highest point of road up the rock, this is where many of the Barbary macaques (the only wild monkeys found in Europe) hang out during the day before moving into town at night. At this point the cloud banks from the far side of the island are rushing up over the spine of the rock and being pushed higher from the hot air rising from the side we are on, I made a 30 second video of this as I thought it quite eerie. Also this felt like the highest I had ever been with my feet on solid ground. We got ushered back into the bus but not before a monkey had jumped onto the driver’s window, the driver proceeded to feed the monkey skittles, he seemed to favour the purple ones (I’m not sure he was meant to be doing that but the monkey seemed happy).
It seems like the Gibraltarian’s are very proud to be British. There are a lot of souvenirs and T-shirts saying things like ‘British since 1704’. The bus driver also spoke about his displeasure at the Spanish government’s treatment of Gibraltar. There is a local superstition similar to the one about the Ravens in the tower of London, it states that if the monkeys ever leave then so will the British. In 1944 Winston Churchill was so concerned about the dwindling monkey population that he sent a message to the colonial secretary requesting that something be done about the situation.
We were then driven down to the Siege Tunnels the start of which was dug out by hand in the early 18th century by the British and Gibraltarian military, to stave off the invasion of the Spanish. There were a few cannons from that period left in the gun ports and these were massive I forget the poundage of them now but they were big.The tunnels were also used during World War II as defence and also as air raid shelters and a Hospital, due to the fact Gibraltar was under constant threat from the Germans, of invasion.