Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Gibralter...the rock. A strange outcrop at the end of Spain jutting into the med which has been in British Territory since 1704 having  been ceded to Britain by Spain in the Treaty of Utrecht...and forever an annoyance that they let go so much so that Franco closed the border for number of years. A short distance from the concrete jungle called Costa del Sol, Gibralter stands apart with it's history preserved in this small friendly British territory located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsular.

Gibralter is a quirky, funny place with a Spanish influence and all speak Spanish but with the iconic sites of Mother England.  The Airport is a built on this flat area with the Eastern side is made up of sheer cliffs which means that the precarious approach to the runway is from the sea and due to the lack of land area the main road cuts straight through the middle of the main road across the island, so everytime a flight comes into land they close the road.  An eerie experience crossing the road to get from the Spanish border to the main shopping centre.

As we were camping in Spain we only had one full day to explore the rock but to be honest this was enough. There are plenty of taxis willing to take you up the rock to see the 'apes' and relieve you of your cash. The 'apes' are in reality tail-less monkey's found roaming wild in Algeria and Morocco but those on the 'Rock' are the only free ranging ones. However, we decided we would venture into town and see what the locals got up to. We found a good range of shops selling UK, Spanish and some Moroccan style goods.  Much cheaper than the UK though, and better climate.  We sat for a good part in the square eating and drinking with a view of the famous Rock before buying some last minute purchases and sending off postcards. Not an unpleasant afternoon I have to be said...but was a tad disappointed that we were unable to get Spanish food as the square is invaded by those horrible 'English Fish and Chips' signs and English breakfasts.  If you like British food though and want some heat then it's ideal for you.

The currency is Sterling, with notes issued by the Government of Gibralter.  UK notes are accepted as are Euros by most shops but not by the Post Office for some reason.   Euros I found to be more useful as if you plan to cross to the Spanish side which most do they are accepted by both whereas the Gibralter pound is not valid outside of Gibralter.  We tried to change money for Dirham as we were travelling to Morocco but found this difficult as they seem to stock limited amounts, so if you require these for visas etc in Spanish Morocco obtain these before travelling so you don't have to dash around beforehand.

The Cradle of History Monument in the shape of the rock, depicts Gibraltar's important location throughout history.  It shows the first skull of Neanderthal Man, which was found in Gibralter, although not identified as such until later, as well as one of the pillars of Hercules, and other images which represent many civilisations that form part of  Gibralter's history.

A day whizzed by and we were soon back on Spanish soil in our tent ready to set off the following day for the ferry from Gibralter to Morocco.


No comments:

Post a Comment