Reese didn't have school on Friday the 1st so we decided to head to the Rock of Gibraltar!
'The Rock' is about 90 minutes south east of our house and we left home around 9am. (Zeke was getting a little annoyed by all of our day trips - leaving him all alone all day long). It was a beautiful drive down - lots of farmland and grazing cattle and sheep. And before too long we could see 'The Rock' emerge through the midst.
We were warned NOT to drive into Gibraltar, a British colony at the end of Spain, because it's technically leaving the country and there are long lines crossing the boarder, etc. But, my adventurous husband is never one to go on hearsay...and we drove right over the boarder...the British guards checked our passports and let us through...we drove along the tiny streets, happy to see signs in English again! And just navigated toward the rock...we found ourselves right at the foot of the summit at the Cable Car place which had a parking lot - a FREE parking lot! What LUCK!
We parked and got ready to take the scary cable cars up...But on our way there, we were persuaded to take a private tour up the mountain with a driver/guide and it was GREAT! No scary cable cars...and a native Gibraltan!
He purchased all the tickets to each of the sites along the way and drove us up, giving historical facts all along the way...he even warned us about the thieving monkeys! They warn that monkey's will take your food...but we saw several people purchase ice cream bars (for 6 British pounds each) and have them promptly absconded by the Monkeys...hahahaha
The first stop was the Pillar of Hercules. There is some legend about Hercules splitting the continents (Africa from Europe) and that he stood on the Rock of Gibraltar to do it, hense the spot where we are sitting the 'Pillar of Hercules'
I was never very good at remembering Greek mythology. But it still makes for good photos!
Another little bit of history...The Rock of Gibraltar is on the Straits of Gibraltar, a small body of water that connects the Meditterean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean...and supposedly, whomever holds the power to the Straits of Gibraltar (presently the British) controls the access to the Med. The Spanish do NOT like this fact...which is why there is not ONE sign signaling Gibraltar on the drive to Gibraltar...(for instance, you will not see a sign that says, Gibraltar 80 km).
From that pinnacle, you could see the African coast! It was awesome! (behind us)
The next stop was to a cave where there were beautiful stalagmites/stalactites...
Reese thought it was creepy and couldn't get out quick enough. Rayna liked it. They also gives concerts in the cave and we were told the accoustics are amazing...I could only imagine. Although, I don't know if I'd like to sit in there for long periods of time, as the cave was DRIPPING constantly!
But still...pretty cool!
Then on to the top of the mountain to see the monkeys...
I couldn't believe how brave the girls (and my MOM were!) I was pretty freaked out. Val was smart and stood back!
Our guide warned us about the 'mean ones' and told us that he was friends with some of the monkey's and he'd help us get pictures...they must have recognized him because two of his little friends jumped right into the car looking for his stash of chocolate that they must know he carries. And with which he used to get them to jump on our shoulders...head, arm...
They have feeding areas for the monkeys because apparently over the years the monkeys have gotten used to human food and to keep them in the hills and not down in the village stealing food, they feed them on the hill. The guide said there were hundreds of monkeys living there, but we saw about 50...tiny babies and some HUGE mafia looking monkeys...
On the way down the hill, we stopped in the war tunnels where they housed the cannons and held off the Nazis during WWII. Awesome history.
And lastly, the last fortress from which still hangs a British flag...
After the tour, we went to the city center for some shopping...
Rayna even got to take home a monkey from Gibraltar!
It was kind of funny to be in Great Britain while really on the southern tip of Spain. We even saw the little British red phone booths!
and to find some authentic British Fish and Chips for lunch. Our guide told us Roy's had the best and to Roys we went!
It lived up to the hype...DELICIOUS!