Sunday, November 4, 2018

Gibraltar, November 4, 2018

Breakfast wouldn't be complete in Spain without tapas:  chicken stuffed with spinach and roasted pepper salad with shrimp - so good-

It was another gorgeous day and walking to Gibraltar, I just can't get over how The Rock just sticks up like it does, right on the end of Spain-

Getting in to the country is easy.  The border guard  just glanced at the picture page in my passport and I was in.  Once through customs, you have to walk or drive across the runway of the airport-

Gibraltar is all Britain.  The pubs are British, the shops are British and the monuments are all British-

 I bought a full meal deal ticket for the Rock and spent all day up there.  Looking north back to Spain-

There are ugly, ugly Barbary Macaques all over the island.  They just give me the creeps-

He stole a woman's purse and opened the zipper and started emptying it.  Then his friend did something because he dropped everything and chased him.  The woman was shrieking and laughing.  She mustn't have had anything of value in her bag-

In O'Hara's battery, there are display rooms with video where you can see how they controlled the guns and canons-

There are lots of caves too leading to lookouts-

Africa is in the distance, 24 km away-

St. Michael's Cave was long believed to be bottomless and fuelled the myth that the Rock of Gibraltar was linked to Africa by a subterranean passage under the strait of Gibraltar and that that's how the Barbary Macaques arrived-

Stalactites are formations that hang from the ceilings of caves.  They form from calcium carbonate dripping and average growth is .0051 inches/year.  All stalactites have begun with a single drop of water-

Stalactos are columnar deposits formed by the union of stalactites with stalagmites-

Drapes are thin wavy sheets of calcite hanging downwards.  They occur where the water droplets travel along the ceiling before dropping to the floor-

Stalagmites rise from the floor, due to the accumulation of material deposited on the floor from ceiling drippings-

This stalagmite broke and fell on its side thousands of years ago during an earthquake.  In 1972 a slice was cut off.  The brown rings show growth due to wet years and the white rings show dry periods when there was no growth- 

This cave wasn't nearly as large as the one I saw last year in Mexico but it was still very impressive.  I always wonder how they find them and think about the work required to make them tourist spots.

After, I walked a long way to the north end of the island to the Great Siege Tunnels-

The Victorian Cannon dates from the early 1870s, during the reign of Queen Victoria.  It's called a 64 pounder, 58 CWT.RML.  64 pounds is the weight of the projectile fired.  58 CWT is the weight of the gun barrel (51 kg).  RML is short for rifle muzzle loader and this means it was loaded from the front-

An Anglo Dutch force captured Gibraltar in 1704 during the War of Spanish Succession.  Once the war ended, the Treaty of Utrect gave Gibraltar to Great Britain 'in perpetuity' but Spain has tried many times to get her back such as in 1779, when Britain's military power was weakened because of fighting the American War of Independence.

Looking out through a 'window' towards the runway-

And Trafalgar Cemetery-

Thirteen men began digging in May 1782 and it took them 5 weeks to make an 8 feet square tunnel 82 feet into the Rock.  Today there are 34 miles of tunnels-

You can see the dints in the rock they made with their tools-

Leaving the tunnel, I saw an airplane taking off.  They stop the cars and pedestrians for 15 - 20 minutes before the plane goes-

My last stop was on the way down.  The Moorish Castle is left from the Muslim occupation in 1333-


They think this was the prayer/worship room because of the fancy ceiling-

No one ever lived in the castle, it was used for protection so when the bell on top started ringing, people from below ran for the castle.  What a scary time that would have been.

As I spent the day in tunnels and thinking about war, I thought about how so much of what tourists visit  is associated with wars:  forts, castles, tunnels, concentration camps, monuments and museums.  I wonder what wonderful things we might be able to see if all of the money and intelligence lost to fighting had been put toward better uses.  Just imagine if everyone could just get along - what a world we'd have!

I passed this great wall art, returning to the centre of town-

Of course I couldn't leave Gibraltar without having fish and chips but they didn't come wrapped in newspaper-

Michelle Saulnier, the other Canadian on the trip and I have been emailing for a few months, mostly about visas but today we met up.  A British woman, named Hilary, was with her so we spent a few hours together visiting.  I'm looking forward to getting to know both of them better.

We meet at the border around 8 tomorrow!  Let the madventure begin!

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