Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a peninsula that juts off the southern end of Iberia and whose dominant feature is a 1,398-foot-high, cave-riddled chunk of limestone that overlooks the Straits of Gibraltar which separate Europe from Africa.  It is a British overseas territory having been granted to Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht.  I took a privately organized tour with Gibrock Tours.   Our first stop was at the location of the Pillars of Hercules, marked by a large plaque (photo). Our next stop was the St. Michael’s Cave full of stalagmites and stalactites and illuminated by changing colours set to music.  It was impressive even without the lighting (photos).   We saw the Barbary apes (macaques) further up the hill.  They are fed a vegetarian diet and contrary to their reputation are very calm and quiet so long as you don’t touch their young. One named Ralph does know how to open a van door and get into the glove compartment if he thinks there is food in it.  I have a few cute photos.  Next we stopped in the Great Siege Tunnel which has been part of the defences of Gibraltar from the time of the Spanish Wars of Succession (photos).  There are apparently some 33 kilometres of roads built throughout  the rock.  During WWII the population sheltered in the tunnels which contained the necessities of life including a hospital.  On our final trip around the territory, we saw the 100 ton gun which has never been used (photo), the Moorish castle and Europa Point and the lighthouse (photo) which is the southernmost point in Europe. We also crossed the Airport runway on the road from Gibraltar to the Spanish border shown in a photo from the tunnel. Obviously, the road is closed if a plane is landing! Unfortunately we arrived in the dark and I do not have a photo of the rock itself.  We now have two days sailing before we reach the port of Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

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