Disponible en español aquí.
1. This was the very first thing I saw when I crossed the border from Spain into Gibraltar. I’m not sure if the telephone even worked, but its placement was definitely no accident. It said both “Dear Spain, This is ours and not yours! xoxo, The British” and “Hey tourists, Isn’t it so cool that you hopped on a bus for a couple of hours and now you’re in another country? Don’t you feel like you’re practically in England?”
2. Gibraltar’s natural beauty isn’t exactly evident when you first enter the country – let’s just say that the area near the border reminded me of a cheaper version of the United Kingdom section of Disney World’s Epcot.
3. I was told that Gibraltar is known for its fish and chips and seeing as they’re part of the United Kingdom (and wouldn’t let me forget) I figured this dish would be pretty good. Boy was I wrong!
4. The people at the restaurant more than made up for the bland food. I sat outside at a table by myself, but everyone nearby was super friendly and made conversation with me. I learned a lot about life in Gibraltar.
5. With renewed positivity, I headed down Main Street to explore the shops. Everything was cute and reasonably priced
6. Just as I was starting to wonder how I would fill the rest of my day, I was asked if I wanted to go on the next 2-hour tour. It was about $36, but completely worth it. Tours in Gibraltar have exclusive access to some pretty cool things.
7. While driving us to and from sights, our proud Gibraltarian tour guide told us a lot about the way of life inside this micro-nation.
8. Stop #1: this amazing view of Europe and Africa.
9. Nearby is a playground where children play on jungle gyms not only overlooking Spain and Morocco, but also a church and mosque.
10. Stop #2: Saint Michael’s Cave. This majestic cave-turned-concert-hall had music and strobe lights going.
11. Stop #3 (in my opinion the coolest):
- Monkeys! Gibraltar is famous for these monkeys (the only wild monkey population in Europe). Legend has it that as long as there are monkeys around, Gibraltar will remain British territory.
- These monkeys are tracked with tattoos and microchips, and all have received rabies vaccinations. The only real precaution is to avoid bringing food around these monkeys. Unless you weren’t going to finish that ice cream.
- I’m usually kind of timid around animals, but these monkeys were so friendly.
- Some of these monkeys kind of reminded me of a bunch of cliquey teenagers – they’re all the same species but the six packs don’t mix, and once he starts yelling you can tell right away which one is the alpha male.
(This is not the Alpha Male. I didn’t think I was cool enough to take a picture with him.)
- The mothers care for their babies beautifully. Seeing these monkeys was truly an amazing experience!
12. Stop #4: Tunnels of Gibraltar. History fans can read more here.
13. The entrance to the tunnels had this amazing view of a graveyard where Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims are laid to rest side by side. The beauty of Gibraltar is that it has not only served as a bridge between great civilizations, but also as a place where people of all these civilizations could live side by side. Everyone in Gibraltar told me how proud they are of the micro-nation’s diversity and it truly showed.