April 117 2019
The Rock crouches over the sea like an ancient
stone beast, looking Sphinx-like to Africa. Beneath the white
cliffs of this natural fortress grows a profusion of palm, pine,
and cypress. No fewer than 600 varieties of flowers thrive here,
some not found anywhere else on Earth. Gibraltar's stunning
setting is matched by its history - five countries have battled
for 13 centuries to control the passage between the Atlantic and
the Mediterranean. The result made for a cultural melting pot.
Veiled Moroccan women in caftans and vacationing Englishmen and
Spaniards stroll along the narrow, steep lanes. The locals
revert to a liquid Spanish when talking among themselves. And
visitors to a 15th-century cathedral pass through a blue-tiled
courtyard, once part of a 13th-century mosque.
Helmeted bobbies, pillar-boxes and pubs make for a bit of
Britain in the Mediterranean. Gibraltar is a fascinating place,
from its caves and batteries to the Barbary apes gamboling on
the slopes of the Rock.
Tour: Cable Car & Great Siege Tunnels
Date: April 11, 2019
The first thing to catch your eye on Europa Point is the beautiful, red
and white striped lighthouse that dominates the landscape. Situated at
the gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on Europe's most
southerly point, the lighthouse stands proudly over the area and is
visible for miles. First lit in 1941, the lighthouse was a welcomed
addition for sailors who knew the difficulty of maneuvering around
Gibraltar Bay. Sharing the grounds is the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe,
another important monument for the sailors. Before the lighthouse was
built, it was the glow from within the little chapel which would guide
them. Coexisting on the site is the most southerly mosque in Europe,
Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque. Given as a gift in 1997 from the late King
Fahd Al-Saud, this lovely domed mosque is also a school, library and
Your next panoramic viewing point occurs when you ride the cable car to
Top Station, located on the site of a World War II gun emplacement.
During your short ride to the top, you can see Africa, Spain and the
sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
On your descent, your cable car ride stops at Middle Station, the area
known as the Apes' Den. No visit to Gibraltar would be complete without
seeing these tailless creatures, the only free-roaming monkeys in
Europe. The Barbary Apes have been entertaining visitors to Gibraltar
with their playful antics for years and have mysteriously inhabited the
area for centuries. The apes are well cared for by the Gibraltar
Ornithological and Natural History Society and are given fresh food and
water every day to supplement what can be found in the wild.
The area known as the Upper Galleries, which includes the Great Siege
Tunnels. Your guided tour includes a walk through the tunnels carved by
the British out of solid limestone. This defensive system was begun on
May 25, 1782 and stands as a testament to the hardships endured during
the Great Siege.
A short drive brings you to the center of town and to the Gibraltar
Crystal Factory. Established in 1995, Gibraltar Crystal is based in the
heart of the city centre, Casemates Square, at the entrance to Main
Street, in an old fortified barracks dating back to the early
1800's.Marvel at how the Master Glass Blowers hand-make all their goods
using the ancient skills passed down from generations to generations.
This is followed by a visit to the factory store where you can purchase
a souvenir genuinely handmade on the Rock of Gibraltar.
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