On Top of the Rock
Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
108Trip End Oct 23, 2009
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While wandering the paths along the top of the mountain, I happened upon a museum showcasing the system of tunnels inside the Rock of Gibraltar started in the 1700s and lengthened during WWII to protect the area
Why put up with all these hardships and harsh living conditions? Churchill believed that if Gibraltar was taken, North Africa and the Middle East and all the oil would fall to the Germans. The system of tunnels within the Rock is actually longer than the entire road network in the city and did their job keeping the territory well defended. Conditions during the war got so rough the entire civilian population was evacuated and didnīt return until 1951 I believe it was. Gibraltar is definitely an interesting slice of the UK down here.
Even getting to Gibraltar is a three hour bus adventure
Five hours climbing all over that mountain were well worth it and the weather was perfect for it. Not a drop of humidity, a cool breeze and a temperature in the 60s just all worked together to make the perfect afternoon climbing a rock about as high as the Empire State Building. Since the mountain stands all by itself on a mostly flat peninsula sticking out from mainland Spain, the terrain actually appears higher than it is. If you ever make it down to this corner of the world, definitely take a sidetrip to Gibraltar for the day. Itīs such a neat experience to occupy an afternoon.
Until 1985 the border between Spain and Gibraltar was completely closed and the only way in or out was via boat or plane to anywhere but Spain. In fact relatives who lived just miles apart in Spain and Gibralter would transit via Morocco to visit each other. Spain had to open the border here in order to become part of the European Union. Spain still believes Gibraltar is part of its territory though it ceded it to the British in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. So this debate has been simmering for centuries, yet in 2002 98.7% of voters decided to stay part of the UK rather than go back to Spain so I guess Spain will just have to keep waiting
But I am glad I didn't wait any longer to explore a place I have only dreamed about ever seeing up until today!