Costa del Sol (part 3)
Trip Start Jan 05, 2011
61Trip End May 18, 2011
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Monday (unfortunately) marked the final full day of our Spanish holiday, and oddly enough, it wasn't spent in Spain. Rather, we daytripped to Gibraltar, which is a colony of Britain, making it a part of the UK. So now I can say I've been to the UK as well. Customs was so lax between Spain and Gibraltar; you more or less had to acknowledge that you had a passport to get in. It's also the first time I've ever crossed a national border on foot.
While on the subject of entering the UK, it surprised me how the cultures of Gibraltar and Spain are in such stark contrast. I mean, it was like day and night. It was as if we had actually flown to London. All writing was in English again, and the people there spoke in their usual goofy British accents
Shortly after entry, we jumped in a tour bus which brought us to the major attractions on the Rock (of Gibraltar). The first stop was the Pillars of Hercules, which marked the end of the Earth in the ancient world. From the point where the monument is, you would typically be able to see the African country of Morocco. But, of course, the day we chose to go covered the region in a dense fog. So we never did end up seeing Africa :( But that wasn't a reason to be down; Gibraltar has plenty of other things to offer.
Second, we were brought to St. Michael's cave, within the Rock. It was really something to see, though most caves are inherently awesome. However, this one had something that you just don't see in caves these days. I am talking of course about the 100+ capacity concert hall in one of the cave's largest chambers (named the Cathedral Cave). Now, you may be thinking, is that a wise idea to have concerts inside a cave? Well, I wondered that too. I really don't know. I guess nothing too serious ever happened, or the cave would be gone, right? It's just something really odd that you would never expect to see in a cave
Next we made our way to the peak of the Rock of Gibraltar. At an altitude of nearly 1400 feet with clifflike slopes on either side, you could almost describe it as scary if it weren't so awesome. Words cannot really describe it, pictures could not capture what was seen there.
Monkeys! So many monkeys! According to our guide, there are approximately 300 monkeys made up of six families. They were everywhere. It was like a petting zoo in that respect. You could feed them, they would jump up on you if you got close enough. Or, in my case, bite you. (I'm ok, it was just a baby monkey.)
From the peak we journeyed to the military tunnels hallowed out by hand by the Spanish in the late 18th century. The tunnels were pretty straightforward; long, dark, with holes in the side for the cannons. It was nothing compared to the Cave, but still interesting in its own right.
Afterwards, we visited the ruined village of Gibraltar, which was ruin by some country which I can't think of right now. It wasn't really much of a village, just a couple buildings, but I took pictures of it, so I thought I'd better mention it here.
The final attraction on the Rock that we visited was a Moorish Castle, which was built in the year 711. That's old. I don't know a whole lot about the castle another than it is a relic of the Moorish occupation of Gibraltar all those years ago
From the Rock we made our way through the city of Gibraltar (stopping for fish and chips) and headed back for the border to Spain. Another oddity about Gibraltar is that the airstrip there run right across the main road. Or rather, the road goes right across the landing strip. (See pictures)
From the time we returned to Spain, our holiday was all but over. We caught the bus back to Manilva, gathered our stuff and got a couple hours of sleep before waking at 2:30am to catch our flight out of Malaga.
We returned to Norway, welcomed by cool, rainy weather. Luckily, I don't have classes on Tuesday, so I got to sleep and unwind a bit. I feel sorry for those who had to come back and go to class at 1:00.
I didn't get too much rest though. Between the laundry, homework, and getting ready to leave for Italy, I seemed endlessly occupied. That's why this blog entry has been so delayed. I'm writing from a hotel in Oslo as I wait for my 7:40am flight to Trieste, Italy. I'll have more on that in a day or two.