I must say that I was most excited about the monkeys in Gibraltar when planning this whole trip. I don’t know why but monkeys are such funny creatures, apart from the ones ripping people’s faces off in the States. They have such personality and I’d never seen one outside of a zoo. So to know that they were roaming free in Gibraltar gave me a great deal of excitement (even more than seeing turkeys in Turkey!).
We decided to stay in La Linea de la Concepcion instead of at the one or two hotels with in Gibraltar because it was cheaper. I must say the two was a little sketchy for me and the hotel room didn’t give me the good feelings of the previous one. But, the location was great and the price was right and we’d only be there for a day anyway.
After a dropping off our baggage we headed to the border crossing, passport in hand, expecting a through checking to be able to enter this small piece of Spain that Britain still has its imperialistic hands on. But we went through with ease, with the border guards only concerning themselves with us having a passport, not the validity or our identities. Walking across a border in an interesting thing as you feel like you in the same place but the scenery starts to change, the accents magically transform and before you know it Vodafone España has cut you off. You’ve definitely entered alien territory.
Being in Gibraltar made me a bit nostalgic for my time spent studying abroad in London at 20. So nostalgic that I decided to try the bangers and mash in the first square we entered, which was quite awful. At least I had a Magner’s to wash it down. As we dined we mentally planned our assault on the Rock.
Before reaching the cable cars that would take us up to the top of the Rock we took a pit stop at the Gibraltar Museum. It is very clear that no one goes in here. It was happily devoid of people and quizzically restricting us from taking photographs (most of the content of the museum are taxidermic animals and mini replicas of the city. I’m not sure how flash photography cold harm them). After we explored and took pictures anyway we set out to see those sought after monkeys!
After a few shots of the spectacular views of the rock itself and Spain and Africa beyond, we caught our first monkey glimpse and approached with caution. As we got closer to take pictures, one jumped inches close to my face and cause me to scream like the girl that I am, recoil in fear, and burst into a fit of giggles. (Monkey you are NOT getting my face!)
On the landing below another monkey, with baby attached to her stomach, had mischievously gotten into an empty baby carriage and stolen a bottle of soda. Unfortunately that was the extent of her skill as she struggled to try to figure out how it would open. The parents looking on were nonplussed and rather happy that this monkey choose to make a spectacle of their baby carriage – a story to tell the grandkids one day.
We continued on to see if we could view Saint Michael Cave and along the way found many more monkeys roaming free, climbing up and falling off of things and jumping all over tourists if they would let them. Unfortunately, the entry price for the cave was highway robbery so we passed and decided to take a break from our walking with a cold drink. A little monkey along the way noticed us drinking and stole my empty can of coke, hoping to find something inside. (Ha monkey I drank it all already! Aayesha -2, Monkeys – 0).
We walked as far as we possibly could, into an area with a restricted sign, and then back out, until we arrived at the mosque at the end of the peninsula where we intended to stop for the bus. There were playgrounds and cricket fields, signs that normal life does take place here. I was starting to get a little crabby, so we headed for a drink in Queensway Quay at a bar with live music. After a few mojitos we decided on dinner to go the safe American route and be ridiculous and have Pizza Hut. Super unnecessary, but it up turned my mood. Did you know they make a pizza with hot dogs in the crust? Eww. Tomorrow we were on the road again to Tarifa for a bit of a longer stay before going into Africa.