Episode 8 – Gibraltar – A Gem at Sea
We read about Gibraltar when we were young and it was difficult to image great general like Napoleon would fight over this piece of rock. When we went up the hill and looked down, Gibraltar is such a military strategic point since it can reach Spain, Portugal and Africa within a short distance. The rock is the perfect guard controlling the passage way between Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
This is a cute little island. It is its own country now. Banking and tourism remain the strongest industry it has. We finally reached this island after a long coach ride. It is very interesting to observe 2 different languages spoken at the custom office. The English on the island are boastful, loud and very outspoken. We turned our attention to sightseeing.
During times of war, a lot of tunnels had been dug and they are connected to caves. The limestone structure within these caves gather a lot of beauty and interest, yet they are no match to the caves in Guilin, China.
Running wild at the caves are Gibraltar’s famous golden monkeys.
These creatures are the most protected assets of the country. The government keep close statistics of these monkeys. These animals are encouraged to approach the tourists asking for food. They are bold enough to grab the tourists bags, thinking there might be food in them. The monkeys can jump on the tourists and take photos with them. Of course, they can be aggressive sometimes, but usually they are quite tame. Some people might find the monkeys cute, but an animal is an animal. They can turn dangerous at all times. If you got bitten, you could be in for a lot of inconvenience.
We arrived at the town square and we found the most famous cuisine on the island was fish and chips. How English could you get. The restaurants use sole for the fish fillet. Sole, by nature, is a very soft texture fish. It does not have much taste and often it smells fishy. The fish fillet was big enough for 2 people. The batter has a very smooth surface and it is glistening of oil. This fish compared with the halibut we use for fish and chips in Canada, looked secondary. The chips were rather good. Guess they were home made.
We ate our fish, drank our beer and started running to the bus depot. We had to take the bus to the border, went through custom and immigration before we could see our coach bus. We felt safe to leave a bigger time margin to locate our bus.
One good thing about shopping in Gibraltar is no sales tax. It makes a significant difference if you are going after the luxurious goods. This is such a small island and you can finish your exploration within a few hours.
We rushed back to the Spanish way and continue our journey.