Gibraltar

Buenos Días! Today I want to write about my trip to Gibraltar.  I took this trip two weeks ago, so it’s not exactly breaking news, but I wanted to make sure that I had the chance to share my experience before embarking on any other adventures.  This was officially my first trip out of Andalucía since I’ve arrived here; and what’s more it was my first trip technically out of the country. Gibraltar is a small península off the coast of Andalucía, at about three hours distance in bus, and technically owned by Great Britain.  Being in overseas territory of Britain, we had to cross a customs border to get on the península. This consisted of just flashing your passport to a border guard or two on then your on your way!  Even though this process isn’t too extensive, not everybody I traveled with made it into Gibraltar.  I traveled with Erasmus (European Study Abroad program) which is a great deal and always an interesting experience.

Granada is the most popular destination for Europeans studying abroad, so the Granada group of Erasmus is an eclectic group students from Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Ukraine, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, etc. etc…. But the best part is that they’re very accepting of non-europeans…like me! They tend to get a large group of all kinds of Americans from the USA, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and even Australians tag along too.  Everyone’s invited! And what’s more is that the only common language for the vast majority of them is Spanish so it’s a great opportunity to practice Spanish and meet new people.

But anyway where was I going with this story?? Oh yea, you have to bring your passport to get into Gibraltar!  Not your school ID (like some may have thought) and you can’t get in just because you are English.  For these reasons a few Italians and Brits were left behind at the border line.

Upon arriving and going through customs, you also have to cross an airport runway, this can be a fun trick.  Whenever I entered there was a plane landing so I had to wait behind a traffic light with a bunch of other traffic: cars, scooters, bikes and pedestrians alike.  We didn’t have to wait too long, just a couple of minutes, but this split us up from a lot of the rest of the group.  This was no big deal though, it was just an opportunity to make new friends.  It turns out that my group wasn’t the only group that got split up and we picked up a Czech girl.

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Crossing the Frontera to Enter Gibraltar

When we stepped foot into Gibraltar everything was different, we entered a whole new world, or a whole new country rather.  There were old English dudes trying to sell tours around the caves, up the mountain and through the historical sites.  The old chap were nice enough, but it was just funny to watch them try to make a deal with people who hardly spoke a lick of English, and the English dudes didn’t speak Spanish either.  I figured I’d try to help translate some, but the group was not interested.  They knew that what these guys were offering was no deal.  So went on our wy to find our own way up the mountain, or the “rock” as it’s called.  It’s that giant landform in the above picture; it just stands alone on this península surrounded by water.  We started trekking through the town and came across plenty of interesting sites. The first thing to stand out to me as blatantly British was this marching band.

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All of their marches were conducted in English

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I’m sure British marching bands don’t get a backdrop like this on the mainland

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Halt!

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English-Type Architecture

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Street Signs in English

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I’ve got to imagine this is the most pleasant place to live in all of the UK. It’s got the good weather, the scenery, the mountains, the water and the diversity.  After a lot of walking we decided to take the teleférico to the top of “the rock” instead of walking or taking a bus. The English call the teleférico the cable-car, I’m not sure what it would be called in America.  It wasn’t cheap, it costed a lot of pounds. Everything in Gibraltar is pounds and it’s all very expensive.  The good thing is that you can use Euros too.  Here’s some views from the teleférico: 

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There was some good views from the windows

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It was actually frightening riding up because the wind was intense

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Oh yea, besides the Scenery, the sea, and the climate, Gibraltar has the monkeys!

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One of the first of the first little rascals that I saw up there

This monkey snagged the pringles can out of one of the Greek girls’ backpacks and tore that can to pieces. They feed those monkeys well with lettuce and carrots, but that day this monkey had a feas of pringles.  everyone was so interested in the monkeys. If you are considering travelling to Gibraltar I would encourage you to go, if for nothing else to see the monkeys.  The monkeys seemed to have gotten a lot of reception compared with everything else in Gibraltar.  They’re all over the rock and apparently they can be seen in town too.  Although they’re very interesting it’s illegal to touch or feed them, and they do bite a few of my friends have been bit by the monkeys in Gibraltar on other trips.  I don’t want to discourage anybody from taking a trip here though, it is definitely a cool experience to walk among wild monkeys in their, more or less, natural hábitat.

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Me and my new friends from Mexico and the Czech Republic

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The Views on the Rock were Spectacular

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That water’s got to be as blue as the carribean’s

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Blue!

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Blue!!

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Just chiilin’ or pondering the meaning of life?

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Pickin’ Grubs

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This dude was looking for trouble

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Up he was daring

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I just wanted a picture with them

Like I said it’s a whole nother world. These pictures turned out pretty decent I think, but just imagine it on a nice day.  On a clear day you could see the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar and onto Africa from these views.  I got to see just a glimpse of the Moroccan Mountains from the rock, but it was very impressive and certainly a first for me.  Gibraltar’s a good trip and I’d like for everyone to have the chance to see the southern coast of Spain.  This weekend I’m going to the northern coast and can’t wait to share the stories that are to come.  Between the Basque Country and the rest of Semana Santa I’m going to have plenty to write a blog or two about.  Anyway have a good one, Hasta Luego!

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P.S. My keyboard is in Spanish so I’m sure there’s a bunch of errors

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