"I am now in Gibraltar. It is a large place and there does not seem to be room in this letter, in which to express my feelings about Moors in bare legs." - Richard H. Davis.
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Gibraltar is a peninsula of mainland Spain and a small strip of land which is dominated by ‘the Rock’. You can see Morocco in the distance, but walking to Europoint, where the lighthouse and the furthest point of Africa is, is a bit of a long walk into the nature reserve and up ‘the Rock’. Instead I walk around town until I finally find the Main Street. This is where everything happens in Gibraltar it seems. The pictures of Gibraltar are not that great, but I contribute this to my total lack of inspiration in this place.
1. First look at the Rock
2. Getting lost means you have to walk through tunnels
Gibraltar reminds me of a little beach town and there really isn’t much to see here. Walking down Main Street, I enter some shops and look at clothes, but no 3euro dresses can be seen here. The clothes are on a 50% off sale in most places, but still cost 20euro. It is interesting to see how most of the price tags in clothing stores are shown in euros, pounds and dollars. At al the other places the prices are indicated in pounds, but you can still pay in euro. There are no indicated euro prices on items, and I don’t know if the shopkeepers are really good at converting to euro or if they just make up the price as they go along, but they known all the euro prices.
3. The square at the beginning of Main Street
4. Main Street
Gibraltar is also famous for the Barbary Apes. According to legend, if the Apes leave Gibraltar then Gibraltar will cease to remain a British colony. In the past this legend was taken so seriously that the British army used to feed the Apes. I didn't see one Ape.
Gibraltar may be a colony of the United Kingdom, but its physical connection to Spain cannot be denied. The main currency in Gibraltar is pound, fish and chips shops are around every corner and men drink pints on street corners; but English still seems to fail the people here. Whoever I spoke to or asked for directions looked at me in a blank way and just spoke English. Maybe I just unluckily spoke to the wrong people?
5. Signs that the British were, are and will be here
6. The Irish part of town
You would think that the Gibraltarians would choose to be a part of Spain, but this is not the case. When the United Nations forced Britain to decolonise Gibraltar in the 1960’s, the people voted over-whelmingly to stay a part of Britain. Over 44 out of the 12 000 voters, voted against Britain. In 2002 they held another referendum and this time only 187 of the 20 000 voters voted against Britain. Apparently these Gibraltarians love Britain even though they are in no rush to learn English. In 2004 Gibraltar celebrated 300 years as a British colony.
John Galliano, who was the head designer of Givenchy and most recently Dior, is from Gibraltar. John Lennon and Joko Ono got married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969 and the lyrics of the Ballad of John & Joko by The Beatles reflect this: "You can make it OK, you can get married in Gibraltar." Sean Connory married both his wives at Gibraltar. The Prince of Wales, Charles and Diana started their honeymoon in Gibraltar. Kaiane Aldorino, is also from Gibraltar and was Miss World 2009.
7. Miss World 2009 - A Gibraltar local
At the end of Main Street, there is not much left to do. I exit Main Street, buy an ice-cream and make my way back to the ship.
8. Docked at Gibraltar
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