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Gibraltar, United Kingdom

"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.

sunny 28 °C
View Mediterranean Cruise on Anja Fourie's travel map.


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.

1. First look at the Rock

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 there are no 3 Euro dresses can be seen here.

It is interesting to see how most of the price tags in clothing stores are shown in euros, pounds and dollars. The reason for this is that, although a physical part of Spain, Gibraltar is a British overseas territory and citizens are all British citizens. Some shops only indicate prices in pounds, but they accept the Euro as form of payment. Most items only have a price tag indicating the amount in British Pounds. The shopkeepers are either just really good at converting to Euro or they make up the prices as they go along, but they can immediately give you the Euro amount if you ask.

Gibraltar may be a British overseas territory, 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 Spanish. Maybe I just unluckily spoke to the wrong people?

2. The square at the beginning of Main Street

3. 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.

4. Signs that the British were, are and will be here

5. 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. Only 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 territory.

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 Connery 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.

6. Miss World 2009 - A Gibraltar local

At the end of Main Street, there is not much left to do. I buy an ice-cream and make my way back to the ship.

7. Docked at Gibraltar

Next stop: Home

Posted by Anja Fourie 11:38 Archived in Gibraltar Tagged morocco pounds gibraltar john_lennon dollars marriage euros joko_ono barbary_apes princess_diana prince_charles john_galliano sean_connery united_nations referendum

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