Gibraltar (10th September 2015)
Gibraltar, in administrative terms, is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, i.e. an English city with a particular level of independence from the British motherland.
It’s a small fragment of England placed in the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, so near to the African continent for touching it, just in the point where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. In Gibraltar you speak English, bars are called pubs, there are red telephone boxes and mailboxes of Her Majesty the Queen. In the restaurants you can eat “fish and chips” instead of tapas and paella of neighboring Spain, paying with pounds (although euro is welcome, despite not really favorable exchange rates). Curiously, driving is not left as it is in British countries, probably to avoid confusion for drivers from neighboring Spain.
At the entrance to Gibraltar you are immediately struck by the peculiarity of the airport, located just a few meters from the Spanish border. The track of takeoff and landing, in fact, for the limited size of this city-state, through an ordinary city street, the Winston Churchill Av., virtually cutting it into two parts. When an aircraft arrives or takes off, the airport authorities close the street for few minutes like a common rail crossing, in order to temporarily stop the car traffic and allow planes to make their own maneuvers. Really a unique case in the world of its kind.
Gibraltar is ideally divided into two parts, the central part and the upper part.
The central part of Gibraltar is represented above all by the Main Street, with shops, pubs, restaurants, the real heart of the city. On Main Street there is also the Franciscan Monastery, the seat of the British Governor of Gibraltar from 1728.
In the picture shown below Main Street is portrayed in the “National Day”, September 10, when all the inhabitants wear clothing with the traditional colors of the country, white and red. The day commemorates the 1967 referendum when the people of Gibraltar expressed the desire to remain under British sovereignty, and not to pass under Spanish power.
The upper part of the city is accessible by private transport or by cable car. It’s very characteristic, especially for the presence of the famous barbary apes, the most famous attraction of the city. It’s the “Macaca sylvanus“, probably the only population of wild monkeys in Europe. They are very nice monkeys, accustomed to human presence and with which it is easy to relate to (if you are not careful they can steal your wallet or your phone….)!
In this part of the town there is also the opportunity to visit the caves of San Michele and of course, enjoy the view.
Gibraltar is well remembered for being home to one of the mythical “Pillars of Hercules”, a limestone rock 426 meters high, with cliffs overlooking the sea, which for the ancient Greeks and Romans marked, with the other “Column of Hercules” located at Jebel Musa in the neighbor across Morocco, the boundary of the ancient world.
In the southernmost part of the city there is the promontory of “Europa Point” from which, in clear days, you can glimpse the African continent. On the headland there is a lighthouse and a newly built mosque.
WHERE TO EAT