Saturday, April 3, 2010

3.30 Gibraltar's family & monkeys

Rock of Gibraltar- North Side

Loved the British signs.

8:30 wasn't a bad wake up call to catch a bus at 11 for Gibraltar from Algeciras.  30 minutes later we were walking across a landing strip for their military towards an enormous mountain made up of white, rock, brush, and caves.  We had to pass through passport control.  The "secure check" was us walking by the guards with the ID page of our passports open. They didn't even look at them.  With a confirmed head nod of the guards, we were through. Walking through the town, the abrupt culture change from the Spanish lifestyle to the British signs, buildings, and language was apparent. They were speaking British English and all the signs weren't in Spanish for once. I was having a hard time going into stores asking for things in English. I kept forgetting and asking them in Castellano, which they understood.   There was a few instances where I would talk in Spanish and the response would be “huh?” and I would have to repeat myself in English. The UK’s flag was flying all over the place along with Gibraltar’s flag with its crest and the European Union’s flag was the third to fly.  It was so unusual to see this town. So incredible to see the diversity. Not only do you see Spanish people speaking proper English, but there were several immigrants from Morocco speaking Arabic, and several still speaking Spanish. Of course there were some tourists speaking German, but the people were not the entirety of this diverse town. To see the port in the ocean and not even a 100 yards beside the water to see a massive mountain is ideal for someone who loves the beach and the mountains. So amazing how God could make a piece of land with such breathtaking structure. 

            Looking for a place to have our daily coffee, we spotted a sign above our heads that said The Methodist Church of Gibraltar and another sign above it saying The Wesley House. This brought me back to Josh's family and all the people at the Wesley Foundation at Tech. My friends. Just to have a piece of home I made my way inside. We went up the stairs following this Spanish looking woman. I said hello and she asked if I was going to take a cup of tea or lunch in the cáfe. She spoke perfect English. She was a sweetheart. Her name was Peely, if thats how you spell it! She was Spanish herself, but her husband was from England. He is a pastor in Gibraltar and his recent project is launching another church on down the East coast of Spain not too far from Gibraltar. I told her all about the Hurst family. It was nice to be so welcomed. I'm not surprised though. We are family in the body and I felt so comfortable with them. At this point my sunburn had hits its peek rosy color and it didn't seem to phase them at all. I told them that I was embarrassed, but they told me not to worry and just to put some creme on it when I explore the Rock. 

Me and Peely

you can really see the burn on my right arm.
there is a distinct line!

I ordered their special, pea soup that had potatoes, carrots, and German sausage bits in it.  Greg ordered their other special, English breakfast with German whole-link sausages, mashed potatoes and gravy with a side of vegetables.  We both had a cup of coffee (American size!) with this hot apple pie/cake with vanilla bean icecream. Greg also got hot lemon tea with his dessert. His was definitely a flavor from home. The entire meal was beyond delicious. We were asked to sign their guest book and also a petition for one of their projects helping the orphans in Morocco. Their sanctuary was a simple meeting place with chairs and a place for the band and a section on the side closed off with curtains for a prayer room. They were so kind to show us around and they also let us leave our bags there for the day so that we could take the cable car up Gibraltar's Rock and hike down it looking at everything. 

I talked Greg into buying tickets taking the cable car up. I did not want to hike up that hour long windy hike so the compromise was to hike down it. We paid 16.50 euros total because we wanted to get into St Michael's Cave and the other historical landmarks that we probably would have had to pay extra anyway to get in to. The cable ride was maybe 3 minutes long. Completely worth it! With our package deal we got a head set telling us the history. I really appreciate history when its not shoved down my throat and I'm not asked to spit it all back up on an exam. 

Gibraltar Ape

We started out on the trail and the very first thing I saw, besides the incredible view of the port and the town, were two monkeys just chilling on this concrete ledge. People were walking by one after the other taking pictures getting extremely close and they were just chilling. As long as you don't tamper with them and you don't touch them they could care less and are completely harmless.  Greg didn't see one and walked right up to it to look over the ledge. He was less than a foot away from it and when he did notice I think he jumped like  2 feet. hahah they are kind of intimidating to be really close to. The ape didn't do anything except look at him. There was an instance where I was trying to take a close up of this one monkey and it was on a fence post and it looked like it was running to attack me but it was running past me to leap on to another fence and I screamed bloody murder turned to run and ran into another lady. haha. I quickly calmed down, but that was a weakness of Elise Peak right there!

We did see a guy that had just been bitten by a monkey.
There is a reason for these signs!

We walked all the way to the south end and looked out over the Straight of Gibraltar to see Africa's silhouette in the distance.  We also got to see this canon that was enormous. There is only one other canon that size in the world! The canon had to be operated by 35 men and the blast was so tremendous that the townspeople were told to open their windows to avoid them from shattering.  

Monkeys are literally everywhere! I loved them! Also, seagulls were a huge part of the Rock. They swarm the grassy areas looking for food. They make a horrible caw but they are so beautiful.

Kind of dark- St. Michael's Cave

My sunburn made this hike interesting. Because we were on a mountain and on the coast of the Straight it was really windy. The breeze was cold but it was sunny enough that hiking made me hot and sweaty. I wanted to take off my jacket but I didn't want to burn more and I was cold because of the wind but still had a burning sensation inside my humid rain jacket. The weirdest feeling ever. We hiked down to St. Michael's Cave. It was incredible and so big. I loved seeing how deep it was. But it doesn't hold a candle to Carl's Bad! GO DEIDRA! The legend has it that this cave is actually a secret passage way to Africa and that is how the apes came to be in Gibraltar, but no ones actually knows. There weren't any bats but there were several barred off sections that I could tell I could probably have climbed quite a ways in to. (Its probably good that I wasn't allowed to explore because I definitely wanted to!)  They had also built a small stage which was really neat. They were playing soft music through a system and it was a cool experience to hear how it reverberated off the walls. 

The Moorish Castle of Gibraltar

To get down the Rock, the fastest way was to climb down these steep narrow stone stairs. After walking down 4 long flights of them, my legs gave out and if it wasn't for the hand rail and my speed-lightning reactions I would have ate it, but thankfully I caught myself. We had to walk clear to the north end because the stairs stopped which led us to The Moorish Castle of Gibraltar. It was interesting to see how much they restored and preserved it. First built in 711 before it was rebuilt after much destruction.  

Finally, we made it downtown.  We found a hole in the wall café in an alley way off the main road. We both had a café con leche or I guess a cup of coffee with milk in a British accent.  And we ate a coffee cake to go along with it. We enjoyed a good 45 minutes of writing postcards and reading before we headed back to the Methodist Church.

We got our bags and headed back through passport control to the bus station. It was easy to catch a bus all the way to Tarifa and it was super cheap, only 3:85 euros. I would say the day was an absolute success. Me encanta Gibraltar. 


Salem said...

I'm so glad you got to go to is so cool! Our plane landed there and then we ferried across to Morocco. Fun times!

Mom said...

I think it quite ironic that the lady's name was Peely when it is what we could be calling

Marinda said...

Wow! Another beautiful place :) Love the white cliffs!