Gibraltar Visit, 2012, Part 2 of 2
In Gibraltar, 2012 Visit, Part 1 of 2, I covered the wonderful sightseeing spots and the food and weather of Gibraltar. The following covers my experiences with the people and animals of Gibraltar.
First, regarding animals. At the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, we made a personal acquaintance with the monkeys of Gibraltar. The monkeys are supposed to be the only wild animals in all of Europe. We walked past plenty of them with no trouble. But then I walked around one in the road, leaving a lot of space between him and me. He got up, raced across the road, and jumped on my back. AGGGGH! Luckily, he slid right off and I didn’t get any scratches or anything. But I had the heebee geebees for quite a while. Between my horse experience in Iceland, and this experience, I was very wary from then on regarding any kind of animals!
The monkeys were mostly found on top of the Rock, although I understand they were also located on the beach. We did not see any monkeys in the town itself. When walking on top of the Rock though, and down many of the nearby streets, keep your eyes open for them. They startled us a few times when they just dropped off a wall, landing in front of us. Also, at one point, we walked up some steep steps to a small fort and we would walk around a corner and there would be one laying in the path right in front of us. Again, just be wary!
Next, regarding the people of Gibraltar. The stone streets are the perfect spot for a slow stroll and then an outdoor meal or drink. Gibraltarians, as they like to be called, can be found walking through town, greeting each other quite frequently. Everyone appeared to be happy and friendly, and who wouldn’t be with all that great weather? But Gibraltarians are definitely a friendly people.
One day, we went for a stroll and found the oldest bar in Gibraltar, which was The Star Bar, located on Parliament Lane. We had an English dinner of fish and chips and steak and ale pie. Then we were discussing our difficulties in making plans to take a trip into Spain on the last day before we left. We were finding as we wandered around the travel agents, that Saturdays were tough days for trips. So we were considering renting a car and heading out on our own. One of our party suggested we ask the proprietor of the Star Bar, which is exactly what we did.
Not only did he suggest a day trip that sounded quite interesting (a trip to Cadiz, with a stop in Medina-Sidonia to see the old roman road that went through someone’s living room), but he came back a few minutes later and asked if he could sit down. Once settled, he offered to lend us his personal travel book which covered the Southern portion of Spain. He asked that we just come back after our trip to return the book and let him know how the trip was. What a wonderful gesture for people he didn’t even know!
Unfortunately, we didn’t wind up visiting Spain, but returned the book with our thanks a few days later. That was a wonderful thing for him to do for strangers.
On another night, we were lucky enough to be invited to a party which was held on board our ship, and was attended by major representatives of Gibraltar. The Governor, The Chief Minister, The Mayor, The Deputy Mayor and their wives, as well as various British Navy officers and others attended. Conversations were lively and interesting. We talked about Gibraltar’s history, ethnic and religious makeup. We also covered women’s fashions worldwide, traveling and families. All the Gibraltarians we talked with were friendly, lively and intelligent. In addition to the wonderful conversations, we also had a scrumptious buffet. The catering company of Chartwells prepared a feast of tuna, whale, steak, cheese, cooked fruits, breads, lobster rolls and more.
Bottom line, the people of Gibraltar are wonderfully friendly and welcoming, and will help make any trip a warm memory.
Just watch out for the monkeys!