May 12th, 2018
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on Spain’s South Coast, which offers adventure, military history, beautiful beaches, culture, shopping, and natural attractions. The climate of Gibraltar is affected by the surrounding sea, so it was very foggy and chilly in the early morning. Throughout the day, the temperature warmed up and we were able to appreciate the soft winds that came off the Sea. My tour guide told me that the official language in Gibraltar is English, however Spanish is widely spoken. In fact, the language spoken is an unofficial dialect called “Yanito.” Yanito is a mix of English, Spanish, and some Italian words. How interesting is that!?
Gibraltar was technically our third port stop, so excitement and energy was still flowing through students veins. The ship was cleared at 8:00am and we were allowed to get off and explore the United Kingdom! Some students had excursions like touring the Gibraltar Rock, visiting the monkeys, and exploring St. Michaels Cave.
Now, let me take you through my journey in Gibraltar….
I personally did not purchase an excursion in Gibraltar, so I had to find my own way up to the enormous rock! Locals told me it would take 2 hours to walk up the rock…. NO, THANK YOU! As I continued walking through the city, I came across a company who drives groups of tourists up to the rock for 25 pounds each. What a deal! So, myself and 7 friends hopped into our tour guides van and we had an hour an a half to explore the rock. Our first stop was the lower rock city-overview. This is where we saw the entire city from above. The view was breathtaking! FUN FACT: Spain and Africa (Morocco) can be seen from afar at this section of the rock!
St. Michael Cave
We continued to drive and I honestly did not know what to expect next. Our tour guide stopped the van halfway up the rock and we got out to enter St. Michaels Cave. The cave is a vast network of limestone grottoes 984 feet above sea level on the actual rock. –As we were walking in, we hear screaming and laughing and we look to our left to see a monkey stealing a ladies plastic bag with her souvenirs in it! It’s funny because our tour guide DID warn us about the monkeys stealing personal items before we exited his van.– The cave was astounding and modernized. Different colored LED lights shine up the walls and stairs are built-in throughout the entire cave. Today, the cave hosts concerts, ballet, and theater shows thanks to its beautiful acoustics and romantic setting.
Finally!! We arrive at the top of the rock! We see monkeys flooding the street and jumping on top of the tour vans. Our first stop at the top of the rock was the Skywalk. FUN FACT: The Skywalk stands 340 meters directly above sea level and is located higher than the tallest point of London’s “The Shard.” Impressive! At first, I was SO scared to walk on the skywalk because it is made of all glass. When I looked down, I saw my feet and 340 meters of air before the ground! Just a couple of feet away from the skywalk is where the monkeys all hang out and eat their fresh fruits and vegetables that the Gibraltarians provide for them. The tour guides bribed the monkeys with nuts to get them to jump on our shoulders. We had to keep our hands down and be calm in order for the monkeys to stay calm. Having the monkeys jumping on everyone’s shoulders and seeing everyone’s smile reach from one side of their face to the other was such a great memory!