here, there, everywhere

Gibraltar

In Europe, Spain on July 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm

After spending all of Friday getting over the previous night’s dulce de leche, I got out of bed to shower and go with the family to Gibraltar on the southern tip of Spain.  Once again lots has been written about it so I’m not going to rehash anything here.  But here’s what I do have to say about it.

Gibraltar still belongs to the British so you have to bring your passport when you cross the border at the airport.  We parked on the Spanish side and walked over and to get to the main town, you actually get to walk or drive across the airport’s lone runway.  When a plane is ready to land or take off they shut off the runway similar to a raised bridge deck or train crossing and wait for the plane to do its thing before opening everything up again.  We were up in the siege tunnels when a plane took off and could clearly hear the loudspeakers as the security personnel was basically yelling into it telling pedestrians to clear the runway.

Click to watch the plane take off.

We spent the early afternoon touring the rock, including the caves, a brief stop to hang with the Barbery apes, and then a walk through the siege tunnels on the northern end.  Gibraltar is far bigger than I imagined and it creeps me out a little to think it’s still a small bit of land belonging to the British with a very small toehold on the continent. Obviously they’ve hung on to it tenaciously but still, what if Spain decided to close access to the ports or shut down the overland route?

While we were having lunch in a British pub, Mom saw a wedding party enter the neighbouring church.  Later on as Dad and Andrew were exploring the rock by cable car, Mom and I sat in the church to keep cool while we waited.  We ended up talking to a fellow who turned out to be the florist who handles all the weddings in that church.  That day there were 3 weddings and when there are multiple weddings on the same day, the couples end up sharing the floral arrangements.  This is fine when they agree on the same thing, like all white bouquets for example, but when they have different ideas it obviously creates more work for him.  Like the first bride of the day who wanted red and white arrangements – he got to work earlier than usual to stick the red flowers in.  As soon as that wedding was over and all the guests had left, he went back into the church to take the red flowers out so the next party’s requirements of all white were met.  Once, he told us, he had just finished lining the church pews with calla lilies, and as he was talking to the bishop or whoever, someone came in and walked off with all the lilies.  Klassy.

Fortunately leaving Gibraltar was far easier than leaving Granada so we were able to get back to Fuengirola with enough time to head to the beach for supper.  The beaches there are beautiful, more than 4km long with soft sand.  The whole strip reminded me a bit of Miami without the art deco, and once again demonstrated how humans love to be out in the sun with its rays on bare skin.   Some more bare than others, and unfortunately it’s never as great as you think it’s going to be.

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