Sunday, May 22, 2011

España, Part 4

España, Part 1
España, Part 2
España, Part 3

Going to Gibraltar was one of the things I was looking forward to the most while in Spain. On Wednesday, my family and I grabbed our passports and headed to Gibraltar, which was between half an hour and an hour away from our hotel in Estepona.

Everyone just kept describing Gibraltar as a city on a rock, so I really didn't know what to expect.
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Going through customs to go from Spain to Gibraltar was the first big shock. I thought security would be pretty strict since the two countries are right next to each other, but the guard barely glanced at our passports and we drove right on through without a problem. I guess that's what happens when people have to go to work everyday in a different country than the one they live in.

Being an English major and somewhat England-obsessed, I was so excited to be in Gibraltar, which is a British overseas territory. The city was just what I pictured a small European city to look like: lots of scooters, dreary buildings, small streets, laundry hanging on clothing lines, and shops and restaurants lining the streets. I loved it! I loved everything about it...just another sign that I'm supposed to be in Europe. :]
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One thing that we didn't quite get the memo on was the size of our car. While in Spain, it was clear to us that our normal American-sized car was a little out of place, but Gibraltar was a completely different story. The streets were tiny! We actually got stuck trying to go up a hill between buildings. And by stuck, I don't mean just-kind-of-stuck-but-still-maneuverable. We were stuck. With less than an inch of room on either side of the car, we had to rely on the kindness of a local to guide us back down the hill. It was so scary! I can't believe my dad managed to steer that big BMW boat without hitting the walls. It was ridiculous.

After we handled that little snafu, we did the traditional tourist activities, including the British siege tunnels, appropriately named after the Windsor royal family, the amazing caverns that were used as a hideout for troops during battles between the British and the Spanish, and an old Moorish castle or two.
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One thing about Gibraltar definitely surprised me: the monkeys! There were monkeys everywhere, and these little guys were not afraid of people! They came right up to us, jumped all over our car, and just went about their business like nobody was around. One was even brave (and spunky) enough to try to steal my brother's camera!
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After our tourist adventures, we walked around town, visited a lot of shops and boutiques, and had a traditional British meal of fish and chips. I loved Gibraltar, and I can't wait to visit the real London in just a few weeks!
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I'm pretty sure that going to Gibraltar was my favorite day of our trip. It was just so fascinating to be able to drive across a gate and be in an entirely different country (where they speak an entirely different language, no less).

Next stop: Tangier, Morocco...seriously

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