10 Day Rome to Lisbon cruise


Palma de Mallorca

Our cruise was not supposed to go to Gibraltar, but due to bus strikes in Spain, our route was changed.  Holland handled this so well, I was truly amazed.

England captured Gibraltar during the war of Spanish Succession in 1704.  This possession was made permanent in 1713 by the Peace of Utrecht.  Like most of these deals, the Spanish decided later they wanted it back and closed it's boarders in an attempt to force the English out.  This tactic didn't work.  Every so often they'd have a vote about going over to Spain or staying with England.  The answer was always "stay with England."  Spain finally got smart.  They opened the borders in 1985.  The land between Gibraltar and Spain was elevated and a Runway built.  With open borders, citizens from Gibraltar started marrying Spanish citizens.  Now, most people in their twenties seem to be part Spanish.  Our twentish, female guides were one-forth to one-half Spanish.  They spoke a mixture of Spanish and English to each other and perfect English to us.  At this rate they'll all be speaking Spanish in twenty years.

With only 2.3 square miles of land (currently), all the  tours go basically to the same places, they just change how you get there.  Four of us took the cable car to the top of the hill.  The cable car can stop at the half way point where the stairs start which go the rest of the way to the top.  It would be a very rough climb, however.  The Atlantic side of the island (shown in picture above) is the populated area.  The right tip is the southern most point in Europe.  To the left of the runway is Spain.

I don't know why I expected the guns of Naverone, maybe because any decent gun on Gibraltar could easily strike any ship in the straight or even parts of Africa, but all the cannons were of a much earlier time.  Some British Lt designed a way to shoot them downhill.  I think it was like a straw plug to hold the cannonball in the barrel.  They're in the limestone caves that are all over the top of the hill.

One of the invaders (I assume) from Africa brought  over small tailless Moroccan apes.  The British government maintains about 30 running loose in the hills.  Most are standing around looking for handouts from tourists.  The legend is that the British will leave Gibraltar when the apes do.  I didn't see any apes packing their bags.

Like Monaco, growth is restricted in Gibraltar due to lack of usable land.  Also like Monaco, they are solving the problem with dredging.  They call it reclaimed land.  I don't see how you can "reclaim" something that never existed.  Perhaps they should call it "elevated" land, like from 20 feet below sea level to 10 feet above.