on the move with qings, Spring 15 travel blog

monkeys with monkeys







walking on the runway between Gibraltar and Spain

monkeys with monkey

Here's a place you never expect to find yourself! Gibraltar is one of those places that's not a country, it's not a territory, but it's sort of a protectorate of UK. It is really small, maybe 6 square kilometers, but it's strategically located at the opening of the Mediterranean Sea. It has been under siege between the Moors and the Spanish at least 14 times but is now under UK purview 'in perpetuity'. It was referred to as one of the two pillars of Hercules in Greek mythology, the other being one of the Atlas Mountains in Morroco across the sea. (It was also thought the flat world ended here, but that's another story). It has had two land reclamations which has doubled it to its current size. It has an old section which has bastions dating back to the 1700s and the newer sections have construction of housing by the Danish, looking a lot like some of the HDBs in Singapore.

The economy benefit is from offshore banking, low corporate taxes, shipping logistics and....online gambling! which is a huge part of their GDP.

The rock itself up to 1400 feet high, 3 miles long, and 3/4 mile wide and now has 32 MILES of tunnels honeycombed throughout it. These started in the 1700s and dug a whole lot of them for WWII for hospitals, barracks, command and control, and two lane roads. Fascinating stuff.

Walking around is a little like being in Singapore with Spanish instead of Chinese and the metro, other than the old sections of town. The language is some Spanish and Maltese and a bit of Arabic. And some other stuff. Fortunately most speak English with a British accent or Spanish.

There is a runway on reclaimed land that everyone drives across to cross the Spanish border. We walked over it, which as a bit strange. It closes for air traffic about 5 times a day.

And the there are the Barberry Apes which are actually monkeys originating in The Atlas Mountains, brought over the the Brits (they get around, I tell you). They aren't as fierce as say, Singapore monkeys or Bali monkeys. They are quite woolly and have pretty soft fingers. There is a saying that the Brits would leave Gibraltar when the monkeys do so when numbers were running low in WWII, Churchill ordered more brought in. Now the numbers are high enough that the fellows sometimes descend the mountain to maraude peoples' pools, food, and old folks homes, so a troop was exported to Edinburg at a cost of 37000 GBP....about 50k USD plus.

The bad news is, I left my adaptor for the camera card to the iPad at home on my desk, so pics are limited to those on the iPhone for the moment and there are just so many one can load up on that baby...please stand by!:)

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