31 Jul Gibraltar
Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom and guards the entrance to the Mediterranean. During my time in the U.S. Navy, my ships passed through the entrance and the Rock of Gibraltar was a welcome site indicating we had successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The bus trip was only a 90-minute ride and well worth taking a day to visit. After customs, we took a minivan ride around the island stopping at the lighthouse marking the Southern point of Gibraltar where we could see Morocco on the other side of the entrance and watch the many ships queuing to enter the Mediterranean.
Afterwards we went higher up on the rock where we had panoramic views of the city and observed Barbary monkey’s native to Gibraltar. The monkeys originated in Morocco and were already present for hundreds of years when the British captured Gibraltar in 1704.There are about 300 of these monkeys running wild on the island and they all originate from only 5 tribes.
As we drove even higher up on the rock, we made a long stop at the Cave of Saint Michaels and walked through the beautiful caverns. In addition to formations of stalactites and stalagmites, the caves have a large auditorium with a rock column in the center which is used for concerts and plays. By far the most interesting configuration was the Angel of Saint Michaels, a group of Stalactites and stalagmites that form the wings and body of an angel. The formation is highlighted periodically with lights which make the design even easier to imagine.
After the van tour, everyone had two hours free to grab lunch and walk around the city streets shopping. Since we had lived in London three years while I was in the Navy, this was especially enjoyable and brought back many good memories.