Sorry, but that’s what I think of any time I hear "Gibraltar." So, what/where is Gibraltar? Gibraltar is a giant rock & it's also, a British Territory, shaped like a peninsula on the coast of Spain. I know what your thinking... "Why would you travel thousands of miles to go see a rock? We have plenty of rocks in America!" and while you are correct, this rock is astounding. It literally took my breath away when we first saw it, and that was at night. The juxtaposition of this massive rock, against the flat, sandy beach, and turquoise waves of the Mediterranean make it even more spectacular!
Gibraltar has been occupied by neanderthals, Moors, Muslims, Spain, & Great Britain. It was used during the second World War and there are many tunnels and structures from the war still standing today. The rock itself is also home to Barbary Macaques, the only monkey indigenous to Europe, and you can visit them after a quick gondola ride up to the top! I stress YOU, because Ian and I did not visit the monkeys. When we first woke up, the weather was horribly windy and overcast. I am already afraid of heights and did not see any reason to give God a reason to end my reign of terror on this planet. Also, Ian and I are kind of afraid of monkeys. Like, not in a weird way, but the term, going "ape shit" doesn't come from nowhere. Monkeys are super cute, but sometimes they rip peoples faces off. I'm not trying to make headlines by being attacked by a monkey.
It was nighttime when we arrived on the rock. We stopped into an open restaurant and a traditional British pub unfolded before us. There were pints of English ales, chunky chips, and everything was priced in English currency. If I walked a mile north, we'd be back in Spain! It felt odd, but also homey. Ian and I lived in London for a bit and it's one of our favorite places. The staff was even dressed in a more formal, English way, but when they opened their mouths, we quickly realized that English was their second language. It felt a bit like Disney World. There was something a bit disingenuous about the culture, but that isn't stop us from enjoying our new surroundings. We booked our Gibraltar hotel from the pub on Hotels.com. Being that it was so late, we got a spectacular deal on the Caletta Hotel, a beachfront resort. I am a planner and always book everything way ahead of time, but on this trip, we were really flying by the seat of our pants. It was a new feeling, but also, surprisingly less stressful because we didn't have to spend a night in a place we didn't like, or we could choose to spend more time in a place that we did.
The following morning, we decided to have tea and espresso on the balcony of our hotel, The Caletta. The view was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The waves crashed, hard on the rocks and ruins separating us from the water. The clouds began to dissipate and the views just became more and more spectacular. Ian and I darted from one end of the balcony to the other, trying to snap photos that would do the view any justice, but we failed miserably. Finally, we decided to stay still and just deal with the fact that this would have to be seen through our eyes alone. No photo could recreate it.
After tea and coffee, we went for a stroll around the southern tip of the rock. there were lots of ruins, some clearly dating from the second world war, others from a time too distant to know for sure. A big red bus passed us and it felt like such a juxtaposition next to the laid back beach. We picked our way around the coast, basically enjoying the scenery to ourselves... Until someone jogged by, and then another, and then several joggers, and soon, we realized that we were walking in the middle of a marathon! I guess the starting line was before our hotel, because we obviously would have avoided being nearly trampled by avid runners. Instead, we found ourselves picking our way through swarms of sweaty runners, apologizing profusely, even though many did not speak our language, and heaving a huge sigh of relief when we were finally out of their way!
We strolled through some more ruins, but knew we had to catch a flight and had a drive ahead of us. We stopped by a small cafe to have a quick bite on our way out of the city. We sat outside with a view of the rock and the water. You could even see the northern tip of Africa, where we had been just the previous afternoon. The man opening was so kind to us with our vegan dietary restrictions. He brought us warn, toasted bread with assorted jams and delicious, Spanish coffee. I'm sorry, but the coffee most parts of Bitain is total crap. You can find amazing coffee shops, but most people consider freeze-dried Nescafe as acceptable coffee (it isn't) and I was relieved to have a little liquid caffeine heaven before making our way out.
If we hadn't disliked our time in Tangier, we never would have made the time to come to Gibraltar, but I am so glad that we did. Not only did we absolutely love our short trip there, I would consider moving to the tiny peninsular and opening another restaurant (Copper Vault, Gibraltar, anyone?) with Ian. The location is unbeatable. It has English charm with Mediterranean vistas. What more could anyone possible want?
#whitneyswanders #travelblogger #Gibraltar #Vacation #adventure #whitney #mediterranean #love #holiday #water #beach #bigeock #vegan #model #plusmodel #married #travelblog #nashville #race #coffee #hotel #lastminute #readthis