Friday, November 27, 1998
Gibraltar is just a few miles across the harbor from Algeciras, but a 40-minute ride by local bus. The rock itself seems out of place in the surrounding landscape, and my eyes had been drawn to it for the past two days. Finally I would have the chance to explore it.
I had hoped to find a British-style town where I could pub-crawl with fellow English speakers. Boy, was I wrong! There's definitely a strong British influence, but it seemed that most of the people in the city were Spaniards crossing over to take advantage of the colony's duty-free status. Perhaps it was due to the upcoming holidays, but the city was crowded, and I really didn't enjoy it very much.
Gibraltar's shopping district
The town of Gibraltar from the top of the rock
Looking north along the rock's ridge
At the southern end of the ridge is St. Michael's caves. The caves have been used as a makeshift hospital during wartime, and one chamber has been modified into a theatre of sorts. They still use the chamber occasionally for theatrical performances. Organ music is piped in throughout the cave system, and red and green lights highlight the stalactites and stalagmites. Very impressive.
Exiting Gibraltar is much more difficult than entering. The line was long, and it seemed that nearly half the people were pulled aside because they were over their duty-free limit. Several people asked me (in Spanish) if I would carry out some of their stuff, since I wasn't smuggling anything myself. No one offered anything in return, so I declined.