Gibraltar - National Day

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Sun 16 Sep 2007 18:30

Here at last is the promised chapter on our stay in Gibraltar, and a report on National Day.


But first, a bit abut the National  Spirit of the place. Basically Gibraltar is a garrison town. It has been under siege for most of its history. (Militarily and economically). So the locals have a very formal approach to life, and we found most of them to be very black & white in there dealings with us.  It is also fair to say that it sometimes felt like an overspill town for displaced folks from Essex.  Sorry if that seems a little harsh, but it is based on our experience there.


Having said that, we were very excited about arriving there. That is because it is the official starting point for the Blue Water Rally 2007/9.  Consequently it felt like a defining moment to us. So it was with much joy that we raised the courtesy flag, as we motored into Gibraltar Bay.



As you can see it’s  Red & White, and that is the other name for Gibraltar National day. As the following pictures show……….





It is a national holiday, and just everyone dresses up in Red & White. You would not believe how many combinations are possible with this colour scheme. Some of the women in particular had gone to a lot of trouble. The Day started with Parades and celebrations at the National Stadium, then Street (Square) Parties, then a Rock Concert in the National Stadium followed by an enormous fireworks display. Being in Marina Bay, we saw the fireworks and enjoyed the Rock Concert until the wee small hours.


One other feature of the Marina in Marina Bay, is that it is literally next door to the Gibraltar airport runway.  So it can be a little noisy at times, especially when American Military planes take off………..



(This picture was taken from our boat).



Whilst all of this was very interesting and entertaining the thing that Jennie and I really wanted to do was visit the “Rock” and to see the Barberry Apes, that Gibraltar is so famous for. So after consulting the Tourist Office we headed out on foot for the Cable Car. Its about a 20 minute walk from the main square. Now as you may recall from a previous blog, I am not the best with heights, so why I agreed to this I simply do not know!!




These two pics give a feel of the cable car system, but in no way do they show the heights involved, or the sensation of movement as it lurches along. My legs just turned to Jelly when it stopped at the mid level station. It just swung there and I hoped and prayed that I would not be asked to get off at this point. Had I done so I am sure I would have gone into Mr Bean mode and humiliated myself…big time. The worst was yet to come. There is a pylon which the car has to go over, and the cable car made a sickening shudder as it cavorted sideways over this. At this point I though my bowls were going to turn to water….Happily for everyone's sake they didn’t. So miracle of miracles I made it to the top. Once safely on Terra Firma, I vowed never to get in one ever again.


Almost as soon as we arrived, we saw the Apes. We were extremely fortunate in our timing, because this is the time of year when the young ones are born, so there were very young babies and Juveniles to see. Jennie was beside herself at this point and it is down to the excellent technology of Sony Digital Cameras that they can take 25,000 pictures with out draining the batteries. The problem then is spending the next week editing them…………….








Having feasted our eyes on this ever so tame wildlife, we then decided to visit St Michaels Caves. Well it was sort of one the way down. Most impressive. I had forgotten  to take the  flash gun for my camera along. Inbuilt flash units are a complete waste of time in pitch dark, underground caverns that are a 100 feet high. So I will (maybe) just have to go back again.


As you may have gathered by now there was no way I was getting back in that Cable Car. Not even for I million pounds. So we walked back to the City Centre. Around 6 miles, in 35 degrees of heat. By the time we got back, our legs were like rubber, but boy did we get to see a lot of the Rock. Not forgetting the back streets of the City. Oh, and the Moorish Fort. Also not forgetting the Siege caves……..etc etc.


One our return to the Main Square, we had Steak & Ale Pie in a good old English pub and then tottered back to the boat and just collapsed for the evening. Absolutely cream crackered!


All in all, quite a day, and another travel ambition realised.