Wow, what a full day! We did not realize that daylight savings time occurred today in this part of the world, so when the rock of gibraltarEaster morning church bells rang out we wondered why we felt so tired. Jeff and I ignored that 'alarm clock' and hit the snooze button (a.k.a. threw an arm over our ears). After getting ourselves organized for the day (destination - Gibraltar!), Jeff and Chloe made the long trek to retrieve our car from the bus depot, while Julia and I got organized for the road trip by making sandwiches, gathering snacks, and tidying up the apartment.


We hit the highway - a beautiful toll road with fast speeds and great drivers. The scenery on the way down to Gibraltar was really beautiful and we were interested the entire way. Gibraltar is a fascinating place - you hear about it all the time, but how often do you get the opportunity to actually visit? Gibraltar signFiguring that we would most likely not find ourselves in this part of the world for quite some time, we needed to take advantage of the situation. Carpe diem!


Little did we know, but today was the perfect day to visit. Sundays are the slowest, and Easter Sunday, in particular, is very slow. Bonus! We parked our car on the Spanish side of the border and walked across - border control was lax (we just waved our passports at them) and BAM, we were in another country. A very interesting fact about Gibraltar is that they have the only live airport runway that has an active road crossing it. We literally walked across the runway to get into the city/country - how bizarre! When planes take off, or land, they put down a barrier runwayand stop all foot and car traffic until the plane clears the area. Very interesting. This is a picture of the girls and I standing in the middle of the runway - and no one was about to arrest us!


For those who don't know, Gibraltar is considered a "British Overseas Territory" and was ceded to Britain in 1713 during the Treaty of Utrecht. They still experience some tension with Spain over this tiny territory, but I must say it is pretty interesting to be in Spain, walk across a border/airport runway, and find yourselves served by an English speaking person in a square, eating fish n' chips and drinking British beer. Did I accidentally go to Epcot?


After lunch, we wandered to the base of the 'rock' and ended up hiring a driver to take us on a tour. What a great investment - Peter did a phenomenal job and we learned so much today - more than I think my brain can even remember! The tour started at the Pillars of Hercules; after viewing the map of the Mediterranean (and understanding that they thought the world was flat at the time), it was easy to see how they felt that after crossing the straight they would fall completely off the earth and into Hades. How terrifying for them! There is so much more to it than the few sentences I can give it right now, but it is worth looking into, if you feel so inclined.


caveUp we went to St. Michael's Caves. Wow!!! I had zero expectations when I went in, and I have never seen such amazing caves in my entire life. They actually hold concerts in there, and I can only imagine how incredible that would be. If you ever find yourself in Gibraltar, you HAVE to go in. Nature at its finest.


We got back in the van and headed up close to the top of the rock where there were a zillion macaques (monkeys) just hanging out. They climbed onto the van and were just monkeying around in a (slightly) disconcerting way. Plus there was poop everywhere! The best part was standing up on top of some ancient stairs and seeing the Atlantic Ocean to our left, and the Mediterranean Sea to our right. The Mediterranean was shrouded in fog, while the Atlantic was clear skies and sunshine. Very cool.


monkeyLast stop, halfway down the hill, were the caves carved out during WW2. There were huge cannons pointing out of small holes protecting the British Territory, and they actually used the rubble from the caves to build the runway for the airport. Recycling!  We actually got to see a plane take off from the runway while we were up at those caves - it was pretty cool to watch, considering that only hours before we stood right there. What an interesting place.


On our drive back home we took an alternate route and watched the sun set over the Atlantic - something you never see from North America. We eventually made it back to Seville for dinner (which here, occurs at 10 pm) and devoured our food. It was a complete day, and we are allowably exhausted. More adventures tomorrow!


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