I’m very sure that most of you have heard of Gibraltar(Arabic for “Mountain of Tariq”), even if its just a tiny overseas territory. It is possible to be the last known holdout of the Neanderthals and has a lot of other history to tell.
With its 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) it doesn’t seem so important or threatening, but for some reason over centuries everybody wanted it for himself. Amongst others the Vandals, Morocco, and even Austria(Karl IV.) were occupying the peninsula.
The last who planned to take it was Adolf Hitler, but he delayed it because of his attack on Russia.
The value of this mountain is its position. Located on the south coast of Spain it is one of the closest European points to Africa and its right at the Atlantic entrance of the Mediterranean Ocean(Strait of Gibraltar) which is just 13 kms(8 miles) wide and gives the one, who controls it, a huge strategical advantage.
The mountain is also known as “the Rock of Gibraltar” and inhabits at its foot more than 30000 Gibraltarians who are mainly of British and Spanish origin. Most of them speak both languages, which they sometimes combine into a very rare mix also called “Spanglish”.(Encountering it the first time, it was almost impossible for me to understand)
“Gib” is for me one of the safest places in the world. The police is mainly focusing on drugs(Canabis) and if there is a bar fight it seems that all police officers of the “country” appear. You can take a walk in the pretty city without any worries about security.
The Gibraltarians are patriotic and very proud of their independence of Spain. Their biggest National holiday is to celebrate that by dressing up in the colours red and white, music and having a big firework.
If you leave the populated area there are a lot of paths and ways through the nature reserve of the peninsula. Which you can explore during a relaxed day-hike.
If the weather is good, you can also see the mountains of Africa in the distance…
…and enjoy a beautiful sunset over Spain.
During the hike its impossible to not run into the other inhabitants of Gibraltar.
I wanted to go on this hike as early as possible so I took my breakfast with me. Short time after I stopped to rest and eat, a group of monkeys came, one of them ripped my bread out of my hand and sat down 2 metres(6 feet) from me. (This was an accident, don’t feed the monkeys!!)
As compensation for that I got the unique chance to take this amazing pictures.
The about 230 Barbary macaques are the only wild Monkeys in Europe. A superstition says that when the already endangered species leaves the rock, the British do with them.
Most of the monkeys, like this one, are not scared of humans and they know that we have food. They steal what ever they can, run away with it and check later, even if its your backpack with your camera…
The time has carved a lot of natural caves into the limestone which the Neanderthal used as shelter and later civilizations strengthened and turned into bunkers.
Most of them are closed but you can make a paid tour through a part of them where they tell you a lot about the history of the rock. I was lucky to meat some locals who gave me a free tour through a part of it that is not accessible for the public.
We went in through a hidden entrance and had to use flash lights because there was absolutely zero light in there and because it is not prepared for tourists, its very dangerous. You could hit your had or fall into a 10 metre(30 feet) deep hole.
!!!DON’T GO INTO THE ABANDONED BUNKERS WITHOUT SOMEBODY WHO KNOWS THEM!!!
You can get lost in the 40kms(30 miles) of cave systems and nobody will come to check for you.
Because many stairs broke during the time and ladders were either stolen or removed we had to climb in some parts. We didn’t know for sure if the stone will hold our weight. Nothing for weak nerves…
In the time I was hitchhiking a boat I always had something to do on this little place. I was surprised how much Gibraltar has to offer. I will definitely return.
Do you want more? Here’s a small video summary: