Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back on the Rock!

**Had a few internet challenges, so I am behind in getting the blog to Post....Life in a foreign country.... :)

Today was a fun day!! We started the morning by visiting a children’s school for Sylvia and Savanna. It is common for children to begin school in Spain at 3 and very typical to go to a “preschool” before that time. They have many options of schools, and it was nice to see one in session. Sylvia seemed to enjoy seeing the other children too!

In the afternoon, Charles and I headed back to Gibraltar. The weather has been great so far – crisp, cool and sunny. We decided to go up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, which has incredible views in every direction. We visited St Michael’s Cave and explored the depths inside - amazing!! There's even an open area which can be rented out for concerts and events with incredible accoustic sound. Keep that in mind if you ever need to rent out a cave!! :) Who knew?

We also explored the tunnels used in the Great Siege of Gibraltar. The Siege took place when Spain unsuccessfully attempted to take back Gibraltar in the late 1700's. The tunnels were dug deep into the middle of the rock for protection with holes for cannons and guns intersperced along the edges. It was interesting to follow the tunnels all the way to the end.

However, what amazed us most about the “Upper Rock” was seeing all the monkeys!! They were everywhere and fun to watch as they followed us around. We had to wait for one large monkey to finish his banana before he would move out of the street to let us by!! We were warned that they love to grab cameras, glasses, etc.. so they tend to be a bit mischievous. We watched them jump on cars and do some antics to entertain. They seemed to enjoy the attention!

As we were driving to our last stop on the upper rock, we missed the turn for the Moorish Castle and ended up in a tiny neighborhood. The streets in that part of Gilbraltar look like many in Europe – very narrow, steep and lined with cars with barely enough room for one car to pass. Appartently the street stops abruptly and there is NO place to turn around and go back. We figured that part out too late!! A friendly resident walked by and told us that the only way out was to back up the street and around two curves (and around the parked cars with inches to spare). However, Charles did NOT agree and decided to attempt to turn the car around. You can imagine the picture…..I was out on the street going from the front of the car to the back of the car telling him how many INCHES he had to move ….. He was persistant and determined, and I was laughing and trying to take a picture at the same time. The same neighbor lady came out and offered to get her husband to help us, since “he helps tourists who do this all the time”!! :) While we were contemplating our options, another car came down the same path and had the same situation, which was now blocking our car…..The lady ran to get her husband, who expertly backed their car up the hill and backwards around two turns, then came back for ours!! He is a Gilbraltar firefighter that was off for the day – but said that he did this ALL the time – which made us feel a little better!! Getting stuck was a first for us, but we were thankful to have an “angel” to help us get out of a bind. We laughed all the way back to the city!! What an experience!!

We found a neat little street tucked between the buildings and enjoyed walking along seeing in the shops. It was so peaceful to walk around and stop for cafe' con leche - so European! :) All in all, we had a great day of fun and we are enjoying our adventures in a foreign land.
So we have now SEEN the Rock, been ON the rock, been UP the rock, STUCK on the rock and even INSIDE the rock – giving us a complete experience of a beautiful area!

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