As we rounded the Rock of Gibraltar, we radioed Queensbay Quay Marina and--what luck!--there was a berth available for us! The marina is chock full this time of year and most everyone we know has been turned away, so we were delighted. The advantage of QQ is its prime location for sightseeing in Gib. We made friends that evening over beer with Alan aboard sv Ticketeeboo, with whom we have several mutual friends who wintered in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily.
Next day we rode up the cable car and then spent several hours seeing the sights on the long walk down. The famous barbary monkeys were everywhere, and seemed to delight in posing for photos. The younger ones scampered about, making me nervous as they chased one another right on the edge of the wall, with a long drop down should they lose their footing. But I'll be they never do. CLICK FOR MONKEY PHOTOS
A couple of the many facts we gleaned as we toured the extensive tunnel system and cave: There are 30 miles of tunnels inside the Rock, built for strategic purposes over several centuries and not completed till 1968. Next door neighbor La Linea, Spain, got its name due to being the line (linea
) beyond which the 18th century cannon balls couldn't reach. Today the Gibraltar airport runway straddles the border, and cars and people scurry across between plane landings and take-offs.
During WW II, Franco of Spain, although allied with the Nazis, prevented Germany from taking over Gibraltar from the Brits, a decision that strengthened the Allied Forces' control of the Mediterranean. When America joined the war, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was stationed inside the Rock, from where he planned the crucial invasion of North Africa. Gibraltar was of major importance to the outcome of the war.
We also visited a large, beautiful but very wet cave with stalagmites and stalactites inside the Rock, used as a hospital during the War and as a concert hall today, with amazing acoustics (see photos). We wonder how the surgeons then, and musicians now, liked the steady drip, drip on their instruments, not to mention the patients and audiences.
CLICK FOR GIB PHOTOS