Monkeying around

Trip Start Dec 22, 2006
Trip End Apr 01, 2007

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Flag of Gibraltar  ,
Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nathan says: After enjoying 3 weeks of mildly fresh but mostly clear Spanish days, we decided to take a trip to Gibraltar, seeing as it was only a little over an hour away by car. Don't ask me to explain how this works, but from the moment we left for British territory, it was as if the skies knew where we were going, and put on a figid, rainy day that would have done London proud. At first sight of it, it looked very intimidating indeed, and the liitle history that I knew of it was quite believable. Apparently Hitler wanted to bomb and then invade Gibralter by sea, but was convinced by his admirals that it simply could not be done, that the defences of The Rock were impenetrable. But enough history, there's climbing to do, and monkeys to see.
Once we'd passed the "border" and found a park, which is no mean feat in Gibraltar, we set out for the rock. Frugality triumphed over sloth, so we scorned the cable car and decided to earn our lunch by walking to the top, which it turned out was not as difficult as it looked. At the top of the cable car route, a group of the Barbary Macaques (the only wild monkeys in Europe, excluding italian drivers) were having fun ripping into the plastic bags so foolishly dropped by another group of surprised tourists. They must have figured out that a group of girls will drop any bag they are carrying and recoil if you ambush them as they come out of the cable car, they were having lots of fun. Another of these apes was biting and ripping into the seat of a scooter, so I tried to shoo him away from it. He looked me dead in the eye as if to say "Are you talkin' to me? Are YOU talkin' to ME?" Okay, carry on mr macaque, sorry to disturb you... Clem bought a stick of candy at the snack shop at the top of the rock, which she was instructed to keep carefully hidden from the apes. But Im sure they knew the sound of crinkling cellophane, once she tried to open it under her sweater, they knew exactly what she had, and were very eager to get at it, although they never actually touched her since she squealed louder than them. They were much more docile around their breeding sanctuary, where they are fed with all sorts of onions and lettuce and other non-candy goodies. 
We followed the directions for getting off the Rock back into town, only to come to a locked gate! We couldn't be bothered looking for another exit, so we climbed it. It turns out the defences of Gibraltar aren't as impenetrable as they used to be.
After that, we walked around the town centre, and had lunch in Lord Nelson's pub, full of all sorts of nautical themed quintessentailly British ... stuff. Well that about wraps up our trip to Gibraltar.

Clem says:
The monkeys are sooooooooo cute. Interestingly, in spanish the word "mono" signifies both both monkey and cute!  "Los monos son monos!"   
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