Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Friday, April 19, 2013

On our last full day of staying in Marbella, we took our rental car out to Gibraltar (little over an hour away). This is a huge rock that has a lot of history. It is owned by the UK. There have been fights for centuries and the Spanish have tried forcefully to claim it back by setting up sieges. The most recent time they tried to claim it they actually asked the people to vote. Everyone except for 44 people wanted to stay part of the UK. Now I guess there is major security over Gibraltar - you can't see them, but they are watching. As soon as we crossed the border I could tell we stepped into the UK. There were double-decker busses, red telephone booths, and of course signs everwhere for fish and chips. We took a bus to the central area and walked around. We went into a glass-blowing factory where we actually got to see them blow the glass. They heated the glass up so it was liquid, then got a gob of it on the end of a long tube and blew into it. It looked like blowing bubbles with gum. The glass cooled really quickly. It would start off as bright blinding orange, then fade darker until it was red, and then end off either clear or some color (the result of mixing different minerals with the liquid glass). They were making wine glasses when we watched them. There was a large shop that sold the blown glass, and it was just as beautiful and detailed as the glass in Venice.

We walked to the cable cars and took one up to the top of Gibraltar. From there we had great views of Spain and across the strait to Africa. It is believed that Hercules made the Strait of Gibraltar by seperating Gibraltar and the Northern peak of Africa. The strange thing about the rock is that it's upside down. The top is older than the bottom - the deeper they dig down, the newer it is. It is also filled with caves, and is said to have a labryinth of tunnels. We went into St. Michael's cave. It wasn't huge, but the stalagmites and stalagtites were amazing. It had a few different chambers. The largest one is actually an auditorum today because it has great natural acoustics. We spent a few hours just walking around on the rock. I forgot to mention, Gibraltar is home to the last wild apes in Europe. They were everywhere on the top of the rock. We spent a long time hiking and searching for the pillars of Hercules, which ended up being just this tiny little thing that didn't seem special at all. At least we got some excercise! On the way to that we saw some bird catching nets. A guy explained to us about how they catch the birds that migrate, measure their weight and the fat they have on them, etc. and then tag them. Then if someone catches that same bird in a different country they can look up the tag number and find their information. It is all for scientific purposes so they can find out how much fat the birds store to fly to certain places.
Instead of taking a cable car all the way back down, we walked. When we got back down we ate some fish and chips, then headed back to the time share.
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