Day 21 - Rock of Gibraltar!

Trip Start Jul 21, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We wake up early to find David joining us for breakfast at the hotel. He had wanted us to stay longer (and now I see why, we haven't even scratched the surface of the Moroccan culture), but we decided to keep it to 2 nights, 3 days ... ...

This morning we eat (kids are, once again, in love with the buffet)! And we get to try Moroccan pancakes. There are two types. One LOOKS (but doesn't taste) like that Ethiopian bread stuff ... the other kind is like a multi-layered thick crepe (excellent right out of the toaster ... and heavy in the stomach to fill ya up).

We quickly check out of the hotel, fill out our customs paperwork, and head across the street to Davids home, where he invites us in (its a MANSION, with guard dogs, house workers, 2nd story not being used, etc) ... ... and treats us to some homemade jams / marmalades to take home. THANK YOU!

Then, we are whisked away to the port, where we scramble to catch our ferry (we were the last passengers aboard!) ... and across the sea, back to Tarifa, Spain ... then two bus rides, and we land in La Linea. Its a trip ... apparently, the city and area of Gibraltar is actually owned by England. La Linea is the last Spanish city before entering. So, we exited the bus, then walked three blocks to a border patrol and customs building to enter in to Gebraltar, England! All the signs are in English, everybody speaks English, and they use the British Pound. Its almost like an amusement park or something ... ... and we love it!

After crossing the border, we walk in to town ... across an airfield (yes, right through the runway! ... its built with a pedestrian walkway thru the middle of it). A few more blocks and we find ourselves on the main shopping / eating tourist strip ... shops and restaurants everywhere. And they all look great. Unfortunately, because we didn't know about the two hour time difference to Morocco, we've lost two hours today and are behind schedule, so we don't have any time to relax and enjoy food or shopping here. Just fast fast walking to get to our destination, the tram to the top of the rock.

Its a solid hour waiting to board the tram, but once we do, we are in for a treat. Poor Simon, scared of heights, and forced in to a tiny car and taken to the top of a huge mountain.

On top of the mountain, its both gorgeous views and crazy monkeys everywhere. The monkeys are running and sitting and playing right near us. Each of us take turns posing for photos ... and then some idiot tourist starts feeding the monkeys junk food, despite signs threatening outrageous 500 pound fines for doing so. The monkeys get in to a frenzy of sorts and eventually start ripping in to backpacks and getting obnoxious. It really sucks because the entire mood of the place changed ... from a serence, relaxing environment with wildlife ... to this sort of college age prank, lets see how far we can go with these monkeys, type thing. I was rooting for one of the monkeys to bite the dude right in the nuts, but ... sadly, it didn't happen.

Back down the mountain. We are all sad to go. Its raining on and off. A very very pleasant place. If we had it to do all over again, we'd stay a night or two here, and a couple more in Morocco also.

We grab some grub at the local Burger King (which is huge over here compared to in the states) ... ... but European fast food joints are much different than ours. They aren't that fast, and nobody has any respect for lines. And no free refills damnit! argh!

Back to the bus, and a long 2 hour ride back to Torremolinos (our city). Tonight, we end up in the downtown area, away from the house ... and we enjoy a fabulous dinner, one of my favorites of the entire trip actually. Just really good food ... a salad, grilled asparagus, chicken in a cream sauce, a homemade bean with ham saute, a egg/potato/green pepper saute ... and two pitchers of tinto de verano. So good! ... A block away, just within eyesight ... the kids play with local children on a playground .... For me, there is something magical in the air tonight. It was like so many of our nights on the last trip to Europe. The photos capture a bit of the feel ... A sort of carefree element, the children were free and happy, the food and drinks were excellent, Simon got wasted again, ... and ... it was just a great night.

On the way back to the house, we buy a couple of toys for the kids. These light up, rubber band, helecopter things. Pretty, and fun!

Three countries, four languages, three currencies, .... .... .... its a long long day, and a long walk back to the apartment. ...phew.
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