Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday July 19th

Today the Rock almost killed me.
It might also have something to do with my stubbornness, vanity and James Bond fanatics. But naaah; must have been the Rock. And his cruel partner, the Sun.

Anyhow; I got up at 8:30am to get some breakfast and then headed off take one of the first Cable Car of the day to the top of the Rock.

My plan was to walk around the Rock to see the view, sights on the Rock, monkeys and of course as many James Bond places as possible. He was here you know, about 25 years ago to shoot The Living Daylights. All this before the Sun would become too hot (I gravely miscalculated the time this trip would take...)
This is because I wear sunscreen, but no hat or similar. I have my hairdo to think about. *vanity warning*

So I got up there and the view was fantastic. Gibraltar with Spain in the background on one side

and lots of ships waiting to pass the Strait towards the Atlantic with Morocco as backdrop on the other.

Plus some monkeys running around! :)

Ships waiting to pass the Strait and head out to the Atlantic:

I headed south and after a few more apes I found almost by luck a site where a Bond scene was shot 25 years earlier!
Compare these two pictures (one from today and the other from "The Living Daylights"):

After this I went to the top of the southern tip; to the O'Hara's Battery. A magnificent gun on top of the hill. And what a view; here we have the gun with Morocco in the background:

And here the northern part of the Rock:

By the way; the roads and walks here don't really have that much of railings:
A little bit scary, since it's easy to slip.

More monkeys!

Then I headed down for St Michael's Cave; a natural cave with a lot of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave was huge! A fantastic sight!

They had made part of it as a auditorium where concerts were held from time to time. Just think of listening to live music in this environment!

After this I pushed on and by taking a longer route I got to The Pillars of Hercules; a monument over the legend that the Greeks thought that Gibraltar was one of the pillars that held up the heaven.
Nothing really to see, but still it was OK.

Going back up to the higher layers of The Rock, I realized the time was ticking and sun was turning hotter and hotter - and I wasn't even halfway. But what can I do? (not give up that's for sure!)

After quite a while I reached the southern parts of The Rock and found the Moorish Castle:
Nothing much to see I would say. If have you seen one broken down castle you've seen them all...

After this I was going further up the northern tip to The Great Siege Tunnels.
During The Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779-1783) the Gibraltians dug out a big part of the north cliff to house cannons so that the Spaniards couldn't gather in force with the shelter of The Rock.
Later they continued to dig out more caves for defence. It was really an amazing seeing the rooms and tunnels inside The Rock.

And from this part of The Rock you could really see the interesting landing strip and the main road:

Now it was time to go back to the cable car station in the middle of The Rock.
I was really tired and burned by the sun before, but this last walk (took about 1-1½ hour?) did it for me. I almost didn't make it. Not even the adrenalin of one final Bond scene site lasted very long:
and the Bond scene:

I had now been walking constantly from 9am to 3pm up & down, up & down, back & forth, back & forth all across This Damned Rock with the sun burning down on me. I had used sunblock, but it wears off and I could feel the heat, especially on my head.

If I wasn't burned from yesterday's boat trip, I was definitely it from today - my head is burned to a crisp.

Most people take taxis or other cars to go around The Rock, but not me - Nooooo, I might miss a Bond site. *Bond fanatic*

This last part I went from shade to shade, panting like a mad dog. I don't think I have ever been this exhausted.

Once at the station (finally!) I drank a litre of water then headed down the cable car to eat something (I had looked for food & water during the last hours without finding any place that sold it). I found a pizza restaurant nearby - good enough!

Then to the hotel to rest a few hours.

I only went out later to eat something (found The Star Bar - oldest bar in Gibraltar and ate there). Then back again.

Tomorrow awaits Morocco. Exciting times. And hot.

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