Gibraltar

Overview

Introduction

Gibraltar, a British colony is grafted onto a steep, rocky Spanish hillside at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea 310 mi/500 km south of Madrid.

Gibraltar merits at least a half-day's visit. The Rock, which has been British since 1704, is only 2 mi/5 km long, but it has several attractions, among them St. Michael's Cave (outfitted as a hospital during World War II and now an auditorium), the Gibraltar Museum (historical displays from the Stone Age to the present) and a 12th-century Arab castle.

Be sure to read the tombstones at the town graveyard—many of the British sailors killed during the Siege of Gibraltar (1779-83) are buried there.

Also climb or take the cable car to the top of the Rock to see the view from Europa Point. At the halfway station, you'll meet the Barbary apes, Europe's only wild apes. There is also a laser show depicting famous battles for the Rock.

If you tire of Spanish cuisine, stop in a pub and get an order of steak-and-kidney pie or fish-and-chips (the contrast may revive your interest in Spanish food).

Gibraltar is so cramped for space that the airport runway is crossed by a main road—signals stop traffic long enough for airplanes to land.

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