Gibraltar and Seville
22.06.2007 27 °C
June 22, 2007 Gibraltar
Now, to continue the adventure from last night on the missing purse. We looked all over the room for the purse Cathy misplaced. We told the Hotel Manager to look for it in the laundry in the morning.
Well at breakfast today I explained our situation to our tour guide David. He looked a little perplexed and said he found a purse on the bus this morning! We went to the bus and there it was exactly where she left it yesterday. You see in the morning we were n row three for the tour, later when we returned to the bus we were much further back. She forgot she brought the purse to the bus so we all assumed it was left in the room. Mystery solved and we are now back to complete.
Today we leave Spain for a little while and go to the British Territory of Gibraltar. Most of you will know this as the Rock of Gibraltar. Once an penninsula owned by the Moors the land was captured by the Spanish. Under Franco the area was lost to the British where it remains as a British possession.
I was amazed to see Gibraltar was a modern hustling city filled with history and modern construction. Many rich and famous claim Gibraltar as their home, not to live here but to avoid the high European taxes. If you own a home on Gibraltar and “live there” you can save more then 2/3 on your taxes. So the main industry of Gibraltar is tax law!
We leave our bus and hire a smaller bus where 7 of us pile into for a local tour of the Rock. This place is amazing. Old Moorish fort, mixed in with British Empire army and navy buildings and local homes and expensive condos. All on a rock 5 miles by 7 miles. There are 30,000 permanent people and 360 Barbary Apes.
The apes come from Africa 14 miles across the strait of Gibraltar. They came with sailors as pets, escaped and now form 6 family colonies on the rock. This is the season they have babies and many of the females had babies under their belly. They were cute but are wild animals and must be treated as such.
They have lost their fear of humans and can be aggressive. They also like sunglasses. It seems they are lying around just as cute as can be until they see sunglasses. Then they will suddenly pounce and grab the glasses and run away. Our driver says not to worry; we can buy them back from the monkey stand down the road.
We have included on our local tour a cave of St Michael. This is a marvelous limestone cave with the typical stalactites and stalagmites throughout. They even have a theater built into the cave for concerts.
We drive around the rest of the rock and are dropped off for free time and lunch. The area is famous for electronics, alcohol and the ever present Cuban cigars. Since we do not need either we head of in search of food.
As you may recall this is a British possession and as such they use Pounds not Euros. Another point is the food sucks and is terribly expensive. We look for a nice pub and find one near by. We order up three burgers, they come with a salad, a coke and two pints for Chris and I. The bill 26 pounds or $54. The burgers were meat loaf in nature and upset Cathy’s stomach. Chris and I were starving and would have eaten horse if we had to.
Back to the bus and off to Seville.
On the road to Seville we traveled down the famous road of the bulls. Here all the pastures are dedicated to raising the fearless bulls used in the bull ring throughout Spain and Portugal. Most of the best bulls come from this region. We see them by the hundred most fated to face the bull fighter to see who is bravest and strongest. The bull fight is a strong tradition and there is a spectacle every day.
We arrive in Seville, check into another 4 star hotel, take a nap and prepare for Flamenco night followed by dinner.
6:30 PM we head out to the theater for the Flamenco dance. Our bus takes us to the center of Seville a modern city filled with ancient architecture. We pass Moorish aqueducts, Mosques, the world’s third largest cathedral and many restaurants bars and people strolling the city streets.
We arrive at the theater and our free drink order is taken. Cathy, Chris and I are seated in the front row. Soon the guitars begin to play and the spectacle that is Flamenco. There are two guitars, two singers and three handsome male dancers and six beautiful women dancers. For the next 90 minutes they run through a retinue of songs and dance that is fantastic. This was different from the Gypsy Flamenco in that tonight’s dance was stylish and more complex. Both were fantastic experiences and soon we were shouting “Ole Ole” amid applause.
A short bus drive brings us near the Cathedral and we head to the local restaurant for a meal of fish, vegetables, bread and of course wine and sangria. Tonight’s meal was of a more modest volume a welcome respite from the huge calorie overloads we have been experiencing all week. Good thing too because both Cathy and Chris are suffering from the lousy British food we had at lunch so they did not want to load the pipes so to speak.
We are back at the Hotel now and preparing for our first sleep in…tomorrow we wake at 8:00 PM and depart for a city tour of Seville by 9:00 AM