We had a very exciting first full weekend in Spain! Or should I say in the UK, as we left the country on Saturday to visit Gibraltar, the British overseas territory situated next to Spain. Gibraltar is a very eccentric, funny little place. Amongst the blue waters, palm trees, and fierce Spanish sun, sits a unique city where the shops are not filled with tapestries and flamenco figurines nor the streets lined with tapas places, but instead there are piles upon piles of Cadbury’s chocolates and pubs advertising the ever famous fish and chips. Gone are the Spanish flags, replaced by the Union Jack and bright red telephone boxes.
When we arrived after an hour and a half bus ride, we first wandered down Main Street, making our way to the cable car base station which would take us up to the Rock of Gibraltar. The ride up was magnificent. We rode right over people’s houses and sailed beyond the trees, getting to see the water and harbor in its entirety the father up we went. Now Gibraltar is famous for its Barbary Macaques, and rightfully so. The apes are allowed to roam around freely, but there are numerous warnings that they will take any bags or items off of people if they want to. It was a good thing we had been instructed to bring no food with us, because right as we stepped out of the cable car we came face to face with a monkey sitting on the railing. As everyone was snapping photos of it, it hopped down, strode past us, and ripped a plastic bag out of a woman’s hand and carelessly began tearing through the items. After scattering the bag’s contents, the monkey got bored and moved on to its next victim, which happened to be the backpack of one of the members of our group. The monkey opened all of the backpack’s compartments and completely emptied it, before finding a tic tac box, which it proceeded to use its teeth to bite through the plastic. I learned that these monkeys are very clever! After the backpack was rescued, we headed up the mountain, where the vista was absolutely breath taking. All around us was wide, open water, and we were told that Africa could be seen from the viewpoint on a clear day. The Rock of Gibraltar was incredible to see in person, and the massiveness of it made me feel so small. After enjoying being up on the mountain, we took the cable car down and had time to eat lunch, shop, and explore. Back in Cádiz that night we had a group dinner at a delicious pizza place, and then afterwards my friends and I went out to get gelato.
Sunday was a nice, relaxing day. After a late breakfast at home, we visited the ruins of a Roman theater, which was very interesting. During our siesta time, our host mother made my roommates and me a picnic lunch to take with us to la Playa de La Caleta, which was very crowded! The water was fun and refreshing to swim in though. Later the group went inside la Catedral de Cádiz, which I was awed by. The building itself is very old, and all the architecture and details were so intriguing to admire. Then we climbed up to the bell tower, where we got a spectacular panorama of the entire city. It was very cool to see what the buildings looked like from above, and we attempted to figure out where each of the plazas we commonly visited were.
Today (Monday) we’ve been busy with class in the morning, where we learned about different holidays in Spain. Then we went out on the streets to ask locals questions about the different fiestas and traditions. It’s another hot day in Cádiz, but hopefully it will cool down by the time we go out to play sports by the beach this evening. I’m looking forward to another fantastic week here!