The Rock of Gibraltar (and Tangier update)

Once again, a post was accidentally “published” before completion. The announcement of completion provides an opportunity to publish a few photos of Gibraltar, a truly strange piece of Great Britain, now that we are back on the south coast of Spain. The northern “Pillar of Hercules”, this block of limestone rock rises incredibly steeply on all sides—from the sea and from the land. According to myth, it was Hercules who opened the strait of Gibraltar. According to geologists, it was the collision of Africa and Europe that created this folded and faulted limestone block and erosion by water that created an opening (the strait) within the collisional belt.

The photo below shows the rock as it looks when one arrives from the north, at the border between Spain and Great Britain.


The next photo is from the top of the rock, where one could get vertigo from the breathtakingly high and steep slopes, and where wind drafts cause fog to form and sea gulls to delight in the fast-flowing updrafts. Incredibly, the Brits seem to have found the one place in the Mediterraean that is always cool and foggy—we lost the chilly climate as soon as we transited back across the border into Spain!


But who cares about anything else when there are monkey antics! There to greet you as soon as you disembark from the cable car that carries you to the top, the Macaque monkeys are continuously entertaining. Here is one silhouetted against the downward vista to the port area. This is the same type of monkey we saw in Morocco—not just humans have used the close connection between Africa and Europe here to transit!


We were fortunate to be there when there were many juvenile monkeys who played without stop—chasing each other, wrestling, jumping from limb to limb, and sometimes crashing swiftly to the ground—still on the learning curve! They moved too fast for effective photography, but here is a couple with the female carefully grooming the male—who appears to have no cares whatsoever in the world!


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