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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 9......Gibraltar


Day 9……Gibraltar

The Ruby Princess sailed into Gibraltar harbor about 7:00 am this morning and I was up and ready to take a photo of this famous historical place.

 

Gibraltar is part of the European Continent and it’s only eight miles across the sea from Northern Africa.  Because of its strategic location and 1400 ft elevation, it used to control who entered and exited the Mediterranean from Atlantic Ocean.  In the year 711 the Moors crossed over from North Africa and conquered Gibraltar and then Spain in the name of Islam.  (These Islamic terrorist have been at it for a long, long time.)  In 1462 the Spaniards beat them back and in the process gained control of Gibraltar. They would hold the “Rock of Gibraltar” until 1704 when the British captured the town and fortress.  It has been in British hands ever since in spite of many Spanish and French attempts to recapture it.  During WWII Gibraltar was a key naval and air base against the German U-boats.  Britain granted the colony substantial self-government in 1964.  Spain continued to want the territory back and at the request of the UN, residents were asked to vote on who they preferred Britain or Spain.  Britain won overwhelmingly.  It remains a British colony to this day.

Mary Alice had booked us a shore excursion not to Gibraltar, but to Marbella, Spain, a resort town on the Costa del Sol.  We met in the Princess Theater shortly after 8:00 am and in groups of 22, we were all herded into small tourist busses.  After about an hour more or less we arrived and were dropped off in the middle of downtown. The driver told us to meet him in two hours and so we were on our own so to speak.

We spotted a luxury hotel and knew they would have a good cup of coffee, so we checked it out.  MA spoke to the maître d’ in her usual excellent Spanish. The hotel was offering the biggest breakfast/brunch buffet I had ever seen.  She explained we just wanted coffee and weren’t guests of the hotel.  With a big smile, he said “no problem”, seated us and we had a great cup of European coffee, so strong I had to use milk to thin it, just like the locals. 

When we got up to leave she asked the waiter for the check and he directed us back to the maitre d’.  MA told him we needed to pay for our coffees.  Again, with his huge smile he told us the coffee was on him!  I don’t know what all she said but that’s a first for us in our travels.
 

We strolled around, spent a little time with an author who was one of the speakers on the ship.  He had written a novel incorporating the Pan Am Clipper ships into the plot. MA was thrilled to meet him. We climbed back on the bus and headed for another sea side resort town, Puerto Banus. We checked out several posted menus (expensive!). Eventually we found the exact right spot and split a really good pizza. 

Back on the ship, the Ruby Princess moved away from the dock shortly after 4:00 pm and we are now on our way to Cartagena, Spain.  I have to get ready for supper so, as usual, later!  WW
Park in Marbella
 
Last view of "The Rock"
 

1 comment:

  1. Wayne and MA,

    Again thanks for the update.

    I really enjoyed your commentary on Gibraltar and the area. I have heard about "The Rock" all my life and knew it had significance in WW II. Maybe you will get more "free" treats on this trip :-))

    Have a safe and God Blessed day - dave b.

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