An A to Z of Gibraltar 


Gibraltar seems to be dominating the news a lot these days, so for those of you who don’t know much about this Rock which we call our home, here’s a little ABC…

A is for Apes

Our furry friends who live (most of the time) at the top of the Rock are perhaps Gibraltar’s most famous inhabitants. They’re the only wild apes in mainland Europe and rumoured to be the reason why Gibraltar remains British – legend has it that if the apes were to leave, the UK would lose Gibraltar. (Winston Churchill reputedly imported some extra ones during World War II to make sure the Rock remained under the British flag). Legend also has it that they first arrived on the Rock via tunnels which link Gibraltar to northern Africa… not too sure about that one! 

B is for border


Gibraltar has only one land border to the north of the territory and shares it with Spain. It is across this border (or Frontier as it’s also known) that thousands of Spanish residents travel to work in Gibraltar each day and also which Gibraltar residents cross to access Spain and rest of the European mainland. 

Under the Franco regime the border was closed between 1969 and 1985. Gibraltarians found themselves with lots of vacant jobs to be filled as the cross-border workers were no longer able to work here and resources like food and fuel had to be sourced via alternative means. During this period, the Rock’s relationship with Morocco flourished and resulted in the diverse community we now enjoy today.

C is for cable car

Gibraltar’s main tourist attraction is the Rock itself and there are a number of different ways of getting to the top, on foot and by car or taxi, but perhaps the most dramatic way (and certainly the fastest) is by cable car. It has been a feature on the Rock for decades and takes just six minutes from the base station to the summit.

D is for defence


Due to it’s strategic position geographically at the gateway to the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that Gibraltar has been a key British military base. Though fewer service personnel are based here now than in it’s heyday, there is still a considerable Army, Navy and RAF presence on the Rock.

E is for Europa Point

At Gibraltar’s southern most tip, you can find Europa Point lighthouse, the only lighthouse to be operated by Trinity House which is outside of the British Isles. It’s been keeping watch over the Strait of Gibraltar for over 175 years. On a clear day, you can see across the Strait to north Africa and the Rif mountains of Morocco.

Europa Point is also home to Gibraltar’s largest mosque (the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque) as well as the Roman Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Europe.

F is for Festivals


In recent years Gibraltar’s cultural life has flourished with the creation of a number of festivals, the biggest of which is the Gibraltar Music Festival or GMF as it’s become known locally. 2017 will see the festival run for the first time by MTV. Other musical festivals include the Festival of Colours and the World Music Festival. In addition to music another large annual event is the Gibraltar Literary Festival.

G is for Governor & Government 

Gibraltar Parliament building

Although key defence and strategic decisions about Gibraltar are made in Westminster, day to day affairs on the Rock are looked after by Government of Gibraltar. 

The Convent, official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar
We also have a Governor, who is the Queen’s representative here. Our current Governor, Lieutenant General Ed Davies, like all his predecessors lives in the official residence known as The Convent.

H is for history 

Tower of Homage aka Moorish Castle

Gibraltar is steeped in history, from cave men to the Phoenecians, Moorish invasions and the Great Siege. Gibraltar is filled with historic buildings and sites. There’s even a weekly historical reenactment.

I is for isthmus not an island


Despite popular misconception, Gibraltar is not an island. It is an isthmus of 5.8 square kilometres. If you are looking for a diverse and challenging 10k route to run, Gibraltar is the place for you, it’s exactly 10km all the way round on the main roads.

J is for Jebel Tariq

Gibraltar is regarded as one of the Pillars of Hercules, Jebel Musa across the Strait in Morocco being the other one. The name Gibraltar is believed to have come from it’s Moorish name of Jebel Tariq, meaning Tariq’s Mountain or Tariq’s Path. Tariq lead the Moorish Invasion of Andalusia.

K is for Kaiane

Front cover of Gibraltar Panorama 5.4.17

Irrespective of your views on beauty pageants, Kaiane Lopez (née Aldorino) achieved something remarkable for Gibraltar. In 2009, was crowned Miss World. She was a great ambassador for Gibraltar during her year-long reign and has continued to fly the flag for the Rock ever since. Yesterday she became the youngest ever Mayor of Gibraltar as well as being the first ever Miss World to take mayoral office.

L is for lifestyle 

Gibraltar boasts a great climate, healthcare modeled on the NHS, schools which follow the UK system and a thriving community. Plus everything is within a short distance so activities/entertainment especially for children are more achievable than our experience in the UK. As an ‘incomer’ I’ve had a really positive experience living here and was welcomed by locals and expats alike.

M is for Mediterranean 


The Eastern side of the Rock is lapped by the tides of the Mediterranean Sea and the three Mediterranean beaches we have on the Rock are hugely popular in summer (Gibraltar has other beaches on the Western side too).

N is for Neanderthal 


The first Neaderthal skull ever to be found was discovered at Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar in 1848. The find, which is celebrated on Gibraltarian pound coins, has led to Gibraltar recently being granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

O is for ornithology


A hot spot for twitchers, Gibraltar is a haven for wildlife and, in particular, migratory birds. Volunteers from the British Trust for Ornithology travel to Gibraltar to study the migration of birds from the southern hemisphere where they have over wintered, up to northern Europe and Russia. Vultures, and eagles can often be spotted along with other smaller birds.

P is for port


Gibraltar has long been a stop off for seagoing travellers, from the Phoenicians who dropped anchor here before setting off into the Atlantic and up as far north as Cornwall. These days Gibraltar’s marine trade includes dry docks for maintenance, as well as bunkering services for ships which are mid voyage.

Q is for queues 


We do spend quite a while in queues here in Gibraltar at times, especially if you choose the wrong moment to cross the runway – you can get stuck waiting for planes to land or take off. 

We also have to queue to enter and leave Gibraltar at the border with Spain, which can at times be problematic. Thorough checks by the authorities across the border can mean long waits in rather uncomfortable conditions (like the height of summer) at it’s worst it can take several hours to cross. 

R is for runway

Gibraltar Airport is famous for it’s stunning backdrop and for the fact that the main road to and from the Rock runs straight across it. It makes for an interesting commute to work for those who live over in Spain!

S is for St Michael’s Cave

St Michael’s Cave
The Rock of Gibraltar itself is full of holes, with natural caves and manmade tunnels carved through it. The largest and perhaps most dramatic of which is St Michael’s Cave which as well as being a popular tourist destination is also a venue for shows and concerts.

T is for tunnels 

In order to get around the Rock we need to travel through a few tunnels. The World War II Tunnels (which include a war time hospital ward) and the Great Siege Tunnels are popular tourist attractions. 

There are miles and miles of military tunnels excavated through the Rock most of which are out of bounds to the public. They are used for military exercises and there was even a plan during World War II for some military personnel to be bricked into a tunnel so they could spy on the enemy in case of an invasion.

U is for Upper Rock

Windsor Suspension Bridge

The Upper Rock is a Nature Reserve, home to the Barbary Macaques and other native species like the Barbary partridge and national flowers like the Gibraltar Candytuft and Gibraltar Campion.

Gibraltar Candytuft

The Med Steps or Mediterranean Steps to give them their proper name, is a footpath and several sets of steps which lead from the southern tip of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, at the Pillar of Hercules monument and round the Eastern side of the Upper Rock before emerging at the summit. 

Med Steps

It’s a place of outstanding natural beauty and affords walkers stunning views across the Strait to Morocco, along the Mediterranean coast to Spain and onto the Costa del Sol on a clear day, and across the Bay of Gibraltar to Algeciras. 

V is for visitors


Gibraltar is a very popular destination for cruise liners and coach tours. At peak times in the summer, the population of the Rock can almost be doubled for a day, when several large cruise ships arrive all at once. Those are the times when it’s wise to give Main Street a wide berth, especially if you have small children and pushhairs to steer through the crowds.

W is for weather

We are blessed with pretty mild winters (although there was some snow a few miles up the coast this winter) and long hot sunny summers. Thankfully because of our location surrounded on three sides by sea we don’t get such high temperatures as they do further up the coast or inland in Spain.


We can get a rather large cloud developing on the top of the Rock called the Levanter. It’s formed by the easterly wind and just sits above us creating humid conditions below. Some people refuse to have their hair done on Levanter days and it’s been blamed for meringues failing to rise and paint from drying properly.

X is for BreXit (sorry couldn’t think of anything beginning with X)

Well this is the main reason why everyone’s talking about Gibraltar at the moment isn’t it? 96% of the Gibraltar electorate voted to remain in Europe and no one knows what Brexit will mean for us all here on the Rock (or the UK for that matter).

Y is for Yanito or Llanito 

Yanito or Llanito is the dialect which is spoken by Gibraltarians. Anyone wandering along Main Street will hear locals speaking a mixture of English and Spanish with a few Genoese or Maltese words thrown in too. 

Z is for zebra crossings (post boxes and red telephone boxes)

We may live at the very south of Iberian Peninsular and we can see Africa from our windows but there are a lot of familiar British sights around Gibraltar. There are often tourists posing for photos by the phone boxes and and post boxes trying to catch a little of Britain in the Med.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Gibraltar A to Z, if you only take one thing from it, can it please be that Gibraltar’s NOT an island? (I have read two articles today which described it as one) Thank you!

2017 Weekly photo challenge (Week 14) Pond

Pond is the prompt for this week’s photo challenge and luckily I have a few to choose from here in Gibraltar. There’s the beautifully restored Lion’s Pond in the Alameda Gardens, complete with its green men statues.

Does this water feature count as a pond? Or is it more of a fountain? This can be found in the Governor’s back garden. 

The Convent is the official residence for the Governor of Gibraltar and there are annual fundraising garden parties there so the public can go and enjoy the beautiful, lush, green oasis and have afternoon tea on the Governor’s lawn.

And then there’s our newest pond (or perhaps that should be lake?) at the Commonwealth Park. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, this whole expanse was a rather grotty public car park…

This one’s a bit of fun and isn’t in Gibraltar; I took this photo while visiting a small zoo in Norfolk last summer. Not sure I fancy being a fish in this pond, do you?

I’m linking with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017. 

Sunday Sevens #77 2.4.17

I’ve just about managed to publish this in time to still count as Sunday Sevens, after 9 and a half hours traveling back home to Gibraltar today from beautifully sunny and springlike Suffolk.

So, this time last week it was Mother’s Day… feels like a very long time ago now!

Wisteria


I do love wisteria, such a gorgeous flower! I spotted a bumble bee climbing into this bloom as I walked past last Sunday morning. Despite weather forecasts suggesting dodgy weather for the weekend we were blessed with sunshine and, at times, clear blue skies – how lovely! Just perfect for Mother’s Day.

Scummy Mummies


I treated myself to a Mother’s Day gift this year and it arrived just in time. I listen to the Scummy Mummies podcast when I’m out walking, and can often be spotted howling with laughter like a mad woman as they regale tales of hilarious parenting fails and make their Scummy Mummy confessions of when things go awry… The book didn’t disappoint, I giggled away to myself as we flew out to England later in the week.

Ready for the off!


So Tuesday saw us swerving the school run and heading to the airport instead. The Little Postcards’ only cousin was due to get married this week and we couldn’t miss that! We left the cloudless skies of Gibraltar for the slightly cloudier skies of….

Southwold!

It was so lovely to be back in Southwold on the Suffolk coast again so soon after we our lovely holiday there last summer. If you missed my posts all about the beautiful seaside town and pier, you can find them here for Southwold and here for the pier.

Love is in the air…

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather and venue for the special family wedding we attended. I will share a few more photos of the day in a future post. It was perfect in every way, and the happy couple enjoyed themselves immensely, as did we.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside 


Oh I do love it in Southwold. It feels like coming home to be able to walk along the prom here. We have been visiting since long before the Little Postcards were born and it is just so familiar, like putting an old jumper on! It hasn’t changed that much in the years we’ve been visiting and it’s reassuring to repeat our ritual walks here again and again (they usually involve, chips, ice cream and a visit to the pier!).

Spring has sprung!

It seems appropriate to book end this post with pretty flowers, Gibraltar wisteria at the beginning and some Suffolk blossom at the end. Spring has certainly sprung in the corner of England that we visited, the hedgerows were greening up, there were daffodils by the roadsides and blossom trees galore. I don’t usually visit the U.K. at this time of year and I feel privileged to have been able to witness Spring in all it’s glory on our trip.

And now we’re into April already, the year is just whizzing by so fast! Here are a few pictures from last month, which included a trip to Spain, last week’s to Suffolk and the sad loss of our rescue bunny Snowflake.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast Episode 008: Superhero artist Aaron Seruya

In this episode, I meet Aaron Seruya, a barrister who put his legal career on hold to follow his dream of creating an exhibition of paintings featuring comic book heroes.

Iron Man and Wolverine painted by Aaron A Seruya
In his Superhero Experience Exhibition, Aaron marries two of his life long passions; art and superheroes. But what made him put his career on hold to follow his passion? A real life meeting with Superman here in Gibraltar.

You can see Aaron’s 71 paintings at his exhibition at the Fine Arts Gallery in Casemates Square from 3rd to 16th May.

***To hear the podcast with Aaron, please click here***

Why not subscribe to the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast on iTunes or PodOmatic? That way you won’t miss the next episode.

The theme music for the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast is Happy Me by Twisterium.

This podcast is recorded and edited by Postcard from Gibraltar.

2017 Weekly photo challenge (Week 13) Van

Ok, so this week’s photo challenge word prompt is ‘van’. I’m assuming you don’t want to see a random work’s van parked at the side of a road so I have taken a touch of artistic licence with this one… does this count?

This van/truck/camper contraption got stuck trying to get down one of the narrow residential roads in South District last year. We see lots of motor homes chugging up the hill on the way to Europa Point, presumably because their occupants want to get to the southernmost tip of Gibraltar on their holiday road trip. 

One Sunday afternoon, the main road to Europa Point was closed to allow for a crane to be erected on a nearby building site and the northward diversion route was to head down this narrow road (which has parked cars all down one side). I watched through my fingers as a few passers-by waved and gesticulated like mad to guide the unfortunate driver as he reversed uphill and round a bend while missing parked motorbikes and wing mirrors along the way! 

What about a yarnbombed ice cream van?

This beauty was parked up outside the Skipton Auction Mart at last year’s wonderful Yarndale Festival. Instead of ice creams being sold from it’s window customers were buying knitted finger puppets.

The company, Little Fingy sources it’s hand knitted puppets from villagers in the Andes in South America and raises money to support their communities.

Now for more artistic licence… how about ‘bus’ instead of ‘van’?

I wouldn’t want to be a bus driver in Gibraltar. I got stuck behind these two buses on a particularly narrow stretch of road one day. How they both got through without hitting each other or the walls either side of the road, I have no idea. Hats off the drivers for their amazing driving skills.

I’m linking with Wild Daffodil and Nana Cathy for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.

Sunday Sevens #76 26.3.17

Happy Mother’s Day to all you lovely Mums, Grandmas and everyone else too.


Here’s the gorgeous Mother’s Day window at Originarta shop which featured in my post on Upcycling recently in my Creative Gibraltar series.

Now to the rest of week’s edition of Sunday Sevens…

Cheerful blooms


I had the excuse to buy some flowers this week for somebody and thought these yellow gerberas were just lovely. Such sunny flowers!

Company at the top 


I made my first trip up the Med Steps for this week on Wednesday. It was so warm. Although it was cool to start with, once we’d climbed round to the eastern side of the Rock, it was in direct sunshine and sheltered from the wind. 

In spite of the heat, my friend and I managed it in under thirty minutes for the first time this year. We have talked about doing the Med Steps 5 Challenge again this year, but by this time last year we had done it at least twice round if not three times round in our training… I’m not sure whether we’ll (read I’ll) be ready to do 5 times round this time.

The start of another painting

There’s not much to show for this week’s watercolour class as there was a lot of planning (and quite a lot of chatting) but I have started a new painting. I have fancied having at go at trying to paint a section of the Med Steps seeing as I’m such a frequent visitor these days.

I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of the Steps, wildflowers and views on my phone that it was quite hard to make decision which one to go for. We’ll see how this one turns out….


Friday Steps


It was a beautifully clear morning on Friday, when I made a solo trip up the Steps. I had toyed with the idea of making my first ‘twice round’ trip, but alas no. There just wasn’t enough in the tank, so I headed home after the first circuit and used my time sewing! I’m working on a secret project which I can’t share yet, but I promise I will as soon as I can. 

In the meantime just check out how clear the mountains across the Strait were on Friday. There are times when you almost feel like you can reach out and touch Morocco – it’s so close and clear!

A few hours later…

We had a very heavy hailstone shower just a few hours later after lunch! The spring weather is a bit unpredictable at the moment… four seasons in one day!

Furry friend


Bunnies and crochet don’t mix, or so I learned this week. Every evening we get Diamond out to have a run around the lounge. He loves the freedom and bunny hops his way from one end to the other and tries to fit into holes he really shouldn’t be able to fit into (if the laws of physics have anything to do with it). 

One evening I was sitting with my crochet and I hadn’t realised the ball of yarn had rolled off the sofa and onto the floor. All of a sudden I felt a tugging on the other end of the yarn and I found this tinker all tangled up! He was none the worse for his ordeal, but I learned that trying to hold a fidgeting rabbit and trying to untangle him from a length of yarn at the same time is harder than you think!

That’s all for Sunday Sevens for this week, however you’re spending your day I hope you have a good one. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.

A springtime rainbow

This part of the world seems to be very colourful at the moment, from the geraniums and nasturtiums by my front door…


To the bright yellow and acid greens of the wild flowers growing alongside my regular walking routes to school and up the Med Steps.


The blues and purples of the native Scilla Peruviana (impressed? I have the Alameda Gardens to thanks for the name) and decoractive Osteospermum. 

Even some of the trees are putting on a show!


Just look at the calming pastel hues of the Gibraltar Candytuft and more Osteospermum (also known as Cape Daisies). 

Even the sunlight is joining in…. I spotted this plethora of rainbows 🌈 while I was waiting for a lift in the Mid Town car park.

I must have arrived at just the right moment for the sun to be in the best rainbow producing position. The louvred glass window was the perfect vehicle to produce these technicolour stripes.

Even my Lent granny squares for my Sixty Million Trebles project blanket are joining in on the act… 


And please tell me I’m not the only one who finds the arrangement of these recycling bins pleasing to the eye?

What ever you’re up to today, I hope you have a bright and colourful one!