This week started quietly but grew to rather noisy climax with the MTV Gibraltar Calling Music Festival last night. Here’s this week’s installment of Sunday Sevens:
Last Sunday we went for a bit of a walk and ended up quite close to the visiting nuclear submarine HMS Talent. Later on in the week I saw a military and police convoy (presumably bringing important stuff on board) it was quite impressive as it went past.
I went up the Med Steps twice this week, the second time I did it in 30 minutes. I was rather happy with that time. I was a bit tired afterwards!
Hurrah, my dressmaking class has restarted this week. It’s jackets this term… I’m going for grey with a shocking pink lining.
I made a ‘quick’ trip to the shops in Spain midweek and ended up sitting for an hour in the border queue to get back into Gibraltar. The border queue can be so unpredictable and is a right pain in the neck at times.
Who’s idea was this?
At my watercolour class I had the rather foolish idea that I’d like to paint the photograph I took of the rough waves crashing at Europa Point in a storm…. easier said than done! I think it may be too hard!
Drama on the high seas
There was a bit of drama off Europa Point on Thursday afternoon. As I was driving along the road towards the lighthouse on the Eastern side of the Rock, I spied the submarine I mentioned before, heading out to sea with a flotilla of other boats. I stopped the car and joined the many other by-standers at the side of the road who watched the sub leave. Heading towards the flotilla was a Spanish police boat which had to be seen off by a couple of Royal Navy boats, one using a flare. It was quite dramatic to witness.
A change of view
I had to park out by the small boats marina on Friday morning when I headed into town. I do like this view of the Rock, it’s nice to see it from a different angle.
Friday and Saturday saw the MTV presents Gibraltar Calling music festival. I only went yesterday, but it was a good day out. I’ll share a few more photos taken yesterday in due course.
That’s all for this week, I hope it’s been a good one for you. Thanks for stopping by. As always, I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
Hello, and welcome to this week’s Sunday Sevens, a little later than usual, but I still made it on Sunday! It’s been a busy day with lots of boring jobs to do. You don’t want to hear about that, so without further ado, here’s this week’s series of seven (or perhaps slightly more) photos from the last seven days.
Bank holiday getaway
Last weekend was a bumper long weekend for us here in Gibraltar. We had Monday off work and school for Worker’s Memorial Day and then Tuesday too for May Day (as it was 1st of May). We have the first of May off here rather than waiting for the first Monday in May as is the tradition in the UK. To all of my readers in the UK, I hope you are being blessed with some of the gorgeous Bank Holiday weather I have seen on the telly over these past couple of days.
We headed out of Gibraltar for a few days and went along the coast to Estepona. The above picture was of the queue of traffic trying to leave Gibraltar last Sunday, the photo below was taken on a tranquil evening stroll at the end of the day, along the coast in Spain.
A hole in one!
This mini golf course was the site of the greatest golfing moment ever seen in Andalucia. Forget Valderrama and the European Open, this is where I scored a hole in one! It took hours of practice too ;-).
Our long weekend came to an end on Tuesday and it was time to head home and back to reality, but not before another round of crazy golf and the chance to admire some of the beautiful blooms on show in the hotel gardens. Isn’t this one a beauty?
Seaside blanket makes it to the beach!
I took my hook and yarn away with me on our short break and managed to catch up on the rows I had fallen behind on with the Coastal Crochet Seaside Stash-busting Crochet Along. I really enjoyed working on it while I was away from all the usual distractions of being at home. I even took it down onto the beach at Estepona with me for a photo shoot. And that shot made it into Eleonora’s weekly round-up of the CAL on Instagram. It’s slap bang in the middle – that made my day!
May Day Celebrations
We headed back into Gibraltar in time to catch the end of the May Day celebrations in Casemates Square. There was a political rally (which we missed) followed by a number of local bands and dance schools performing on the stage for the crowds. As you can see, we were blessed with some beautiful weather.
Say what you see…
Apologies in advance for the toilet humour, but one day this week I found myself sitting at the bus stop (our car is rather unwell and has been into the garage this week) and I spotted a sign for parking which I have passed countless times and not really looked at before. It’s funny that you can suddenly see something for the first time, years after looking at it. It made me chuckle anyway…
Gibraltar International Comic Con
The second Gibraltar International Comic Con came to the Rock this weekend. We went along yesterday and hung out with stars of Star Wars (there was a real life Ewok there), three Game of Thrones actors (yes, I know – how cool is that??) and Star Trek amongst other shows. One of the things which I really enjoyed seeing was the art work. These amazing comic-style illustrations were drawn by a local artist (@liam_p_art on Instagram).
And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens to a close. Thanks very much for stopping by! I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series. I’ll leave you with a few photos from April including Gibraltar and our trip to London & the Jurassic Coast.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
We started our mid-term near Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol, I do like it there, but not for the reasons most folk do. It’s very glitzy and has very posh designer shops jostling for position along the marina quayside. The super rich clientele park their large posh cars on the waterside next to the super yachts. It’s a place for people watching and being ‘seen’.
My favorite part though, is away from the razzmatazz. There’s a lovely promenade which follows the coast from the edge of the glitzy marina along the beach and across the Rio Verde. We’ve had many walks along here over the years with Littlest Postcard at just a few months old and on several different mid-term, Easter or Christmas breaks since.
On Sunday there was a fishing competition going on and we watched the fishermen preparing their vast array of technical equipment – who knew it was such a science? I thought a rod, line, hook and bait was all that was required!
I’ve been waiting for the right time to begin my Weekend Bag kit I bought from the Attic 24 stall at Yarndale in September. I bought two kits, but wanted to work on this one first because I thought the colours were more suited to the autumn and winter.
Our home for the first bit of our holiday really matched the ‘heatwave’ colour scheme don’t you think?
Border Queue fun
On Tuesday we had to return to Gibraltar for a few hours before being able to continue with our holiday. Thankfully we were only an hour away and the border queue into Gibraltar was only 20 minutes or so. In the evening, though, it was a different matter. We were put into a kind of stacking system and had to wait more than 40 minutes before we could cross back into Spain.
I don’t think it was anything more than volume of traffic, but crikey I’m so glad I don’t have to do that every day! I feel sorry for those who have this to contend with on their commute to work. I’m afraid we do avoid crossing over to Spain a lot of the time because of the queue, it’s just not fun with small people in the car.
Giant chess anyone?
I ‘played’ (if that’s what you call it) chess with my Littlest Postcard on Wednesday afternoon. His rules… which meant walking around the board with a knight under his arm and basically claiming all of my pieces. I lost, needless to say. I have only played the game a handful of times but I’m pretty sure that’s not the official version….
I quite like swimming, when you are allowed to actually swim. However, these days, trips to the pool invariably end up with me being pummeled, dive bombed or used as a vehicle to transport children around the pool. Perhaps that’s my lot in life as a mother of three boys…
I struck lucky on Thursday when Mr Postcard offered to ‘take one for the team’ and went in with the boys and let me stay on the side to crochet and observe the usual high jinks from the safety of a lounger. For the record, I did go in the pool and suffered the usual abuse on the following two days…
I was working on my shawl from the summer after the arrival of the last ball of wool I needed to finish it…. on the final straight!
2 WIPs finished
Oh the joys of holidays and having the time to sit down and crochet! Two of my works-in-progress (WIPs) were completed on Friday. My newly started Attic 24 weekend bag and my first ever lacy shawl begun back in August during my Summer Craft Challenge – I was waiting for the arrival of the final ball of yarn before I could complete it. Many thanks to Marisa (aka @mariwish on Instagram) for the shawl-making & pattern reading lesson and for the yarn delivery last week!
End of our holiday
Our week away began with lovely sunshine and blue skies, but ended with heavy thundery showers and even tornados a few kilometers away! There were some sunny spells though yesterday and this was one of them. The beach was pretty empty yesterday with the inclement weather but we still managed a table tennis marathon, football, basketball, chess, swimming and I ran for 4kms at the gym without stopping – go me!! I ate my dinner guilt free last night! 🙂