There can only be one for me, bearing in mind where we live….
… Europa Point of course!
The Trinity Lighthouse stands guard over the Strait of Gibraltar, at the Rock’s southernmost tip – Europa Point. On a clear day the mountains across the Strait in Morocco look almost close enough to touch.
I still find it amazing that I can see northern Africa from my home!
Perhaps this shot (below) puts it into more perspective, taken from the Med Steps.
The Lighthouse had a makeover recently and is now looking better than ever (see top picture).
You can get a bird’s eye view of Europa Point as you take off fromor come in to land at Gibraltar airport. Sadly the murky conditions when I took this photo meant the Lighthouse isn’t clear, but you can see the Mosque…
Here’s the Mosque on a clearer day standing beside the Lighthouse and looking north along the Mediterranean coast.
Over the years we have lived in Gibraltar, and particularly since the park was opened there a few years ago, Europa Point has been a frequently visited destination for our family. During those visits I have taken many photos around the place and thought it high time that I share with you some of the pictures I have taken there. You will notice from this post that they were taken at different times of year and you can see the changes in the weather throughout.
Europa Point and it’s Trinity Lighthouse are at the southernmost tip of Gibraltar. It’s not quite the most southerly tip of Europe, Tarifa (which is a bit further West along the coast) can claim that title, but it is an amazing vantage point and stands at the gate of the Mediterranean Sea. Just a few miles across the Straits of Gibraltar you can see the coast of Morocco.
The Trinity Lighthouse is the only lighthouse operated remotely by Trinity House in London which is outside of the British Isles. It has stood on the site since 1841.
It’s guiding light can be seen up to 18 miles away and is much needed to guide sailors safely through the Straits of Gibraltar.
The original Lighthouse keepers cottages are still occupied and I believe they have the claim to fame of being the most southerly houses in Europe as the southern most tip of Tarifa doesn’t currently have houses on it.
What an amazing place to live though… especially on a sunny day. I’m not sure whether I’d fancy it so much during a storm when the spray from the waves is hitting the windows!
The lighthouse isn’t the only tall building to dominate Europa Point, it’s also the site of the largest of Gibraltar’s mosques; Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque. It’s relatively new, being inaugurated in 1997 and is the most southerly mosque in continental Europe.
In the photo above you can see Gibraltar’s trademark levanter cloud forming on the top of the Rock in the background. Unless it’s very overcast or foggy, you are pretty much assured of sunshine at Europa Point because the cloud (if there is one) stays over the town area.
When we first arrived in Gibraltar back in 2009, the area around Europa Point was pretty much wasteland. There was the mosque and lighthouse of course plus a cricket pitch but the rest of the land was pretty rough. The promenade was originally laid out by the military many years ago and had decayed to a very sorry state but in recent years the whole area has had a massive facelift. It was sorely needed as it’s a popular stop off point for the dozens of tourist buses which visit every day.
One of the best viewing points across the Straits of Gibraltar is Harding’s Battery. The Battery is the site of a huge cannon and in the weapon storeroom beneath there is a small museum area with displays telling visitors about the history of Gibraltar, it’s wildlife and it’s relationship to the sea.
The wide open flat space behind Harding’s Battery is perfect for scooters, bikes and anything with wheels. We are pretty frequent visitors there with the Little Postcards. On a dry sunny Sunday afternoon though, you can take your life in your hands trying to navigate across it through the learner cyclists, confident scooter riders flying down the slope from the cannon and chuck in a few remote control cars zooming madly about!
Close by is the Sikorski memorial. It’s a fairly recent addition, having been moved here from the Eastside of the Rock. It’s to commemorate a plane crash in 1943 which killed General Władysław Sikorski, the commander-in-chief of the Polish Army and Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile. The crash also claimed fifteen other lives. The stone which forms the base of the monument was specially shipped to Gibraltar from Poland to build it.
By far and away the best addition for us and countless other families when the whole Europa Point area was renovated several years ago, was the addition of a large and fantastically maintained park. Known in our house as the ‘Lighthouse Park’ for obvious reasons, it has been the scene of many a picnic, play and sibling dispute.
We really are lucky to have such a lovely place right on our doorsteps. It’s lovely whatever time of day you visit.
It was the perfect vantage point to catch a good view of the super moon which appeared late last year.
But there’s more to Europa Point that the bit the tourists see…. there’s the coastlline too.
On a rainy afternoon late last year on a walk past the University of Gibraltar, I went for an explore and discovered a path which took me down to the sea.
To the Europa Foreshore…
The area of land directly beneath the Europa Point complex feels like a world away. In parts it’s shabby and unloved, but it’s really special even on a grey damp day like the one when I visited.
As I approached the foreshore I spotted an elderly man standing very still and looking out to sea. I stood back and tried to spot what he was looking at but couldn’t see. He suddenly turned on his heel and walked towards me saying ‘What a magnificent pod of dolphins… they’ve been coming past a lot these past few days.’ Oh how I wish I’d seen them myself!
This area of rock and rough scrub land is a nature reserve, as I was visiting in winter time there wasn’t a great deal for me to see plant wise. I will definitely need to make another trip down there in spring.
Like much of the rest of Gibraltar, the foreshore is dotted with military buildings from years gone by. This was the outer wall of the Rock’s military defences.
It must be very exposed to be down here on a stormy day!
I love the sliver of sunshine breaking the clouds on this photo, but can you see the rain coming down? Within a few minutes that rain was falling on me. Time to run back to the bus stop!
Europa Foreshore, I will be back again on a brighter, sunnier day with my camera. I feel like I have just unearthed a secret world no one else knows about!
Postcard from Gibraltar’s Sunday Sevens is officially one year old today!
This week’s Sunday sevens has a distinct lack of crochet and sewing, there has been a little going on behind the scenes but nothing of note. It’s been a funny old week really, the first one of the school term without any big events or visitors and I’ve felt oddly at a loose end. I’d been quite looking forward to getting back to ‘normal’ but I’m not entirely sure I enjoyed it.
I normally embrace free time and fill it with crafty things but this time I began to feel slightly guilty at having time on my hands and began a big autumnal ‘spring’ clean (for those of you who don’t know me – that’s NOT normal behavior) 😉 Next week we have plenty going on, so there’s no fear of the newly found domesticity continuing …. phew!
A spot of Sunday afternoon painting
You know when you just get the urge to do something? I had the overwhelming urge on Sunday afternoon to crack out my paints and have a go at painting the Europa Point lighthouse. I’ve tried to paint it a couple of times before and it’s just not worked out right. This time, I think it did.
The painting bug continued into Monday. The laundry was washed and I went to the supermarket but the bathroom didn’t get cleaned and neither did the floors – whoops! When the creative urge strikes, it’s a shame not to take advantage don’t you think? 😉
I tinkered with my lighthouse picture from the day before and had a bash at Catalan Bay (using a photo I took one evening as the sun was setting). This one is still a work-in-progress… I was also supposed to be doing a bit of sewing while the kids were at school – hence the sewing machine on the kitchen table. It made a good proper-upper for my pictures though!
Boats in the bay
This huge boat was anchored in the Bay and was lit up like a Christmas tree on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I love watching the boats in the bay out of the window and from our balcony. As a family we like to look up the most interesting looking ones on Marine Traffic to find out where they’ve come from. We have visitors from all the corners of the world mooring in front of our home!
This was a drill ship registered in the Marshall Islands and it had travelled to Gibraltar from Amsterdam.
The autumn weather arrived in Gibraltar this week, the temperature dropped a bit and the rains came. There was a mad scramble on Thursday morning to dig out wellies and waterproofs ready for the school run. Normally I’d be better organised but the lovely Indian summer we’ve been enjoying had lulled me into a false sense of security!
Exploring new territory
On Friday morning I got up raring to climb the Med Steps, but alas the weather scuppered my plans. I didn’t fancy slipping off the steep side of the Rock, so opted for a coastal walk instead.
Last week, fellow Gibraltar blogger Brit on the Rock posted a photo on Instagram of a view at Europa Point which I didn’t recognise. I asked her where she’d taken it from and here is where it was. It’s a place called the Europa foreshore and it’s part of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve.
I stood looking out to sea and watched the next rain shower swiftly coming across the Straits towards me. It was fascinating to watch the clouds scudding across the sky and I was lost in the moment for a while before I suddenly realised that I needed to get a move on and head home before getting well and truly drenched!
An afternoon in Spain
Yesterday, the weather was much better and we headed across the border to Duquesa where some special people were waiting for us. My brother, his fiancée and her family had arrived for a short holiday the night before. We had a lovely long afternoon in the garden of the villa they’d rented for their stay.
The Little Postcards played in the pool and we enjoyed a barbecue and lots of catching up. This was the magnificent view from the garden out towards the Mediterranean- just lovely.
We got this lovely view of the Rock on our way back home.
One more thing…
If you’re reading this in Gibraltar, and you have yet to purchase your Christmas cards, please consider supporting this very worthy cause. Babystepps is a very important charity supporting parents through early parenthood and pregnancy here in Gibraltar. Thank you 🙂
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog. Pop over to her blog to find out how to join in.