A stroll around Gibraltar No. 26 : All the way around the Rock

Today is 10th September which is Gibraltar National Day and I wanted to mark the occasion with a special blog post. As our family moved back to the UK this summer after over a decade in Gib, it will be a strange National Day for us. It will also be a ‘different’ one for the people of Gibraltar as this year, the traditional rallies and gatherings have been cancelled due to Covid-19.

This is my tribute to Gibraltar on National Day 2020, a post which I hope, will show my deep affection for the Rock and it’s people. It’s a place which will be forever in my heart, and I dearly hope I will be able to return to frequently in the years to come.

Gibraltar National Day rally – Casemates Square 10th September 2019

Way back in May, before we made our epic move back to the UK, I got the chance to do something I’d never done before…. walk the whole way round the Rock. It’s not something I’d done before because it takes quite a while and strictly speaking you aren’t allowed to walk through one of the road tunnels to complete the route.

However, during the waning weeks of lockdown while there was very little traffic on the roads many people were walking through and the authorities were turning a blind eye. Being someone who doesn’t like to bend the rules very often, I saw this new development as my opportunity and took it. (FYI it’s very busy on the roads again now, so I really wouldn’t recommend doing it now. PLEASE BE SENSIBLE AND DON’T WALK THROUGH).

Here goes…

Europa Road

I began my walk in South District not far from where we used to live on the (normally busy) Europa Road.

Past the beautiful blooms of bougainvillea and nasturtiums.

Rather than going the long way around via Queensway or Main Street, I walked above the Trafalgar Cemetery and popped through Prince Edward’s Gate and into Gibraltar’s old town that way.

Trafalgar Cemetery
Prince Edward’s Gate

And into town…

Town Range
Looking from St Mary’s School towards St Andrew’s Church

I walked along pavements I have walked countless times before over the years. It was strange to think that just a few weeks later, we would be saying goodbye to Gibraltar after 11 very happy years. During that time these streets, which once felt so alien and unlike where we had come from, became our home.

St Andrew’s Church of Scotland

I passed below the beautiful and historic Garrison Library.

Gibraltar Garrison Library

…and further on into town along the narrow Governor’s Street north towards Casemates Square.

Governor’s Street
Casemates Square

As you can probably tell from the bright blue skies in the photos – it was a rather warm day!

Casemates Tunnel

In the north east corner of Casemates is a tunnel which leads to…

Landport Tunnel

… Landport Tunnel which was, once upon a time, the only way to access Gibraltar by land. All the area beyond the city walls was once sea before a series of land reclamation projects were undertaken. At curfew each evening those big wooden doors would be closed and the drawbridge on the other side would be lifted sealing inhabitants of the Rock inside for the night.

The tunnel is steeped in history – walking through it you can imagine some of the people who must have come through here over the centuries. There is a bend in the middle for defence purposes I believe.

Northern Defences

As you come out of Landport Tunnel Gibraltar’s military heritage is in evidence on your right and above your head lies the Northern Defences – a place I would have loved to explore before we left.

Onwards and northwards I headed towards the airport and the sundial roundabout.

Sundial roundabout with the airport runway and air traffic control tower beyond

My path turned to the East at this point along Devil’s Tower Road.

This road (which is normally very busy but thanks to lockdown was extremely quiet) has a mix of older housing blocks, flashy new developments and industry. The Rock looms above it all.

At Eastern beach you pass the local vehicle licensing and MOT test centre, behind this military pill box.

As I passed by this spot I was rather taken by this little chap!

Gnome created by Gibraltar street artist Jupp
Can you spot the spy holes in a line on the Rock in the bottom third of the photo?

There are plenty of reminders on the East side of Gibraltar’s military past as well, apart from the spy holes in the Rock above your head is this cairn constructed in memory of the members of the Black Watch who worked here to create some of Gibraltar’s Defences. I wonder what they thought about the heat of the Med after traveling down from the Highlands of Scotland?!

Heading south towards Catalan Bay

The sun was rather intense at this spot beating down on my head (I’m glad I wore a hat!) and the crickets were chirping in the grass by my side.

Catalan Bay

All of a sudden after the industrial buildings the developments give way to a huge land reclamation project and on the other side – beautiful Catalan Bay. When we first arrived in Gib, this was our beach of choice in the summer. It’s small-ish and is less easy to lose children when you take your eyes off them for a millisecond! Plus there is ample parking if you arrive early enough in the day. Lately though, we moved to Sandy Bay which is a lot less densely populated and gives you much more space.

Beach protocol in Gib is something which you quickly learn as a newcomer to the Rock. Local families have their traditional pitches where they always set up camp on the beach and it can be quite easy to ruffle feathers if you plonk yourself down in a seemingly empty spot. At the height of summer beach umbrellas, deck chairs and tables appear on the beach at first light many hours before their owners appear to take up residence. It is quite a sight to behold.

Catalan Bay
Looking down over Catalan Bay village

Rather than dashing down to the beach to feel the sand and waves on my toes I kept on going along Sir Herbert Miles Road which hugs the back of Catalan Bay village (Sir Herbert Miles was Governor of Gibraltar from 1913-1918).

Catalan Bay rooftops

Catalan Bay was once solely populated by ex-pat Genoese fishermen and their families. Until about 100 years ago the village was cut off at high tide and the only access was via the beach when the tide was low. Genoese was the language spoken here and Caletaños (Catalan Bay villagers) are responsible for a lot of the Genoese words which have become a fixture in the Llanito dialect in Gibraltar.

Traditional wooden fishing boats at Catalan Bay (Photo: Postcard from Gibraltar archives)

Traditional wooden boat building is still a skill which is passed down through the generations in this village. The beautiful handcrafted rowing fishing boats are used daily by village fishermen to catch fish, they are also used for a traditional annual boat race in the Bay.

Brightly coloured Little Genoa

Along Sir Herbert Miles Road is the pretty and colourful development of Little Genoa (can you see what they did there?).

All the while the huge Rock is there above you!

After Catalan Bay is Black Strap Cove, a small stretch of undeveloped land between Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay. As with much of the Gibraltar coastline you can see now abandoned military installations amongst the rocky cliff side. It is a haven for wild flowers in spring and I’ve seen Barbary Partridges here at times too. A lovely spot.

Next stop Sandy Bay…

When we first arrived in Gibraltar 11 years ago, there was a tiny pebble beach here at Sandy Bay. The winter before we arrived brought tremendous storms and sea swells and washed the beach away (as well as running a huge tanker aground by Europa Point and causing damage elsewhere in Gibraltar). Maybe 5 years ago (my memory may be wrong here) the Government completed the project to build a couple of groynes to protect the beach and shipped in tones of sand to replace what had been lost in the storms.

Sandy Bay is now a large beautifully sandy stretch of beach and thanks to the rocky arms stretching out to hug the beach, the water here can be calm where the conditions are choppy elsewhere for swimming. The perfect spot to spend a day with the family! It’s now our beach of choice.

The housing development of Both Worlds which forms a barrier between the main road and the beach was built just over 50 years ago and opened just around the time the border between Gibraltar and Spain was closed by General Franco. Overnight Gibraltarians couldn’t cross over for holidays and trips into Spain, and Both Worlds became a holiday destination for many local people.

When it opened there were shops here, food delivery services (much like what many of us rely on these days) and even a mini buggy taxi service which would give residents a lift along the length of the resort. I happened upon a fabulous newspaper supplement advertising the new Both Worlds development in a 50 year old Gibraltar Chronicle at the National Archives a while ago. It made for fascinating reading!

It is now a residential block, half of which is for over 50s and the rest is sold on the open market. Some of the apartments can be rented as holiday lets.

Old military buildings south of Sandy Bay
Looking north towards Sandy Bay
Dudley Ward Tunnel

A short way south of Sandy Bay is Dudley Ward Tunnel. This is the tunnel which isn’t supposed to be used by pedestrians but during lockdown became a regular pedestrian route around the Rock because of the greatly reduced traffic on the roads.

Goodbye sunshine… into the cool darkness. I had my fluorescent gear on so I could be seen clearly walking along the side of the road (fortunately just two cars passed me by). I didn’t hang about for long, it felt very naughty to be in there. I don’t mind telling you that was a bit relieved when I popped out into daylight at the other end!

The coastline here is different to the other end of the tunnel, the cliffs are steeper and go right down to the sea below.

Cliffs covered in wildflowers (can you spot the nesting gull?)

You get a clear view of the clay pigeon shooting range which was built for the Island Games last year.

2019 Island Games Clay Pigeon shooting range

This section of the Rock is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the photo below you get a true sense of the magesty of the cliffs looking northwards. Down at just above sea-level is the Gorham’s Cave complex which is full of important archaeological research.

It truly is a beautiful spot.

Looking south towards Europa Point and the Moroccan coast beyond

When I could see the lighthouse at Europa Point, I felt like I was on the final leg of my journey. Not long now before I could have a cold drink and a sit down!

Out at sea, as I was walking, I spotted a bit of argy-bargy between a Guardia Civil boat and a Royal Navy rhib. That’s a common sight round these parts as there is an ongoing dispute about who the British Gibraltar Territorial Waters actually belong to. Sometimes skirmishes make the British news, one day I saw a flare being fired by the British after a Spanish vessel continued on a collision course towards a submarine. That was quite a sight I can tell you!

Europa Advance Road

Onwards in the full heat of the sun heading south…

Trinity Lighthouse

… there she is – Trinity Lighthouse. Doesn’t she look magestic?

The lay-by which offers this stunning view also has a touching memorial for a young soldier.

As you round the bend in the road, in front of you is the dramatic sight of the Mosque.

Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque

Between the mosque and the lighthouse, Europa Point is a rather iconic part of the Rock. It’s also home to a fabulous play park for young children, a heritage information centre, Gibraltar University, the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and the recently built Europa Point stadium which is home to Gibraltar Rugby & Gibraltar Cricket and was used to house the Nightingale facility to cope with Covid-19 patients (although, so far, thankfully, it hasn’t needed to be used).

Looking towards the lighthouse, park & stadium between the mosque and university accommodation.

The road swings round to the north again after Europa Point offering great views of the Rock.

Europa Road looking north
View from Europa Road down to Little Bay, the Nuffield Pool and Camp Bay beyond

Looking westwards out to see you see both the Moroccan coast (on the left of the photo below) and the Spanish coast (on the right) the strip of water between them is the famous Strait of Gibraltar and the gateway to the Mediterranean.

Europa Road here gets quite narrow as it was once crossed by an archway and policed by an army sentry.

It was a defence point to stop invaders approaching from the south getting access to the town.

And finally I had reached my destination… almost home, I was back in South District!

Two hours on from when I’d set off, I had completed my circuit of the Rock. I am so pleased I managed to tick this walk off on my to-do list in Gibraltar. Despite living there for over a decade, there are still some things I didn’t manage to achieve, like visiting the Lower St Michaels Cave and exploring the Jungle and the Northern Defences. I hope one day I will be able to do those things.

In the meantime, when I’m in my new home in the UK I have some truly wonderful memories of our time in Gib, and feel truly blessed that we had our time there, and that the Little Postcards could enjoy some of their childhood there too.

Thank you Gibraltar and happy National Day 2020! 🇬🇮

Lindsay x

Friday photo challenge (Week 50) Decoration

Sacred Heart Church needs little additional decoration, it’s beautiful to start with, but it’s currently sporting some Christmas wreathes.

We are a bit slow off the mark in our house and haven’t yet put up our decorations… that’s job for this weekend I think. But Gibraltar has all its decorations up and looking splendid!

Next week is the penultimate week for this photo challenge, and the theme will be ‘star’.

Sunday Sevens #115 24.12.17

Hello there and happy Christmas! We’ve finally reached Christmas Eve and whether you’re ready or not there’s no escaping the fact that the big day day’s tomorrow. I think I may finally be ready, but there’s always something I forget to do…. what will it be this year?!

Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens:

It’s Christmas!!!!

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Gibraltar is looking as festive as ever, the town centre looks lovely all lit up. I haven’t taken too many photos of the lights this year, but you can see last year’s light show here.

If in doubt stick a sunset picture in!

We had a lot of cloudy evenings of late and although we have had a few glimpses of the sun going down between the clouds, a proper sunset as it were has been pretty rare lately. This lovely one was last Sunday night.

Favourite church ceiling

Oh how I love the interior of Sacred Hearth Church here in Gibraltar. It has got to be one of the prettiest church ceilings around. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a service here this week and had loads of time to admire the stars and stained glass windows as beautiful Christmas carols were sung.

Wintery watercolour

At my last watercolour lesson of 2017, we painted some suitably wintery pictures. I love how the snow just ‘appeared’ after sprinkling some salt onto the wet painting – just magic!

Southwold comes to Gibraltar

As I walked along Main Street this week with Eldest, he spotted something I’d walked past several times without noticing (in fact it could have been there for months). Our favourite place for holidays (Southwold, in Suffolk) is featured on the side of Marks and Spencer in Gibraltar! The pictures in the photo shoot must have been taken on Southwold Pier and on the beach near by. You can read all about Southwold Pier here.

Star Wars

We had a trip to the cinema this week as schools closed for Christmas, to see the new Star Wars film. I really enjoyed it, not as much as Force Awakens, but it was still really good in my opinion and a great start to our Christmas holiday as a family.

Beautiful day at Catalan Bay

Yesterday, the last Saturday before Christmas, we decided to avoid the shops at all costs. We figured that if we didn’t have all we need by now, it was probably too late anyway (time will tell if I did forget anything after all). We headed round to the eastern side of the Rock and had a wander about in Catalan Bay. It was beautiful there – not a queue or harassed shopper in sight.

I have decide to include a couple of extra Catalan Bay pictures as it was just so beautiful there and there may be some people reading this who are in need of a dose of blue sky…

That’s all from me for Sunday Sevens this week. Where ever you are reading this, I hope you have a lovely Christmas with plenty to eat and surrounded by your loved ones. To those of you who find this time of year difficult, I hope you find peace and know that you are in my thoughts.

Happy Christmas! x

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

Sunday Sevens #100 10.9.17

Welcome to the 100th Postcard from Gibraltar Sunday Sevens! I can’t quite believe this little weekly Sunday post has reached such a big milestone, and it couldn’t have landed on a more appropriate day than Gibraltar National Day could it? What’s more, this isn’t any ordinary Gibraltar National Day, it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Referendum in 1967 in which almost 100% of the Gibraltarian population voted to remain British. (I didn’t plan this by the way, I’m not that clever, it’s just a happy coincidence).

This week’s Sunday Sevens is rather neatly bookended by two amazing musical events…

End of the party…


Bearing in mind this is such a milestone, you would have thought I would have packed it full of gorgeous photos wouldn’t you? Sadly, this week hasn’t been the most photogenic one for me! I begin this post with the last photo from my previous post taken in the early hours of Monday morning (thankfully it was a Bank Holiday here in Gibraltar!). 

This year’s Gibraltar Music Festival (known as MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling) came to a climax in the early hours of Monday morning. I took this photo as we were leaving in the middle of Fat Boy Slim’s set (we were being sort of responsible and getting Eldest back home before he or we turned into a pumpkin). For more on the festival, you can find yesterday’s post all about it here.

Moody skies


Things got back to normal again on Tuesday, children went back to school, and a bit of a routine developed again. This long summer break has been lovely but it is nice to have some structure back in our lives again after so long without it! I spotted this cruise ship coming into Gibraltar on Tuesday morning as the Little Postcards were getting ready to head out to school. The tourists on board didn’t get the best of Gibraltar’s weather that day sadly.

Almost missed it!

We had a couple of nice sunsets midweek, I was sitting out on the balcony after dinner and found myself gazing off into the distance in a world of my own when I suddenly realised the sky was looking pretty. I hadn’t even noticed the sun was setting until the last moment. I grabbed my camera quickly before the sun slipped down behind the hills.

Happy post! 


Oh I do love it when I get my monthly subscription from Little Box of Crochet. This lovely little box contained not just a crochet kit, but a cross stitch kit too curtesy of the Geeky Stitching Club! Oh dear, looks like my To-make List is getting longer and longer…

More crochet…


Talking of crochet, I’ve kind of lost my crochet mojo this week. After over 60 days of Crochet during my Summer Craft Challenge, I lost my momentum this week. I’ve only picked up my hook once. I’m hoping this little cactus kit from Simply Crochet Magazine will work its magic and get me back into my rhythm. 

A hole with personality 😉


Please tell me I’m not going mad and this hole has a face… it caught my eye as I walked past and I had to go back and look at it again. From a different angle it looks nothing like a face but straight on it has a pair of shades, a nose and a mouth!! 

It’s on a wall close to The Mount on Europa Road if you fancy having a look yourself. I reckon he has a look of Elvis don’t you?! 

All set for National Day

Gibraltar is resplendent in red and white all ready for this weekend’s celebrations. On Friday I took a walk into town for the first time in ages and ages and got to see all the decorations up close rather than from a car window. Gibraltar really does go to town each September and this year more than most.

Classical celebrations 

Last night I was lucky enough to return to Victoria Stadium, the scene of the first of this week’s photos for another musical concert. This one was by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was amazing. Titled ‘A celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum’ it had the feel of Last Night at the Proms. There was a mix of well known classical pieces such as Pomp & Circumstance and Nimrod from the Enigma Variations and movie soundtracks including Star Wars and Harry Potter. 

In addition to the orchestra, we were entertained by the Gibraltar Regimental Band and a local choir. The solo singers were amazing too – they performed a few opera pieces and rousing renditions of Rule Brittania, Jerusalem etc. The female soloist, Laura Wright is a regular at major sporting events singing anthems, the male soloist is perhaps one of the best known opera singers in Britain today; Wynne Evans of the Go Compare adverts. What an amazing night and wonderful atmosphere, and a world away from what we experienced a week before. At just £5 for a ticket it was a fab opportunity to hear some first class musicians.


And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens to a close. (I know it should be seven photos from the past seven days and not nine, but it’s a special edition!)

I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for this post, as Sunday Sevens was  first created by her. Thanks Natalie for such a great idea – who would have thought I’d get to 100!

2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 12) Historical 

Gibraltar is steeped in history, where ever you go in this small but perfectly formed place you can see it to abundance. From the Tower of Homage, also know as Moorish Castle (you can see this above), which stands sentry above the old Upper Town, and the city walls and fortifications of the Northern Defences.

Around town we have lots of lovely old buildings including the beautifully restored King’s Bastion (below).

From the outside, you wouldn’t know behind these walls there is a ten pin bowling alley, cinema and ice skating rink would you?

If you are ever on Gibraltar’s Main Street on a Saturday lunchtime, you are sure to see some living history in action, when the historical reenactment society parades past in uniforms of years gone by. Each Saturday, the former soldiers reenact the Ceremony of the Keys to the delight of many passers by and tourists.

Wearing different uniforms for different occasions, they are photographed and watched on their trip down to Casemates Square and back again.

I’m joining with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge.

A stroll through the clouds… 

I wasn’t planning on going for a walk up the Med Steps this morning, but I’m so glad I did. It was beautiful and I also got the chance to climb up through the clouds again. You may remember I took a similar walk like this just under a year ago… A mini stroll in the mist.

The sun was shining as we set off from the western side of the rock but as we walked around to the eastern side it was a bit cloudy. You could still feel the  sunshine beating down through the clouds though.

Looking up the sky immediately above us was so clear and bright!


  

As we climbed and looked out to sea it became obvious the clouds were actually forming a low blanket which the top of Gibraltar was just poking up out of.

From the summit you could just spy the northern tip poking out above the clouds.

Looking north

Looking south towards Morocco, the clouds were creeping around from the Mediterranean and into the Strait of Gibraltar.

Looking south
To the north, on the western side, the airport runway and part of town had been hidden from view as the misty cloud swept around and into the Bay.

Looking north west
We headed back down the Rock after our exertions in the cool shade feeling proud of ourselves for having achieved our goal. Within an hour the two cloudy arms had joined across the Bay and were encircling us in a giant cloudy hug. 

I drove into town to find myself severely underdressed (the T shirt was a bad idea!) and shrouded in cloud…. Can you believe these two photos (above and below) were taken just 10 minutes apart?!

Looking up the Rock from town
I’m pleased to report that the cloud has now burned off and we are basking in bright sunshine and blue skies!

Ahhh that’s better!

Main Street
How many seasons in one morning?! The weather and the micro climates around the Rock are part of the fun of living here.  It’s not just the apes, British Bobbies and red phone boxes that make Gibraltar unique.

Sunday Sevens #70 12.2.17

It’s been a busy old week for me so this week’s Sunday Sevens is a little bit longer than usual and may have more than seven photos…

I hope you had a good week!

Sunny weather

Oh hello there Mr Deep Blue Sky, how lovely to see you again!! What a gorgeous day Monday was, and what a gorgeous balcony – one of my favourites in Gibraltar.

Dressmaking class


I learned a valuable lesson this week at my sewing class… not to to run before I can walk. There I was merrily cutting out the fabric for my new dress… then when I pinned it together to begin sewing my seams… shock… horror: two sections were 4cm too short! I’d misdrawn my pattern pieces last week -eek!

I had to add an extra bit to the bottoms of the two pieces and hopefully you won’t see the joins within the hem. Whoops!

Another beautiful sunset


Tuesday evening brought us the most beautiful sunset…

It was too lovely for just one picture I thought …

Sunset inspired watercolour class


In my watercolour class this week our teacher got us to break out of our comfort zones and go abstract. Inspired by the lovely sunset this week I picked similar colours and slapped a bit of paint about. It was loads of fun and I ended up with some feathery bird like shapes. We’re going to add to them next week… I wonder what we’ll end up with!

Parsons Lodge


I ended up down by the sea at Camp Bay on two consecutive mornings, Thursday and Friday. The weather was beautiful, a bit cold but gloriously sunny on Thursday.


But on Friday… it was looking a bit grim! What a difference a day makes…

#freeheartfriday


Later on Friday I took a walk down Main Street and spotted these lovely hearts pinned to the trees. They were left for passers-by to take as part of the Free Heart Friday free art project. 

What a fab thing to do – I hope they brought hope and joy to anyone who needed it.

Gib Talks


Yesterday Gib Talks returned for a day of short inspirational talks on a whole range of subjects. To find out more about it, have a look at my post from yesterday.

On my hook this week


This little chap was on my crochet hook this week. The little amigurumi zebra has gone to his new home so I can share this. I hope his new owner will like him 😊
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a great week ahead.
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins

2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 4) Gate

For a place which doesn’t have many gardens, Gibraltar has a fair few gates and rather impressive ones at that!

As with many other ancient cities and towns, Gibraltar’s town centre is ringed by old defensive walls. The entrances to these walls are known as ‘gates’. The one above is at Landport Tunnel, which at one time was the only way you could access Gibraltar from Spain by land (hence the name). It’s a pedestrian entrance and you can still see the chains to operate the drawbridge.

Each evening the soldiers would go around locking all the gates, and in this case, pull up the drawbridge to protect Gibraltar from any unwanted nocturnal visitors.

Grand Casemates Gates are at the entrance to Casemates Square. Casemates is the hub where all big community events happen in Gibraltar. Behind this impressive set of gates lies the area where New Year’s Eve, National Day, Calentita and Summer Nights events are all celebrated. The most impressive event though has to be the Ceremony of the Keys, where every six months the act of locking the gates to secure Gibraltar from it’s adversaries is reenacted.

As you can see on the sign, it was once the site of ‘Water Gate’. Boats used to moor up outside these gates and merchants would trade their wares. Hard to believe that the area where thousands of people live, work and pass through each day used to be under seawater.

At the southern end of Queensway and approximately half way down the western side of Gibraltar, lies Ragged Staff Gates. This wall was also a seawall not that terribly long ago.

Just a short walk through Ragged Staff gates and you can see Southport gates, close to the Trafalgar Cemetery and our statue of Lord Nelson.

It once just had a much smaller pair of openings, but it was widened in the 1960s to allow two lanes of traffic through this new arch.

The two original gates now cater for traffic heading north into Main Street and pedestrians.

The strong wooden gates with their metal bars to lock them shut still hang in the archways.

The archway is rather tight for today’s traffic, I always breathe in when I go through in the car, but amazingly Gibraltar’s very talented bus drivers whizz through, some hardly slow down!

The final historic gate I’m sharing with you lies above the beautiful Trafalgar Cemetery:


Prince Edward’s Gate gives motorists access to Upper Town along Prince Edward’s Road.

It is named after Prince Edward, the fourth son of George III, who later became the Duke of Kent and father to Queen Victoria. He was serving in Gibraltar in 1790, when the gate was cut into the King Charles V wall.

The current Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex was driven through the gate and along the name which bears his name when he visited Gibraltar in 2012 with his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. They visited the Rock as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour.

I hope you have enjoyed this peak at Gibraltar’s gates!

I’m linking with Nana Cathy for this photo challenge. If you fancy joining in, pop over to her blog to find out more.

A stroll around Gibraltar No. 18 : Moorish Castle

After a long school holiday at home with the Little Postcards, I escaped for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon and headed out for a walk. Main Street was busy with bargain hunters hitting the sales so I decided to climb up out of the bustling town centre of Gibraltar and visit Moorish Castle.

The Tower of Homage, which can clearly be seen by visitors to Gibraltar as they approach from the airport is one of the last remaining buildings left by the Moors from when they controlled Gibraltar back in the 11th Century.

It’s a much visited destination on the usual Gibraltar tourist trail but, believe it or not, despite living here for so long, I haven’t been inside since our first ever visit to the Rock when we came for a look round and to find somewhere to live almost 8 years ago.

I climbed up higher and higher into the Upper Town leaving the shops and crowds enjoying the post Christmas sales on Main Street and found parts of Upper Town I’d never visited before. The street names refer to the Rock’s military past.

Wandering around the Moorish Castle Estate, I discovered great examples of community painting  projects from National Days gone-by.

I have to admit that I got lost a couple of times taking alleyways and paths assuming they would lead up to the castle and discovering dead ends! I have a feeling I will be visiting again soon as there are so many lovely examples of architecture which are crying out to be photographed… there are even headless men and children crossing the roads (see the sign below).

Never before have I seen such a festive washing line. I hope whoever the clean laundry belongs to doesn’t mind me sharing this, but wow what a lovely collection of Christmas table cloths, tea towels and aprons! Obviously being laundered to put away until next year!

As you walk up these roads and paths, you don’t realise how high you are climbing until you turn to look back at where you came from!

Nestled in amongst the post war government housing estate is an ancient structure which has a sign detailing it’s past. This building with battlements is probably the oldest building in Gibraltar. It was the original gatehouse for Moorish Castle and was occupied successively by Moorish, Spanish and British troops for over eight hundred years.

Just a little further up hill and there was the Castle.

You can completely understand why it was built in this position, what a great vantage point to observe our neighbours to the north. And just check out that cannon with it’s sight firmly set.

It was time to go inside..

The sign above the door reads:

When the Moors recaptured Gibraltar from the Spaniards in 1333 they rebuilt an earlier tower, ruined in the fighting, into this solid Tower of Homage, which has since withstood ten sieges.

After making your way through a steel gate, you reach the inner stairwell. Modern stairs lead the way up and down the tower now, but it’s clear to see what’s left of the original Moorish stairwell with arched sections left on some of the walls. The tower you see today was built at the same time as the Alhambra in Granada.

The first part you come to is an original Moorish bath house. The interlinking rooms are cleaned back to the stone and the subtle lighting means you can see the lovely brick work and arches which feature so heavily in the design.

A much larger example of a Moorish bath house can be found in the basement of the Gibraltar Museum. That is a truly atmospheric place and well worth a visit if you are over here.

Back into the stair well and this tiny window gave a great view of the town below. I wonder how many soldiers have stood with their weapons pointed out of there over the centuries?

These walls have stood the test of time and many attacks, in addition to the many sieges, in 1540, hundreds of people headed to the castle to shelter safely while Turkish pirates attacked the Rock.

Don’t look down!

I headed on up the stair well and up out of a little door at the top…

…to the roof and the most amazing panoramic view.

The Union Jack flapped in the breeze as gusts blew the clouds across the moody sky. In 1704 Admiral Rooke hoisted the British flag at this spot when he captured Gibraltar, one has flown here ever since.

Here’s Gibraltar’s famous runway which is bisected by the only road off the Rock, the Spanish town of La Linea lies on the other side of the border. Despite the fact many people mistakenly think Gibraltar is an island, you can clearly see we are well and truly attached to the rest of mainland Europe!

Down below the castle you get a good view of Casemates Square (bottom centre of the photo). In it’s heyday the Moorish Castle complex stretched all the way down to where Casemates is today.

Immediately below the tower is the remains of the former Gibraltar Prison. The Prison was still in use here when we arrived to live on the Rock, but it has now relocated to a purpose-built facility above Europa Point.

It wasn’t just me and a handful of tourists who were taking a moment to appreciate the view up there.

Can you can see the old building with scaffolding around in the centre of the picture? That is the orginal gatehouse which I mentioned before – it’s hard to imagine now, but the castle must have covered a really large area.

In addition to the town below, you get a brilliant view of the sea and the coast further north. It was looking a bit blustery on the Mediterranean coast up towards Santa Margarita.

In the Bay of Gibraltar, it was more sheltered, but this small group of yachts was making the most of the breeze off the western end of the runway.

I enjoyed my visit to Moorish Castle, I’m so glad I decided to forgo the joys of Saturday afternoon sales shopping in town in favour of this.

Goodbye for now Moorish Castle, I promise I won’t leave it so long before visiting you again!

 

A stroll around Gibraltar No. 16 : Christmas lights 2016


Gibraltar does do Christmas lights well, so I thought I’d take you on a little nocturnal stroll with me to show you some of them. 

Back in November there was the now annual event of the Festival of Lights, when school choirs and dance groups put on a large extravaganza before the big Christmas light switch on. You can read all about 2015’s Festival of Light here.

As is the tradition, the area of John MacIntosh Square (also know locally as the Piazza) is the scene of the Festival of Light, and after the event, the square is given over to a small Christmas Fair complete with fairground rides for smaller children. This year, the area has been illuminated with these arches of fairy lights which are really quite stunning as you round the corner and see it.

The square is flanked on three sides by brightly lit buildings too: Gibtelecom

The City Hall:

And opposite the City Hall, is the Gibraltar Parliament Building.

Main Street, the main shopping area is of course lit up too. The lights extend from beyond Southport Gates and past the Governor’s residence, the Convent (which you can see with the Christmas tree above the porch).

The lights continue along past the shops.


Even the smaller streets off Main Street have Christmas lights too.

Away from the pedestrianised shopping areas, the traffic islands haven’t been immune to the Christmas light treatment too.

This one, even features a luminous Santa Claus, who just hours before this photo was taken was face down in the plants. It looked like he’d had a heavy night at a Christmas party! He’d been restored to his former position by the time I returned with my camera, so his blushes were spared.

Aside from the municipal illuminations, the residential estates have put on a fair show this year too. Here’s the offering at Beach View Terrace near Eastern Beach…

…the residents of South District have put on a show too…

…as have the Alameda Estate.

I think the collective prize for best effort has got to go to the residents of Catalan Bay. Several houses have made a big effort, both those facing the road …

…and facing the sea.

Even the gardeners at the Alameda Gardens have jazzed up their main entrance gates.

To my mind though, there is one stand out winner this year and that is the City Fire Station. They get an A* for effort and win this year’s Postcard from Gibraltar prize for Best Christmas Lights by a mile.