Hello there! It’s Sunday Sevens time again. Here we are on our last weekend before School breaks up for summer for 9 loooooong weeks! Not sure what state we’ll all be in by the time September comes around – I feel a another summer craft challenge coming on….
Bank holiday on the beach
It was a bank holiday here in Gibraltar on Monday in honour of the Queen’s birthday. We headed down to the beach for the first time this year, and so did everyone else by the looks of it!! I also indulged in a spot of alfresco crochet, a bit of bank holiday bobbling on the beach!
I managed a bit of bobbling on the bus home too!
Photo of the day!
This photo which I used for my #52fridayphotos photo challenge last week got noticed by an Instagram account which showcases nice photos of Gibraltar… and I won photo of the day this week! What a lovely surprise 😊.
More street art
A few weeks ago I shared a couple of photos of recent additions of street art ( a sloth & a ginger cat). This huge and rather lovely piece of art has appeared on hoardings around the old police station on Irish Town. Much better than a plain old hoarding don’t you think?!
Lunch with friends
I had a lovely afternoon with friends this week on Queensway Quay. It had been too long since our last meet up. We had a lovely chat.
Comedy in a cave.
The Mancunian comedian, Jason Manford, came to Gibraltar this week. He did four shows in St Michael’s Cave in the Upper Rock. We went along to his first show and had a really good giggle. It was fabulous, and the cave is a stunning venue for an event. The evening was rounded off with a lovely sunset as we emerged from the cave…
New old pool
Gibraltar has a new/old pool! The Nuffield Pool, which was owned by the MoD was handed back to the Gibraltar Government a couple of years ago and very sadly it was left unused. This summer it has been smartened up again and this time is open to the public – not just military personnel and their families. It opened on Friday – I’m looking forward to our first trip!
Last night as we were sitting out on our balcony watching the world go by a plane took off from Gibraltar airport and flew by. What a lovely time to fly!
And there you have it, seven photos from the last seven days (who’s counting?!). Sunday Sevens was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.
This week’s photo challenge theme is ‘purple’, I spied this autumn crocus on my Monday morning walk up the Rock. But how about some purple stalactites? You can find them in St Michael’s Cave…
I spotted this purple Bee in Manchester, you can read all about the Bees here.
I just love a hydrangea…
And a little purple plant I painted at watercolour class…
So that’s this week’s photo challenge entry done, now to take a look back at what everyone else has been up to over the summer:
As things got a bit hectic at times during the summer I didn’t manage to do a monthly round-up, so here’s a mega round-up of some of the entries to the weekly Postcard from Gibraltar Friday photo challenge (the photos are from Instagram and were taken by other people taking part in the Postcard from Gibraltar Friday photo challenge), thank you to everyone who’s taken part!
Week 27 : Golden
A golden sunrise (above) and 4th July fireworks (below)
Margaret at The Crafty Creek joined in with this one, she included a golden retriever and some stunning shots of golden roses in her entry.
Week 28 : Favourite
Animals are always popular!
…. but if you fancy an adorable tale about a precious favourite toy, hop on over to Wild Daffodil.
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!
My week began admiring a sand sculpture on Sandy Bay Beach and ended back in my childhood bedroom exhausted from the excitement of visiting Yarndale for the first time…
Sandy Bay sand sculpture
On Sunday we took a detour down to Sandy Bay beach to admire a new sand sculpture which had been created to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer.
We arrived once the work was completed and shortly before Miss Gibraltar 2016 and her Princesses emerged from their make-up tent for a photo shoot.
The sculpture was of the Nautilus and giant squid from the Jules Verne story; 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. It was really quite something and admired by the beach goers.
Med Steps the return
On Mondays morning I felt guilty seeing all the keen fit mums in Lycra on the school run. I had been planning to return home to laundry, vacuuming and general boring stuff and thought sod it, I’ll get my trainers out… It was the perfect morning, cool and overcast. I hadn’t been up the Med Steps since early June, so I seized the moment and did it.
I was very pleased with myself, I completed the climb only 15 minutes or so slower than my fastest time during Med Steps 5 training. I think it was rather unfair though that extra steps were added and the gradient made steeper over the summer holidays 😉 (if only that were the case!).
September is definitely the month for sunsets in these parts and we’ve had some belters this week. I got a phone call on Tuesday evening from Mr Postcard to look out of the window to see the pink and purple sky (I was already out on the balcony taking a photo when he called!).
My dressmaking course continued this week with more pattern making and cutting ready for our first sample top. Fabric has been bought and sewing should begin next week.
Comedy in a cave
This week the comedian, Mark Steel, brought his BBC Radio 4 show to Gibraltar. Each episode he does a show in a different town after spending a few days there learning the history and soaking up the atmosphere and character of the place.
He recorded his show in St Michael’s Cave in the heart of the Rock of Gibraltar to an audience of local residents and many stalactites.
It was the first time Mr Postcard and I had been able to attend an event in the cave plus it was something we were very interested in so we jumped at the chance to go along. The show was really well researched and at times, hysterically funny.
If you want to listen to the show, Mark Steel’s in town (Gibraltar edition) is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 12th October.
The Rock at night
I had never been on the Upper Rock after dark until Thursday, when we were watching Mark Steel’s show being recorded. It was absolutely beautiful to see the town lit up below us.
Being so high up gave us a great vantage point to see the street lights in Morrocco across the Strait of Gibraltar. The height also meant we’d escaped light pollution we experience down where we live to be able to see a clear sky of twinkling stars – it was really special.
Wow, what can I say about Yarndale? Well it was all I’d hoped it would be and more. I’m still a little overwhelmed by it all after spending the last three years admiring it from afar.
A late flight from Gibraltar on Friday and an early start yesterday to get across the Pennines mean I’m still a bit tired even after a lie in this morning.
So much happened yesterday and I met some really lovely people too. There was Yarnbombing of a scale and quality which astounded me and so much yarn in so many colours and types that they boggle the mind.
When I get back home to Gibraltar I’ll be posting loads of pictures and promise to tell you all about it.
Here’s another (larger) photo of Shaun the sheep knitting on a Thirsk Yarnbombers yarn bombed bollard for you to enjoy – isn’t he amazing?
I escaped this afternoon for nearly two hours away from the video games, toys and being beaten over the head with a cardboard tube light saber. I used my time wisely to burn off a few calories consumed over the past week or so and set off for a walk up the Rock. It was a bit blowy to attempt the Med Steps so I settled for the less treacherous western side along the roads used by the many taxi cabs and tour buses which ferry tourists to the summit daily. As I strode purposefully up this great Rock a tune was turning over in my mind, a festive tune, known in our house as ‘A parsnip in a pear tree’ (The Twelve Days of Christmas).
A few new lyrics started popping into my head too, if you don’t mind a little festive corniness read on….
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: two cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: 3 taxi cabs, two cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: 6 stalagmites (and the rest!), 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: 7 winter flowers, 6 stalagmites, 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me the Mediterranean Steps, 7 winter flowers, 6 stalagmites, 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me 9 road signs, the Mediterranean Steps, 7 winter flowers, 6 stalagmites, 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me Hercules’ Pillar, 9 road signs, the Mediterranean Steps, 7 winter flowers, 6 stalagmites, 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me: postcards from Gibraltar (sorry I couldn’t resist!), Hercules’ Pillar, 9 road signs, the Mediterranean steps, 7 winter flowers, 6 stalagmites, 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view.
On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to me dozens of Barbary apes, postcards from Gibraltar, Hercules’ Pillar, 9 road signs, the Mediterranean steps, 7 winter flowers, 6 stalagmites, 5 cannon rings, 4 boats in the harbour, 3 taxi cabs, 2 cable cars and a most amazing view!
In case, dear reader, you don’t know much about Gibraltar, here’s a brief outline. Despite being an isthmus adjoining the southerly tip of the Iberian peninsular, (in other words a narrow strip of land/rock attached to the bottom of Spain) it is part of the United Kingdom. The main language here is English, although local people speak an interesting mix of English and Spanish as well as the local dialect of Llanito.
We are surrounded on almost all sides by sea, apart from the narrow strip of land at the northerly tip where there is a land border with Spain. This is also the location of Gibraltar Airport. The runway is bisected by the main road from the town centre to the border (also known as the ‘Frontier’). When planes are due to land and take-off, the traffic comes to a standstill to let them past!
At the most southerly tip of Gibraltar is the Trinity lighthouse at Europa Point. It stands guard looking out across the Straits of Gibraltar towards Morrocco in the distance.
In order to travel by road around the circumference of the Rock, you have to travel through it at times. There are miles and miles of tunnels within the Rock, all carved and blasted out by the military over the years. The general public can only access a very small percentage of them.
There are also many natural caves within Gibraltar, St Michael’s Cave (below) being a stunning example. The huge cavern has been used to stage musical and theatrical productions and provides a uniquely atmospheric backdrop to performances.
Gibraltar is perhaps most famous for it’s furry inhabitants. The apes, which live in the Upper Rock nature reserve, are sought out by tourists. From time to time, they come down the Rock into town to seek out more interesting meals than the nutritious fruit and veg put out by the Government of Gibraltar in an attempt to keep them healthy. They like to rifle through bins and snatch food from passers-by. Legend has it that as long as the apes stay in Gibraltar, the territory will remain British.
The Upper Rock, as well as being home to the apes, is a haven for wildlife and plants. It is a beautiful place and offers solitude away from the hustle of town.
The town is centred around Main Street and offers many familiar British brands as well as independent local retailers.
A regular sight on Main Street is the Historical Re-enactment March, which takes place at around midday on Saturdays and on special occasions. The volunteer soldiers re-enact the Ceremony of the Keys, which dates back to the Great Siege of Gibraltar from 1779-1783.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick insight into the place that we’ve made our home. It’s barely scratched the surface of what goes on and the history of the place, I’m sure I’ll tell you much more about it in future. Thanks for stopping by!