Karl was losing his shit with excitement about seeing the rock of Gibraltar. I assumed it was some weird manly love of all things to do with war, until I saw this sign. I assumed the place would be more focused on promoting its global relevance or heritage, but it looks like they are trying to reinvent their identity or demonstrate recent achievements beyond the great sieges of the 17th century. I didn't want to be a fun wrecker and point out that Miss World has been succeeded five times since this women took the crown.
Gibraltar is still owned by the British. And it has all the hallmark signs to prove it, condensed into approximately 6.8km2; pure British bloodlines, thick accents, phone boxes, double decker buses, tanning oil by the gallon, and use of the pound. Their menus consist of fish and chips, English fry up, "snake bites" and Fosters. They are patriotically holding this piece of land with a fully edged British spirit. The only thing Spanish was the insanity of the roads.
For some reason, Matisse tried to jump into the arms of our English waiter. I can only assume she was mistaking him for Luke. The cook man told us to lap up the young months with Matisse before she gets older and more evil. He then proceeded to tell us how his wife has given birth to the antichrist, his son, and that he has stopped using his name in place of 'satan.' All charm. Karl ordered the English breakfast, but didn't eat his sausages. Then we hit the upper rock for a dose of history and incredible views.
First stop on the self guided tour were the St Michael caves. These have been converted into an auditorium. Not wanting the sound system to go to waste, they pumped us with tunes the whole time we were in there. Pop, classical, techno.. Something for everyone, except me. Here's a taste... Get ready to hit the mute button.
I needed a refreshing beverage after the ear assault so we went to the den. This sign on the fridge was more encouragement than deterrent, but I maturely resisted the temptation.
We went for a walk up the mountain to a museum and viewpoint. When I say 'up the mountain' I mean weaving back and forth across the rock, on a 45 degree angle, bearing the full heat of the June sun. We also had to beware of the apes that were lurking in the bushes waiting to pounce on us and thieve. It was intense. If we were meant to be getting a taste of the Gibraltar life in the 17th century, it happened. Only the enemies were monkeys and not soldiers. In all fairness, Karl and I conquered the rock with a pram, so I don't see why the great siege lasted three years, to no avail.
Conveniently, when we got to the top, the museum was closed. So we traipsed sideways across the peak, leisurely taking in the magnificent views, and getting some pictures. We wanted something for the sunstroke.
The next stop was the great siege tunnels. There was a plaque proudly thanking the Brits for their commemorative displays and exhibition of this heritage site. The tunnels were impressive, but not as much as the figurines, sensor triggered abuse that boomed out from the watch points, cannons and other memorabilia. Sadly, my video footage of the abuse didn't work out.
I couldn't help but want to tell the soldiers about the cave system just below them that they could tap into, but again, I didn't want to be a fun wrecker.
We got some dinner before leaving this microcosm of Britain. We chose Lord Nelsons, which was armed with five televisions and a rugby match in full swing complete with loud barracking poms. Karl turns into a zombie when the rugby is on, so I expected to lose my husband for an hour. Strangely, he chose a table in the corner, then made the point, three separate times, that he had chosen a good table where he wouldn't become consumed by the TV. I let him think that I was honoured that he put us before a rugby game of two English teams he admitted he had never heard of, but I was fully aware he sat opposite this mirror, which had a complete view of the TV. Oh lord... Nelsons...