March 2017. A visit to the British overseas territory of Gibraltar offers up much for first time visitors. The town itself provides a charming taste of olde-worlde Blighty with traditional pubs, a historical cemetery and tranquil Botanic Gardens. But let’s face it; the real attraction is Gibraltar Rock, one of the most spectacular landforms in Southern Europe. I spent the better part of my two day visit hiking around The Upper Rock Nature Reserve, taking in its plentiful sights. This shot was taken on a trail that runs along the western slope, about eight hundred and ten feet above sea level. Apart from the amazing views over town and Gibraltar Strait, you’ll also pass a number of abandoned military installations and a cave battery. There’s a beautiful selection of flora and fauna along the way and if you’re lucky you might catch sight of a wild goat or a swooping kestrel.
March 2017. Eventually The Royal Anglian Way gains access to the rock’s famous Ape’s Den, a feeding station for the local Barbary macaques. Gibraltar is home to the only existing wild monkey population in the European continent and you’ll see signs all over town and around the rock warning you not to feed them! They have a reputation for being troublesome little creatures, though the family I came across lazing around on the walls seemed docile enough and I was able to get really close to them.
March 2017. Gibraltar’s first ever suspension bridge was added to the reserve in the summer of 2016. Located between two batteries over a fifty-meter gorge, this seventy one meter long bridge does wobble a bit as you make your way across and is part of the rock’s Thrill Seekers Trail.
March 2017. The rock’s Moorish castle dates back to the 11th century and was originally part of an enormous castle that stretched all the way down to Casemates Square in the old town. Its dirty-grey homage tower can be seen all over town and is dramatically lit up at night. The tower’s resident British flag has apparently been ever-present since Admiral Rooke captured the rock in 1704.
March 2017. At the start of World War II the citizens of Gibraltar were evacuated and an underground tunnel system created within the rock. This quickly expanded into what was essentially an underground city capable of housing the entire 16,000-strong garrison. The caves have had some famous visitors over the years, including Churchill, De Gaulle, Eisenhower and poor old Polish Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski, who died after his visit in 1943 when his plane crashed into the sea sixteen seconds after takeoff from Gibraltar Airport. Today you can tour the caves for ten pounds.
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