GIBRALTAR

GIBRALTAR

From the morning mist just off the southern shore of Spain emerges the Rock of Gibraltar. Bastion of empire and Jerusalem of Anglophilia, this rocky peninsula is among history’s most contested plots of land. Ancient seafarers called Gib one of the Pillars of Hercules, believing it marked the end of the world. After numerous squabbles between Moors, Spaniards, and Turks, the English successfully stormed Gibraltar in 1704 and have remained in possession ever since.

PHONE CODE 350 from the UK or the US; 9567 from Spain.

TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION. Buses arrive in the Spanish border town of La Linea from: Algeciras (40min. every 30min. ‚1.60); Cadiz (3hr. 4 per day, ‚10); and Granada (5hr. 2 per day, ‚17). From the bus station, walk directly toward the Rock; the border is 5min. away. Once through Spanish customs and Gibraltar’s passport control, catch bus #9 or 10 or walk across the airport tarmac into town (20min.). Stay left on Av. Winston Churchill when the road forks at Corral Lane; Gibraltar’s Main Street, a commercial strip lined with most services, begins at the far end of a square, past the Burger King on the left.

The tourist office, Duke of Kent House, Cathedral Sq. is across the park from the Gibraltar Museum, (a 450 00; tourism@gibraltar.gi. Open M-F 9am-5:30pm.) Although euros are accepted almost everywhere (except pay phones and public establishments), the pound sterling ( ) is preferred. Merchants sometimes charge a higher price in euros than in the pound’s exchange equivalent. Change is often given in English currency rather than euros. As of press date, 1 ‚1.45.

About halfway up the Rock is the infamous Apes’ Den, where barbary monkeys cavort on the sides of rocks, the tops of taxis, and the heads of tourists. At the northern tip of the Rock facing Spain are the Great Siege Tunnels. Originally used to fend off a combined Franco-Spanish siege at the end of the American Revolution, the underground tunnels were later expanded during WWII to span 33 miles. The eerie chambers of St. Michael’s Cave, located 0.5km from the siege tunnels, were cut into the rock by thousands of years of water erosion. (Cable car to above sights every lOmin. daily 9:30am-5:15pm. Combined admittance ticket, including one-way cable car ride, Jt7.50‚ 12.50.)

ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD. Gibraltar is best seen as a daytrip. The few accommodations in the area are often full, especially in the summer, and camping is illegal. Emile Youth Hostel Gibraltar , Montague Bastian, behind Casemates Sq. has bunk beds in cheerfully painted rooms with clean communal bathrooms. (511 06. Breakfast included. Lock-out 10:30am-4:30pm. Dorms and singles 15‚25; doubles &30C50.) International restaurants are easy to find, but you may choke on the prices. The Viceroy of India serves both vegetarian and meat dishes. (Entrees 4-10. Open M-F noon-3pm and 7-llpm, Sa 7-llpm. MCV.) For groceries, try the Checkout supermarket on Main St. next to Marks & Spencer. (Open M-F 8:30am-8pm, Sa 10am-6pm, Su lam-3pm. MCV.)

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