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Ape wants a cuddle
Jane's cousin Anne and her husband Jay took a day out of their travel time in Portugal and Spain to cross the border into Gibraltar.  It seemed so easy for them to rent a car in Marbella, where they are staying, and drive the short distance to Gib.  What none of us knew then was how long the queue would be to cross the frontier.  After over an hour in a long line of traffic, the bored border guards on both sides finally waved them through (and us the following day, as we in turn rented a car).  We had not seen Anne in 10 years and had never met her husband Jay, so we had lots to talk about.  We had coffee and cookies on the boat while we talked non-stop, showed them our home, and made plans for the day. 

We started out to walk to the cable car, then walk at the top of the rock and see as much as we could.  Along the way, we met a mini-bus tour tout and changed our minds.  It is alot bigger and steeper up there than it looks, and if you take the cable car you have about 3 hours of walking and it actually ends up costing about 1 pound more once you buy entrances to the sites.  So with 4 people from the south of England, we went to Europa point, into St. Michael's cave which was converted into a hospital in case of invasion in WWII and is now used for concerts, saw lots and lots of the famous Barbary Apes of Gibraltar, and went into the siege tunnels started for the great siege of 1779 and enlarged for WWII.  The apes are not actually apes at all, but a type of macaque monkey with no tails.  The myth is that Gibraltar will remain British as long as the apes inhabit the rock.  They are now fed daily with healthy carrots and fruits, and their population even has to be controlled with some form of birth control so their family groups don't get too large and cause fights.

We topped off our touring with an hour in the Gibraltar museum.  Then it was back to Cormorant for drinks and more talk before an early Indian meal.  Anne and Jay needed to get back before dark so they could rest for their planned day at the Alhambra in Granada on Thursday.  Here are more Gibraltar photos:

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The "new" bridge at Ronda, 1752
We decided to rent a car for a few days so we could get our propane gas cylinder filled and do some exploring.  A friend told us to google "cheap cars", so on a site called traveljigsaw we got a car for 4 days for a total cost of 51 euro.  Amazing.  We reserved the smallest car offered but the one we got was the Peugot 308 diesel--really nice.

We got stuck for over an hour on Thursday morning trying to get back to the boat to pick up the gas cylinder after getting the car on the Spanish side of the border.  Then we got lost in La Linea, but finally we got to Estepona where the man is who will refill American tanks.  All the European fittings are different, so getting propane is something of a mission anywhere in the Med.  Our man had to go for his 2 hour Spanish lunch before we could get there, so we also had a 2 hour lunch while we waited!  At about 5:30 we started up into the Sierra mountains to the historic city of Ronda, and we were glad we had been delayed so long on the coast.  The road was twisty and steep, but all the day tourist traffic was over so it was a stunning drive.

The town was built at the top of a mountain split by a deep river gorge.  The first bridge across the gorge was built in the time of the Moors, about 800 or so, to link the old town and the new town.  Then in the 17th century another bridge was built higher up, but it is now called the "old" bridge because of its replacement, here seen out the window of our hotel.  The other important thing about Ronda is that it is the site of the first purpose built bull ring in the world.  The first fight in it took place in 1785, and it is still in use.  We had no interest in seeing a bullfight, but the building and the museum and the stables and bull pens were fascinating.  Hill towns are in every European country it seems, and all a

Jayne
10/1/2011 01:54:08 pm

As always, fabulous fotos! Can't wait to follow in your very admired footsteps...xo

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Renee Spratt
10/3/2011 09:47:42 am

Great pictures! Love reading about all of your travels!

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Dorothy & Peter
10/6/2011 10:47:07 am

Lovely pictures as always,Gib has change since Peter was there in 1974.Coming to an end with my sister's holiday, have had a wonderful time together.

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