Don’t Look Down – Douglas Path – Gibraltar
After five days of fun, food, and festivities, Louis has left us to go back to the real world. We still have another week in Granada, but we’re ready to mix things up a bit. We’ve rented a car for the next 30 days (which are also our last 30 days – yikes!) to do some road tripping in southern Spain and eventually into Portugal. We started out with a long day trip to Gibraltar.
Gibraltar is a strange place. It’s just a few square kilometers at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, and most of that space is a rock…a.k.a. the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s a British territory, and once you cross the border from Spain, it’s as if you’ve entered the U.K. – prices are in pounds, most people speak English with a British accent, and there are fish and chip shops and pubs everywhere. We parked our car and walked across the border with ease, and it instantly felt like we were in a British beach town.
We chose to go to Gibraltar mostly because we wanted to hike the rock and get some good views. There’s a cable car that goes to the top of one of the peaks…but why in the world would we do that when we could hike it? Plus, Spain has not been friendly to our waistlines, and we could use the exercise. We found a trail called the Mediterranean Steps that starts on the west side of the rock and winds around to one of the peaks at the east side. It was a much steeper hike than we guessed it would be (and the heat didn’t help), but the views were worth the climb. The northern part of Morocco is only 8 miles away, and we lucked out with a perfectly clear day, so we could see Africa from afar!
Reaching that peak was exhilarating, but there were two more to go. The next one required a bit of a climb up a trail called Douglas Path to an old decommissioned battery. This battery was right at the ridge, which meant we got some awesome views. The picture was taken on the east side of that peak, looking back towards Spain. It’s hard to see, but we were standing out on one of those ridges like what can be seen in the distance…just a few feet to the right was a couple hundred foot sheer dropoff into the sand dune below.
The third and final peak was…crowded. Gibraltar is a stop off for Mediterranean cruises, and this peak was full of people coming up the cable car with cruise ship badges. There’s a big group of macaques here that are quite cheeky – they jump on cars, steal bags, and fight with each other. They have their babies in the summertime, so many of them were carrying little monkeys around that were just a few weeks old. Kevin made the mistake of pulling an apple out of his bag partway through the walk down. A monkey noticed it from about 50 feet away and started running down the stairs that we were walking down. He gladly gave up the apple, but then another monkey took notice of that and followed us for a few minutes. He even tried to steal Kevin’s bag right off of his back a few times!