To our surprise, the Captain announced that we wouldn’t be sailing into Funchal, Portugal because a national strike was expected. So instead of a sea day, we were heading to Gibraltar, which is part of the UK. That sounded like a good exchange to us, as we didn’t have anything planned for Funchal anyway. Jeff was pretty happy because Gibraltar is known for its semi-wild Barbary apes, and he was already plotting ways to get more bananas to take off the ship!
Here is Gibraltar on the map. The Rock of Gibraltar is something to see, towering 1400 feet above the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow passage of water that separates Europe from Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea. The population is a mix of Portuguese, Italian, Maltese, Spanish and English. The official language is English, but Spanish is also widely spoken.
Our first stop was the Pillars of Hercules monument. The fable is that Hercules separated Africa from Europe, and the pillars represent the Rock of Gibraltar and a corresponding peak in North Africa.
The first tunnel began in 1782 and allowed the defenders to ward off the Spanish forces. Following this, over 48 kilometres of tunnel were driven inside the Rock.
It pays to have bananas! Please, mister!