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Cruise Diary: Gibraltar, British Territory

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ve just received these wonderful posts. We’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

Welcome to Gibraltar, British Territory! This is a very interesting place, and we have visited here several times in the past, by ship and by land. Composed of limestone, the Rock of Gibraltar rises abruptly from the sea on the east side and a bit more gradually on the west. Its maximum elevation is 1,396 feet and the rock is honeycombed with caves, St. Michael’s being the largest. It is easy to see why this “Rock” has been a fort and used to defend the entrance to the Mediterranean sea for centuries. Look at a map and see that actually Gibraltar is not sitting on the furthest out point into the sea, but sits a little back as you enter the Med Sea, so I am sure Spanish armies were surprised when entering the Med Sea thinking they were safe and then getting bombarded by surprise.

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As you might imagine, this was a biking day for us. I have included a map of Gibraltar so perhaps you can see where we went. Our ship was docked at the cruise terminal which is in the lower left corner of the map. We drove up the black line (road) all the way to the blue line road and went left in order to cross the airplane runway. It is really unique that the road runs through the middle of the runway so they have to stop all traffic when a plane is about to take off or land. We rode across the runway, to the border checkpoint with Spain, and back again, just for fun.

Map Scan 2

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After getting back onto Gibraltar, we turned left at the roundabout and followed the red line road around the back side (east side) of the Rock. We had never been back there before. There is a little village, a hotel, a beach, and a few houses along the waterfront. All the way over on the right side of the map at the top is a dotted red line – this is a very dark, bumpy road, no sidewalk, uphill, tunnel. Cars can drive through there but we decided it was not a good place for bikes!!! So, we turned around and went back the way we came. It was a lovely ride!!! The total miles for the day were 9 miles.

The front side of the Rock is where all the civilization is. The green part of the map is the mountain and goes straight up. That is where the tunnels are and where the apes live – up on the mountain. We have been up there in the past and it is very interesting. When we came back from the east side, we went through the Casemates Gates into the Casemates Square, which is a large open area surrounded by restaurants and shops. Then it leads into a very narrow walking street lined with shops. Kind of fun to just walk around there. We went down a side road and ended up back on the main road, back through the gates, and back to the ship.

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