I Am A Rock / Soy Una Piedra

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I went on a tour bus Tuesday to the British territory of Gibraltar with friends Judy and Joan. It’s an hour and a half bus ride. They had scheduled a minibus tour up “the rock,” but I said I wasn’t going up in any old-fart minibus; I was going up in the cable car. We parted ways when we arrived in Gibraltar. They headed for their mini-bus and I began my 10-minute walk through town to the cable car base station. The cable car was closed for repairs!

I decided to climb the rock. I even passed a group of 20-somethings who couldn’t keep up with me. I got two-thirds of the way up without a problem (except for some perspiration), when I realized I wouldn’t have enough time to see all I wanted to see, so I started down another way, with a planned stop to visit one of the hangouts of the local Barbary Macaques, a wild population living mostly on the upper Rock — although they sometimes wander into town (and into homes with unlocked doors or open windows).

No one knows for certain when or how the macaques arrived from Morocco, although theories abound. One ludicrous story is that they came by way of a 24km (15-mile) tunnel under the Straight of Gibraltar from Morocco. Anyway, I connected with Judy and Joan’s minibus and I hitched a ride back down for lunch and to then wander the town on my own.

El martes fui en un autobús turístico al territorio británico de Gibraltar con mis amigas Judy y Joan. Es una hora y media en autobús. Habían programado una excursión en minibús por “la roca”, pero dije que no iba a subir en ningún minibús viejo; Yo estaba subiendo en el teleférico. Nos separamos cuando llegamos a Gibraltar. Se dirigieron a su minibús y comencé mi caminata de 10 minutos por la ciudad hasta la estación base del teleférico. El teleférico fue cerrado por reparaciones!

Entonces, decidí subir La Roca. Incluso pasé a un grupo de veinteañeros que no pudieron seguir conmigo. Llegué a las dos terceras partes del camino sin problemas (a excepción de algo de transpiración), cuando me di cuenta de que no tendría tiempo suficiente para ver todo lo que quería ver, así que empecé a tomar otro camino, con una parada planeada para visitar uno de los lugares de reunión de los macacos de Berbería locales, una población salvaje que vive principalmente en la parte superior de la roca, aunque a veces vagan por la ciudad (y en casas con puertas abiertas o ventanas abiertas).

Nadie sabe con certeza cuándo o cómo llegaron los macacos de Marruecos, aunque abundan las teorías. Una historia ridícula es que llegaron a través de un túnel de 24 km (15 millas) debajo del Estrecho de Gibraltar desde Marruecos. De todos modos, me conecté con el minibús de Judy y Joan y me subí a almorzar para luego pasear por la ciudad por mi cuenta.

Tangier, Morocco, distant left. Algeciras, Spain, right. / Tánger, Marruecos, a la izquierda. Algeciras, España, a la derecha.
I reached beyond the next tree line before heading back down. / Llegué más allá de la siguiente línea de árboles antes de volver a bajar.
“Didn’t I just see you … / “¿No te acabo de ver …
… way up there? / … hasta allá arriba?

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “I Am A Rock / Soy Una Piedra”

    1. anne marie:
      The macaques are beautiful and very intelligent. And they can be aggressive. You’re warned to not touch them, not feed them, not carry bags of food, and not open bags or purses around them. They’ll reach right in. Of course, idiot visitors feed them, touch them, etc. And they get bitten!

  1. Nice! This is my preferred mode of long distance travel, via pictures. I have to apologize for Anne Marie’s mistaking your fierceness for the macaque 🙂 Of course, she may have used the word fierce differently from me.

      1. Deedles:
        My 7th grade English teacher played the song as an example of poetry. In the middle of it, I sang out, “I am a Block. I am a Mi-i-i-tchell!” One red-haired girl in the class thought it was hilarious. Apparently, she had a crush on me. We dated about 10 years later.

    1. Deedles:
      Yeah, I am always told I’m fierce (huh?). I love that you travel with me, even if it’s only cyber travel!

  2. We spent a day in Gibraltar on our cruise and did a tour of the 2nd World War town that was built inside the rock to protect the Straits would have been great to see the 17th century siege tunnels but like you we ran out of time. The town itself is rather lovely and we did make a vow that we’d go back. Love the airport with the highway to Spain running through the runway.

    And those bloody monkeys – wouldn’t let them get near me.

    1. Willym:
      I would love to spend an entire day on the rock, exploring ever nook. So much history. I love the monkeys, but keep a very respectful distance.

  3. A spectacular looking location for this tiny town! Boy, you got a walk in that day!
    the Macaques look like they run the place.

    1. Jim:
      I’m still gloating about my hike! The macaques are beautiful. I keep my distance. Wish all the visitors would. They DO bite when annoyed.

    1. Adam:
      It’s been a bone of contention for Spain for ages. The dispute has settled for now, since we got a new president. It’s very strange to step into Great Britain like that. But it’s been so British for so long that I don’t know how it could change now. Anyway, Spain has two Spanish enclaves in North Africa. So, as far as I’m concerned there’s not much of an argument.

    1. Wilma:
      The Rock itself is amazing, beautiful, and has so much history. I could go back again tomorrow. The city itself is interesting for a day I think, but the major draw is the duty free shopping. One perfume, liquor, jewelry, tobacco shop after another.

  4. We visited Gibraltar a few years ago and took a tour inside the rock, it turns out that the rock material is very soft and numerous large tunnel corridors have been dug out. Canada has a history with the rock, during WWII Canadian soldiers stationed there dug some more tunnels and a field hospital was set up etc, they left signs showing that they were present. Those monkeys can be very aggressive and I wonder if they tried to get your camera. Gibraltar is an interesting place, we enjoyed our visit.

    1. Laurent:
      I would love to spend a day on the Rock exploring all the history and natural beauty. As for the city itself, I would like to visit the museum and some of the historic sites, but the rest of it isn’t of much interest to me unless I’m in the mood to shop. I keep a respectful distance from the monkeys (and use the zoom). So many other people were careless and didn’t listen. This time at least I didn’t see anyone feeding them, but I did see people poses for pictures while petting them. Fortunately, the monkeys just moved away. The other time I was there (in the middle of a business trip), my client fed one and had it on his shoulder (I told him to not do either) and, as a result, he received a hard bite on his neck. It didn’t break the skin, but did break blood vessels. Idiots!

    1. Debra:
      Next time I’ll go all the way to the top. A couple of amazing foot bridges and breathtaking vistas.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Good timing, huh, having just gotten public health in addition to our private insurance!

    1. David:
      The city itself is worth perhaps ONE visit. The Rock is breathtaking and there’s so much fascinating history. Just keep a respectful distance from the monkeys.

  5. We visited Gibraltar 15 years ago. A woman came out of the snack shop at the top and one of the beasts climbed on her back and reached down her arm to grab her candy bar. She promptly threw it toward her tour guide who let it drop on the ground and the monkey claimed it’s prize off the ground. She was annoyed the guide didn’t catch it for her. This despite the signs everyone to not leave food anywhere it could be pilfered from.

    1. Mike:
      Oh the ignorance. The first time I was there (during business travel) my client fed a monkey and encouraged him to sit on his shoulder. The monkey bit him on the neck, didn’t break the skin, but did break blood vessels, causing swelling and pain for days. He go no sympathy from me. This time, I watched tourists pose for photos while petting the monkeys. No one was bitten that day, but they sure deserved to be.

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