Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3/6/14 Day 49 Gibraltar Rock

Today we get to see Gibraltar's most famous residents! The monkeys! There is a local population of Barbary Macaque monkeys that lives towards the top of the rock. They were brought originally by the  Moors but have always been loved by the British who took over Gibraltar after. In theory the population of around 300 could sustain itself at the top of the rock, but they get fed daily by the government anyways to keep them from wandering down into the city and creating havoc. We spent a few hours hiking up, zigzagging up stairs and through trails. Taking the hard way was not only more fun than a tourist van or the cable car that goes up to the top but we also managed to unintentionally (but gladly) take a trail that didn't pass through the gate where the steep 10 pound fee for heading to the top of the rock is processed. 
After a very long uphill climb we caught a glimpse of the first monkeys of the day, nervously we stepped around them atop the stairs. 
 These monkeys are very accustomed to humans as hundreds of tourists go up to see them daily, on top of that they are accustomed to our food. Surely they are fed everything from candy to beer and if they hear crinkling noises of paper or plastic they may aggressively seek out the food in strollers, backpacks and pockets, which is why there is a minimum 500 pound fine for feeding them. I however couldn't resist and fed one of the babies a flower!
You know when you are trying to take a selfie and a monkey insists on sitting right in the frame, it happens.
We spent a few hours watching and laughing at the monkeys before continuing back down the Rock on the Mediterranean Steps trail which takes about 2 hours of concrete steps when ascending, luckily we were heading down. Such a beautiful day and our first glimpses of the Mediterranean ocean where we will be spending the next 6 weeks, happy about the sunshine!

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