Gibraltar city

Gibraltar City Tour

Almost every port has a bus tour of the city. In this case it is the whole country, but it can still be done in an afternoon. You will notice sometimes it is raining and sometimes it is sunny.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Keep your eye on the brass cannons to the left. They are an important part of the history.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

The city is a mix of old and new architecture.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Only part of the original walls remain. There is still a barracks and parade ground on the top of the rock, and a large WWII cannon.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

The bus tour began about 2:15 in the afternoon, shortly after we docked. It was raining. Our driver took us out to the southernmost part of land to see the lighthouse on Europa point. We took our pictures through the rain covered windows.

Gibraltar lighthouse thru a rainy bus window

Gibraltar lighthouse thru a rainy bus window

On the flat point of land near the lighthouse is a mosque.

It is the “Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, and it is the southernmost mosque in continental Europe, and is one of the largest mosques in a non-Muslim country”.
Click the link for more facts about the mosque.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim_Mosque

The driver asked if anyone wanted him to stop so they could get out and take pictures. No one was interested enough to get wet. The rain was running down the windows like sheets.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

As the bus drove around the mosque I found an opportunity to take a better picture.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

On the opposite side of the rock is an interesting array of holes that lead to tunnels within the rock. Behind the holes you can imagine cannons pointing out to sea.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

The bus tour of the country ended about 3:50 PM, under sunny skies, back at the cruise terminal dock.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar cruise ship dock.

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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Gibratar views

Views from Gibraltar

Gibraltar has a commanding view of Spain to the North and to the East, and to Africa in the South across the Mediterranean Sea.  The bay to the east is called the Bay of Gibraltar by the English speaking British. However the larger Spanish city across the bay is called Algeciras and they call it the Bahai de Algeciras, naturally.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar looks over at Algeciras, Andalucía, Spain

Algeciras is a city located in the province of Cádiz in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. It’s metropolitan population is over a quarter million. Compare that to Gibraltar’s population of almost 33,000.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar’s view of North Africa and Southern Spain

Above right is the southern tip of Spain. Above left is the northern part of the sovereign country, the Kingdom of Morocco, on the African continent.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar, looking south to Morocco.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

There is a cable car that takes passengers to the summit from the city. The buses however are a better way to see more of the sights.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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inside Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar is mainly limestone. It is dissolved by rainwater which creates large caverns in the center of the rock. Some of the dissolved limestone is left behind as the water evaporates and runs over the harder surfaces or drips onto the floor of the cave. This creates spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The forms are flowing, and have been for thousands of years. With the rain outside, it is a welcome place to take shelter.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The guides like to share a little verse to help remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. They say “the tights go down and the mites mound up”.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The addition of color lights emphasises the form and depth of the caves.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The colors change frequently,

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

and it is possible to over do it.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

In 1974 ancient paintings were found on the cave walls and dated to 15-20 thousand years ago. Recently a Neolithic bowl and two Neanderthal skulls were found in Gibraltar suggesting inhabitation since 40,000 BC.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Remember, without the lights, it will be extremely dark inside the caves.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Don’t lose track of the exit.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

– Where do you want to go today? –

http://www.gibraltar.com/sightseeing/st-michaels-cave-gibraltar.html

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Gibraltar

Gibraltar

There are a few misconceptions about Gibraltar. It is not the southernmost point of Spain nor is it the closest point between Europe and Africa where the Atlantic Ocean joins the Mediterranean Sea. And “Barbary Apes” are not apes but are a species of monkey called macaques.

The rock of Gibraltar

The rock of Gibraltar

In the map below, you will find three languages. Spanish at the top, Gibraltar is English, and Arabic at the bottom in northern Africa. I doubt that from the top of the rock it is possible to see the Atlantic Ocean, however, I do not know where in the Strait of Gibraltar the dividing line is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The dark blue lines on the maps are international borders.

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The picture above and below are screen captures from a “Galileo” GPS app on my iphone. I was on the cruise ship docked at the cruise ship terminal. It is indicated by the blue dot inside the white circle. (donut) The numbers at the top, 0.00 km/h and 27.0 m, are the speed I am travelling, and the elevation above sea level 27 meters. The numbers at the bottom are the latitude and longitude of the iphone when the screen capture was made.

The highest point of the rock is listed in Wikipedia as 36° 7′ 33″ N, 5° 20′ 35″ W. and 426 meters high.

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The Gibraltar airport is an interesting place. The best place to build an airport is on flat ground. In Gibraltar, the flattest ground was across the narrowest part of the isthmus but that was only about one kilometer wide. To make a long enough runway, they had to build out over the water by filling in the sea with rocks and sand.. It happens to be only 500 meters from the Spanish border. Another interesting point is that there is a road which crosses the middle of the runway. It is actually the highway that links Gibraltar with the rest of the mainland.  When an airplane is taking off or approaching for a landing, the highway is closed. Surprisingly, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic as well.

Pedestrian and bicycle path across Gibraltar airport

Pedestrian and bicycle path across Gibraltar airport

Border crossing into/out-of Gibraltar

Border crossing into/out-of Gibraltar

Border between Spain and Gibraltar

Border between Spain and Gibraltar

Border control  between Spain and Gibraltar

Border control between Spain and Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar Airport and ships on Meditteranean Sea

Gibraltar Airport and ships on Mediterranean Sea

 

In the satellite image from Google Earth the red line near the top is the international border.

Gibraltar airport

Gibraltar airport

The Spanish city of La Linea de la Concepcion is just the other side of the border control gates.

gibraltar2

 

Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar

Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar

The Barbary macaque population in Gibraltar is the only wild monkey population in the European continent. Although most populations in Africa are facing declining populations due to hunting and deforestation, the population of Barbary monkeys in Gibraltar is growing.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_macaques_in_Gibraltar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Gibraltar

 

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Cartagena 2

Romans in Cartagena

The people of Cartagena remember and celebrate their history. There are many museums and a few festivals to remind themselves and the world they have been inhabiting this site for over two millennia. At one time the Phoenicians, later the Romans.  Part of the earliest defence walls are still visible within  the museum.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Also on display are bones in a burial crypt below a 16th century hermitage.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

And look what is inside each little compartment.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Maybe I should have saved this post for Halloween.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

On a brighter note, the open air theatre has come to light.  Action on restoring the site began in 1998, not so long ago. Imagine when the Romans left, and the city was very poor. People would come to the theatre and take building material back to their own homes. Others lived in the center of the space. As the restoration began, artifacts of their lives were found. The neighbourhood was “cleaned up”.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

The smooth flat stones are part of the restoration to provide a safe walking surface and  to suggest how the theatre would have looked in its prime.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

 

 

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

http://www.teatroromanocartagena.org/publicas/el_teatro_romano/historia_de_un_hallazgo/_PH4bsPUExzDpr_RXGcMNnw
http://europeupclose.com/article/exploring-the-historic-sites-of-cartagena-spain/

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Cartagena Spain

The city of Cartagena Spain

An ancient port city that was Hannibal’s Spanish headquarters during the Carthaginians’ second Punic war with Rome. It is still the main Spanish Navy establishment. Located on the south eastern coast of Spain, the city is a dynamic mix of ancient history, Spanish culture, and modern living.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

When a cruise ship with over 3000 passengers and about 1000 crew docks in a port city of 230,000 there should be a blip on the economic scale.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

While we wait for our turn to go through the museum, we get a chance to look around the port area, or just loiter in front of the city hall. (also called the Calle Mayor and the Palacio Consistorial).

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

The enterance to the Museum of the Roman Theatre is just across the square from the city hall, so we wait on the steps of the city hall while our guide purchases the tickets.

After the tour of the ancient ruins we climb to the top of the hill to get a better view of the port and a tour of El Castillo de la Conception at the top.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

When we get to the top, we are watched by the peacocks who like the cooler breezes at the summit.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Looking down on the city the new open air theatre is clear on the left. Further down the hill and a little to the center is the old Roman Theatre. It was not until the new theatre was being built that the Ancient Roman ruins were discovered.

Cartagena Spain

The Royal Princess at dock in port of Cartagena Spain

– Where do you want to go today? –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartagena,_Spain  

 

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Inside Sagrada Familia

Inside Sagrada Familia

Being inside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain is like being inside a kaleidoscope of colors and curved shapes. It is bright considering it is cloudy and raining outside. It is immense and constructed like no other in the world to date.

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

Gaudi studied the form of nature for the unique structure and strength of the columns. They start out large at the base like a tree trunk and gradually get narrower as they reach for heaven. They branch out near the top to support the roof. A unique dual spiral in the columns adds strength and stability to the narrow columns without the need for walls to keep them upright. One spirals clockwise while the other spirals counter clockwise within the same column.

inside Sagrada Familia

Unique columns support the towers inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

Where the pillars meet the ceiling inside Sagrada Familia

 

looking up to ceiling inside Sagrada Familia

looking up to the ceiling inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

stairways inside Sagrada Familia

Light from the stained glass reflects from the light colored pillars. The colors are chosen to create a contemplative mood.

inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

The upper galleries are accessible from spiral staircases and elevators, tucked into the corners but still offering a full view of the worship space below.

inside Sagrada Familia

open elevators inside Sagrada Familia

Organ pipes inside Sagrada Familia

Organ pipes and altar  inside Sagrada Familia

inside Sagrada Familia

Crucifix above the altar inside Sagrada Familia

On one side the stained glass is green and blue representing dawn and birth. On the opposite side red and orange hues represent the setting sun.

inside Sagrada Familia

stain glass windows inside Sagrada Familia

– Where do you want to go today? –

http://www.barcelona.de/en/barcelona-sagrada-familia-interior.html

http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/

 

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Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia exterior

At the time of our visit, this modern work of art is still under construction, but nearing completion. The building permit was issued in 1885. Consecrated in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. It is on track to be completed soon, in 2026.

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

from Plaça de Gaudí, Exterior facade of Sagrada Familia

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Like many building projects of today, some things have not changed. Delays in construction have been caused by everything from protests to politics, civil wars to funding woes. Late term plans call for destruction of neighboring property to complete the final walkway.

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Like all good structures of renown, it has its own collection of artistic sculpture. Final details are expected to be completed up to ten years after the completion of the building.

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

When Gaudi was asked why it was taking so long, he is reported to have replied: “My boss (God) is in no hurry.”

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

Visitors are welcome since their entrance fees are helping the private contributors to pay for the construction.

Plaça de Gaudí Exterior

Plaça de Gaudí,  Sagrada Familia, Exterior

– Where do you want to go today? –

When will it be finished?   http://www.curbed.com/2016/10/20/13333648/sagrada-familia-gaudi-construction

Who will pay the taxes?   http://therealdeal.com/2016/10/22/barcelona-demands-building-permits-from-gaudis-la-sagrada-familia/

National Geographic says: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/151105-gaudi-sagrada-familia-barcelona-final-stage-construction/

 

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Barcelona 2

Barcelona 2

From our hotel in the north end of the Gothic Quarter, we were able to walk to the famous La Seu Cathedral of Barcelona. This is only one of several cathedrals in the quarter.

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La Seu Cathedral of Barcelona

beginning a morning walking tour in the rain

beginning a morning walking tour in the rain

when it is raining you do not need a fountain.

when it is raining you do not need a fountain.

Refugees Welcome - May 2016

Refugees Welcome – May 2016

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

On the way through some narrow streets we found the “happy pill” outlet, and our first glimpse of the spires of the cathedral.

 

did you get your happy pills?

did you get your happy pills?

down one of the narrow streets we were led to this popular landmark.

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This is the picture-postcard bridge over the Carrer del Bisbe (Bishop street) that connects the Palau de la Generalitat with the Casa dels Canonges. The tiny covered bridge was built in 1928 by the Modernista architect Joan Rubió. It was around this time that the term ‘Gothic Quarter’ was coined.

You have to be good neighbours to do this

You have to be good neighbours to do this

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Cloister of La Seu Cathedral

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1085.

13 Geese in the cloister

There are always thirteen geese in the courtyard of La Seu Cathedral. Each goose represents one year in the life of the martyr Santa Eulalia, a young girl allegedly tortured to death in the fourth century by the Romans for her religion. The cloister also contains a small museum with precious liturgical artifacts.

Next on our tour was a bus ride to the hill top to see an overview of the city.

Port view from on high

Port view from on high

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Port Vell

Public Dock on left

Public Dock on the right.

Morning fog

Morning fog

Landmarks in the photo above are the bullet shaped Torre Arbar, the 34 floor office building built by the water department. It is in the upper right. In the mist, just to the right of center is the spire of  La Seu Cathedral. In the upper left is Sagrada Familia.

Morning rain

Morning rain

Next stop will be the construction site of the Sagrada Familia. The cranes are still working, there are more spires to build.

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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Barcelona

Barcelona

There is so much to see in Barcelona. This is difficult, I have 125 pictures, 21 movie clips to select from. Decided to make three posts out of them.

Public Dock on left

Public wharf is on the right.

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

The bus ride from Carcassonne to Barcelona was a little long. The bus driver had to make a mandatory stop for a specific amount of time. GPS was watching and keeping track. The roadside stop was interesting. With the restrooms and food outlets on the opposite side of the highway, a pedestrian overpass was built to cross from the parking lot on one side to the kiosks on the other.

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

The economic king of the world,  overlooking the Pyrenees Mountains which separate France and Spain. While looking at the map last night I learnt of a small independant county in the mountains between the two countries. Look up  Principality of Andorra.

Friday was a beautiful day. It was nice to have free time after checking into the hotel to walk down to the wharf.

When you have the whole Mediteranian, you need a boat.

When you have the whole Mediterranean to sail, you need a boat.

Imagine this, all of the buildings below face onto one of the four streets that define a city block. Inside the city block is this courtyard with the hotel Indigo Barcelona on one side.

courtyard behind Indigo Barcelona Hotel

courtyard behind Indigo Barcelona Hotel

looking down from room onto courtyard.

looking down from room onto courtyard.

In the top right corner is a glass cubicle that enclosed the fitness equipment for the hotel. The pool is on a lower level.

Flamenco dance

Flamenco dance

After a farewell dinner at the wharf restaurant, we went to a club to watch authentic Spanish Flamenco Dancing. The dancer moves so fast to the live band that his motions are a blur.

Flamendo dance

Flamenco dance

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

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