A Monkey Afternoon in Gibraltar
I have to admit that when I first decided I had to go to Gibraltar, it was only and solely because of the monkeys. Man, how I wanted to see the monkeys. I wanted to see them so bad I was willing to drive (or have André drive me) all the way to Gibraltar, just to see them and potentially get my ear rings stolen. In hindsight, I think I was confusing them for nifflers, fearing that they´d go for any shiny thing I had on me. In reality they go for plastic bags, because they associate them with food. Since I had none on me, they left me alone, sticking to imitating my pose when taking pictures with them.
But back to the beginning. It´s a sunny Saturday when we set ourselves to leave for Gibraltar. We´re staying in Chiclana de la Frontera and are planning on doing a day trip to Gibraltar. We are met with skepticism from our Spanish hosts who insists we stop in various cities along the coast, probably in the hope we´ll be too late to get to our destination. We choose to stop in Bolonia, where we enjoy a bocadillo and a coffee by the beach before continuing our one hour drive to Gibraltar.
Once we arrive, we go straight for the cable car that is supposed to take us up the Gibraltar rock. The cable car is more expensive than we expected, with a price of £16 per round trip per adult or £29 per round trip + Nature Reserve. Next to the cable car building, mini buses advertise their own round trips for £30 . Despite my fear of heights, I chose the cable car and would do so again because the view on a sunny day is quite breathtaking. As you slide up the rock, the marina opens up beneath you offering a view that strongly reminded me of Rio´s Pão de Açúcar. We opted for a simple round trip after having the saleslady promise us that we needed not enter the nature reserve to see the monkeys, they hung around the cable car all the time.
It only takes a couple of steps after walking out of the cable car to see the monkeys. They´re chilling in the sun, picking flees from one another and eating them or just showing their fabulous red butts to everyone. While friendly is perhaps not the best word to describe them, they´re at least super relaxed and borderline apathetic. André won´t let me get too close in fear they´ll steal the ear rings and sunglasses I stubbornly kept on but by picture number 5 I´m already touching their furry feat and having them imitate my poses as you can clearly see. All in all - totally worth it!
We lunch at the Mons Calpe Suit, the restaurant on the top of the rock and enjoy the breathtaking view over the marina. The food is remarkably good and cheap given its location and the tinto de verano cold and delicious. We are mere km away from Spain, after all. In terms of food, I recommend the hummus and the edamame as well as the platter with salamis and cheese.
Our stay in Gibraltar did not last longer than an afternoon but if you love monkeys and beautiful views over gorgeous blue water marinas, I totally recommend spending half a day or even a day there. While I can´t say if the nature reserve is worth it, what I can say is that it´s supposed to ave about 290 more monkeys than I saw so if you can spare the money, do it. And while you´re going there, make sure you stop by a Spanish beach on the way, they´re wonderful.