The Rock

Our last full day on the ship started in Gibraltar, a slip of land at the very south of Spain, just across the straits from Morocco, which actually belongs to Britain. It feels very British on the peninsula with the traditional red telephone boxes, London-style litter bins and even little bobble-heads of the queen in the souvenir shops.

We happened on a mental health rally, complete with drum corps in kilts and a spin class set up right in the middle of the town square.

With only an hour or so left before the ship sailed, we negotiated an abbreviated tour with one of the local taxi tour drivers. Of my own free will I went into the St. Michael’s caves (client has a photo as proof) and we rode over the top of The Rock to see the view and, of course, the monkeys. There are 202 monkeys currently; the government of Gibraltar keeps track of them via tattoos, feeds them and protects them. The monkeys certainly understand their special status, calmly posing for photos, catching rides atop taxis and attempting to hijack purses and photo bags.

Our tour driver had to wing his way down the rock and through traffic, but we made it back to the ship in one pieces – and just 5 minutes late. They pulled up the gangplank behind us!

Have you ever had a whirlwind tour?

66 thoughts on “The Rock”

  1. i remember being on the west coast of ireland in a rent a car with my wife who was ailing from a bad stomach and asked me to go and check out the area i was being wowed by on my own. i begged a little for her to join me but her mind was made up. i left the car in the parking lot and wandered off into the wonderful rugged rock formations and amazing pathways left to wanderers like me to discover
    i was wowed by all the was around me but….each location i was soaking up had a more amazing view just beyond the view at hand and i had to continue first to the right then to the left down the rock wall around the waterfall through the hedge and overlooking the waves crashing in in the rocks below… and look just beyond the spot where the visible path disappears into the rocks in the distance another wonder….i don’t wear a watch but i knew i was going to in for it when i got back. she is in the car with s stomach ache and i am photographing a site i will. treasure the memories of forever. the light was perfect the weather was perfect i was alone in paradise and feeling rushed to soak up the incredible surroundings. euphoria… now hurry up and get back
    she was upset she got over it , she was always upset, i had a wonderful hour and a half. i was the tour guide and i did good

    Liked by 4 people

  2. i think i told the story before if my trip as a 17 year old hippy with my folks to tormilenous a suburb of malaga with a tour group. it was wonderful but the day of the big tour to morocco in the ship the tour guide told my family i would not be allowed to go
    hippies were too suspicious and the border patrol would surely delay the group and likely refuse entry
    . so i jumped in the rent a car and went out to see the sites. i picked up a couple hitch hikers one spoke no english so i picked up another who spoke english german and italian and we were able to have a good discussion they were trying to get to madagascar and i drove them there, we stopped for lunch and realized none of us spoke spanish so we found a waiter who spoke some german and ordered a spanish omlette( potato and onion) and a fruit plate (an apple on a plate)
    how far is that vs? i’m thinking a couple hours. then i headed back
    i needed gas and self service in spain was not the fashion at the time. i wanted the gas station attendant to check the oil (can you imagine a kid hippy who doesn’t speak spanish expecting the guy to check the oil) i was trying to figure out how ask… el oil?le negro liquado? i finally got out and opened the hood and pulled out the dipstick… ahhhh el oleo he said and we laughed and slapped each other on the back
    i was in no hurry to get back to the pool at the hotel so i drove the back roads through all the little towns on the hills around my path
    i had a wonderful day again with my favorite tour guide.. me

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Surely, something got lost in translation on this one, tim. You drove from a suburb of Malaga to Madagascar, and it only took a few hours? How fast were you going?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. alright
          gibraltar madagaskar,,, both muti-sylabic locations. its an easy mistake for us globetrotters
          i had a friend form madagaskar and i didnt think it was near spain as i was typing yesterday. but i dont sweat the small stuff


  3. Rise and Whirl Away Dervish Baboons!

    Recently my life feels like a whirlwind tour. I am wrapping up my time in the St. Paul practice I started and sold, and transitioning to the office in Savage. I am confidant this is a good decision as each day whirls by. But each day seems to have more to do than is possible. One more week and it is done.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A less-than-24 hour layover in Paris. We walked for about 8 of those hours, seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, Notre Dame, looking at the outside of the Louvre (didn’t feel we’d do it justice with a 30-minute tour), the Champs Elysee, and Tuileries.

    Dinner was at 10:00 in an intimate upstairs bistro with typically outstanding cuisine and a sympathetic waiter who took pity on my feeble attempts to speak French and conversed with us in English.

    He became an obstinate Parisian snob, however, when the quintessential “Ugly American” couple showed up 30 minutes later with their personal translator and began demanding this and that, treating the staff like slaves, and insisting that they all speak English. Our waiter simply said he didn’t speak English, so all communications took place via the poor, unfortunate translator/personal guide who would exchange sympathetic but disgusted glances with the waiter regarding her employers.

    Then the waiter would return to our table and ask in perfect English, “Is there anything else I can get you? Would you care to see a dessert menu? I highly recommend the chocolate mousse.” Etc., etc., etc.

    That meal was probably the highlight of our brief visit to Paris.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 6 people

    1. i forgot about paris
      i did a whirlwind tour of europe with my daughter on a eurail pass when she graduated from travel abroad over in florence. in buying the ticket i was asked if i wanted a 1 hour layover or a 4 hour 5 hour 10 hour layover at the cdg airport. i culdnt imagine why they would ask such a silly question. i looked it up and found out cdg was charles de galle in paris and i quickly opted for the 10 hour layover. got off the plane which was nearly empty and took along a friend who thought it sounded like a great idea to go tour the city for a day. we got to the catherdral at notre dam about 8 am had coffee and croissant at a place right out of your minds eye looking across at the catherdral. walked over to the champs-elysées then the louve it started to rain and we headed on foot to the eifell tower. the rain scared everyone else off and by the time we got there the line had disappeared and we headed up to the top unimpeded. i got to feeling like it was time to go but we jumped a wrong train and ended up in some burb that was a non paris type of feel. we got back on track and i got to the airport with about 10 minutes to spare. got to florence at 10pm and did the crash and burn for a few hours and had a day to recover before we headed off to the cities youve heard of via train. finding hotels and b &b’s venice vienna budapest prauge innsbruk milan and lake como along the way. great whirlwind trip

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I cannot recall a whirlwind tour….other than speedreading roadside historical markers when husband was willing to stop.

    I had my first birthday at the Rock of Gibraltar…no memories other the from slides my Dad took.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It feels like our trip to Tacoma has been a whirlwind, and now we are heading back. Daughter’s digs are just about put together and she has jumped into her work.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I can remember giving a whirlwind tour: 1998 was the summer when we were reunited with Michael’s son Mario, and he was 21. First we took him around to all of Michael’s Twin Cities sibling (that we were in contact with) – they had met him as an infant. Then there was a road trip to meet Michael’s youngest sister in Mankato and her son. Then over to Winona to meet our closest friends there. Later that summer we shipped him back for the Sweet Lake Family Gathering (Upper Eau Claire chain of lakes, NW Wisc.), from which there are some great photos. And we took him to his first ever Minn. State Fair. I did my Train Trip that summer too, so he met my sister and nephew in Berkeley when I stopped there. Not all in the same week or two, but when I think about it, he met an awful lot of people in a short space of time.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Sort of on topic, as the name of the post is The Rock….someone broke into the flower shop at which I work, yesterday in the wee hours of the morning. They threw a rock through a display window. Not much was taken, probably less than $15 from a cash register drawer that only had a little change in it. The window will cost quite a bit to replace, though.

    I have the rock, which may have been purloined from someone’s landscaping. It’s quite a nice looking rock. If I knew where it had come from, I would return it.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I am assuming the person who had the rock originally was also a victim of a crime. I picture some middle-aged gardener looking at a bare spot and wondering “Who would steal a decorative stone from a garden?” So, no, I would not hurl the stone through a window. I’d just want to return it to its decorative function.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Over the years, a lot of rocks have been picked up in the fields and unceremoniously dumped in a ditch.
          Mostly limestone. A few smaller chunks of something. ‘Just rocks’.
          But once in a while I find way down in the ditch a bigger chunk of maybe granite. Definitely not limestone anyway.
          The last several years Kelly and I have ‘rescued’ these rocks to use as landscaping or decoration.
          And every time I get a rock back out of the ditch I think the rock is happy to be ‘back home’ so-to-speak. I mean they’re not just being ignored and forgotten about; they have a purpose and they’re ‘out’. And I like to think they’re happy about that.
          Course the rocks in the fields… they still get picked up and dumped.
          Kind of a paradox there… hmmm….

          Liked by 1 person


          walls in ireland are a matter of getting the damn rocks out of the damn fields. where else would you put them if not in a wall? the craftsmanship is a variable. some are piles of rocks some are intricate puzzles of art matching the given material to make a thing of beauty. not sure if its the distance form the pub that determines the free form design result but i suspect it has something to do with it

          Liked by 2 people

    1. as a state of the state it is a sad commentary
      you wish you could return the rock used to vandalize and here it is on the trail as a message of the different cultures we coexist in out there


  9. On a trip to Paris, we only had about 45 minutes for the Llouvre. Our tour guide, a teeny French woman whipped us in, hurried us to the Winged Victory, then the Mona Lisa and then the Venus de Milo and then the Virgin on the Rocks. Then we were out. 30 minutes!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Back when I still lived in Denmark, a general perception of the American tourist was a person on a two week tour of thirteen countries. This is day nine, so this must be Denmark, that sort of thing.

      In fairness, since I’ve moved to the US, I’ve come to appreciate that many Europeans try to see everything from Niagara Falls, to the Grand Canyon, Disney Land, Yellowstone National Park, New Orleans, and the Everglades in the same amount of time.

      Neither is my idea of how to see the world, and consequent;y there is still a very large part of it I haven’t seen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i always feel sorry for the europeans who see nyc , la and maimi and think they have seen america.
        i try to make a point of seeing local food where ever i go. it puts you in touch with the culture

        Liked by 1 person

  10. The five days we had in Paris two years ago were a blur of museums and churches, taking Metro and Batobus to landmarks, or walking to cafes and markets and boulangeries. I know there were many things I wanted to see and didn’t (we did, like Chris, see the Louvre from the outside), but I when I look at my journal, we did an incredible amount…


  11. I can transport you to any place you want. Money is no object, but you only have two hours. Where do you want to go?


  12. OT – This may be shooting myself in the foot, but since I know we have a bunch of book lovers on the trail who live in the Twin Cities area, I thought I’d pass on this on. No doubt this will sell out very, very quickly, so if you intend to go, be on your toes.

    Common Good Books is hosting David Sedaris for a reading and signing of his new book Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 on Saturday, June 17th at 3:00pm. Tickets will be required for the reading portion, but everyone – ticket or not – will be able to meet him and get a book signed. Sedaris will be joined by New Yorker writer Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply.

    The reading portion is a ticketed event. Tickets are $28.00 + tax and include one copy of David Sedaris’ new book, Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).
    Tickets are available Friday, May 19th at 9:00am. Here’s the link to purchase them:
    We expect this to sell out very quickly. We have limited space in the store.
    Tickets are only available online via Brown Paper Tickets. They are not available in-store. Phone orders will not be accepted. Ticket admits one.
    Mr. Sedaris will sign all his titles, but he will only sign books.
    All ticket holders will be given a book ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT.
    Absolutely no photography, recording, or video for the entire reading or signing.
    Don’t despair if you don’t get a ticket for the reading portion! Every person who would like to meet David Sedaris and have him sign books will be given the opportunity after the reading during the free portion of the event.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I have an organizational meeting this morning–want to drive me there? It is an organization I started a year ago that seems to have traction. I HATE MEETINGS! And I did it to myself.

    2 hours? From Eden Prairie. I guess that means Mankato or Rochester. Can’t even get to Duluth in 2 hours, which is the only one I would want to go to. I think I will stay home!


      1. One of these:
        1. The benefit performance of “The Rivals” for Charles Couldock at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in May of 1895.
        2. Edwin Booth in a performance of Hamlet at the Winter Garden in early 1864, one of his 100 nights of Hamlet.
        3. Pfaff’s Cellar at 647 Broadway, NYC in mid-1859.
        4. Concord, Massachussetts at about the same time (mid-1859)
        5. Artemus Ward at Platt’s Music Hall in San Francisco, November 1863

        Liked by 4 people

  14. OT I had dinner yesterday at a hamburger joint with my daughter and grandson. It pays to listen carefully when my seven-year-old grandson speaks.

    Out of the blue, Liam asked, “I was so much trouble for you as a baby. Was it worth it?”

    “Oh, Liam ! You were an easy baby!”

    “No, I gave you a lot of trouble. Did it hurt? Did you cry?”

    “Do you mean the Cesarian? That was no trouble at all. They give the mom some drugs so there is no pain.”

    “Yeah, that. In the end, was it worth it?”

    “Oh, Liam! In the end I had you and I was the luckiest mom on earth!”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’d like to save my travel opportunity for a very cold winter day, when the air is very dry, and then be transported to some tropical paradise for two hours. Someplace with humidity, a nice beach, and a good bar and restaurant.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Not sure this counts, but on the train out to L.A. and I got a whirlwind tour of the small towns between our stop in Las Vegas and L.A.. The train stopped and they announced a 20 minute break but don’t be late (i.e. don’t go gamble), so I grabbed my backpack (luckily) and went in to make a phone call. 5 minutes later, I see, reflected in a window, the train start to move. Nothing but the taillights when I got back to the platform. My luggage, box of books I’d brought for my friend in L.A. and a pair of shoes I’d just spent 3 hours restitching. 12 hours on local bus to get to L.A. and, of course, none of my stuff was there. 2 weeks out of the back back, but I did pass through Bakersfield


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