I woke up Tuesday morning finding it hard to say goodbye to Sevilla. From the beautiful streets and the architecture, to the culture and tasty tapas, Sevilla ranks up there as one of my favorite cities I’ve visited since moving to Europe. But it was time to move on. When my parents saw my blog about Carnaval in Cadiz a few weeks ago, they insisted we make a stop there if possible. Luckily for them, it was either a straight two hour drive back to Alcaidesa, or we could go an hour southwest to Cadiz and then the other hour home. It seemed like a no-brainer…
We found public parking by the beach and the promenade, and staked out a table at a pizza place next the ocean. After a full day of tapas the day before, we were ready to change up the palate, and pizza sounded just right. Lucky for us, the pizza we ordered was perfect and hit the spot. It was a beautifully sunny day, so I opted for my first pair of shorts of the season. We were astounded by the amount of people still donning heavy jackets; it’s like they weren’t quite ready to accept that spring had arrived. In fact, the sun was so warm, that throughout lunch my chair seemed to magically rotate with the shade. When there wasn’t a morsel of pizza left, my sister ran in to change into her swimsuit and made haste to the sand by the Atlantic Ocean. I was not quite ready for “bikini weather,” so I did what any normal person would do sitting in the shade by the beach…I ordered a drink. While my sister soaked up the sun, my parents and I enjoyed refreshing cocktails while chatting. We enjoyed ourselves so much that the time passed too quickly, and we unfortunately missed an exploration of the old town. In my opinion, though, it wouldn’t have seemed like much in comparison to Sevilla, so the way we chose to spend the afternoon was just perfect.
Wednesday dawned bright and beautiful, which was great, because we’d set aside this day for Gibraltar. Unfortunately, Matt needed to work all week, but we were able to pull him away for a couple hours for the famous Rock Tour. It started with a ride up the cable car, much to my father’s delight (insert sarcasm here). Not the biggest fan of heights, he bravely scaled the humongous rock with only one comedically-timed comment. Once at the top, the family was able to experience the breathtaking views that the Rock of Gibraltar has to offer. And not to be outdone by our other trips up the rock, the apes were out in full force. And for the first time, we made contact. Signs everywhere indicate that it is against the rules to touch the apes. But who’s to keep the monkeys from touching us? While walking by the monkey den and taking pictures, Matt casually stuck his arm out to the side, right by a monkey minding his own business. Of course, said monkey took interest and swung his arm out to grab Matt’s. In a matter of seconds, the ape climbed onto Matt’s arm and was pulling at Matt’s buttons. Fair play to you, Matt! This would easily go down as one of our most memorable experiences on the rock.
We then walked down the rock to the caves, which were interesting, but nothing to go crazy about. There are a few interesting things to point out, though. For one, there is a stage area where Gibraltar puts on concerts. They use this space, because the acoustics are amazing. I think it’d be interesting to see an orchestra play in the Rock of Gibraltar. Secondly, there is all kinds of history and folklore associated with the caves. Homer was said to have used them as inspiration and the caves were once referred to as the “entrance to Hades, the underworld.” Lastly, this was my first time inside a cave, and I learned that I’m a tad claustrophobic. Maybe it’s from seeing the movie, The Descent; or maybe it’s the thought of being in a large cave and losing light – how would you ever find your way out? Though this was a very small cave, after about 10 minutes, I was ready to see the sky again.
A short, but terrifying cable car ride down the mountain later (think walking out onto a long plank extended over a mountainous rock), we settled in on Main Street for a drink. Melissa went crazy with shopping fever, purchasing some authentic and beautiful Spanish-inspired dresses, and I picked up my dry cleaning. I like to throw a little normalcy into an otherwise unique vacation. 😉 After Main Street, we met Matt (who had returned to work after the rock tour) at Gaucho’s, our favorite Argentinian restaurant, for a humongous meal. I am never disappointed when I eat at Gaucho’s! Matt, my father, and I had the Argentinian filet, which is always cooked to perfection; Melissa had the best sea bass I’ve ever tasted; and my mother ordered the shoulder of lamb, which could have easily fed a table of four, and most of which made it home in a doggy bag. By the time we made it home that evening, we were exhausted and stuffed.
No matter how many times I visit Gibraltar with friends or family, I always have a great time. And Cadiz is looking more and more like a great beach destination if Matt and I want to get out of town for a weekend. Between frisky apes, plentiful sunshine, and delicious food, part two of the trip went off without a hitch.