A quick hop across the strait from Tangier and we were land bound again for The Rock of Gibraltar on the southwestern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. After spending a small fortune in Tangier I tightened my belt on this excursion to explore the flora and fortifications rather than the local markets.
The rock being far too large for any mouse to explore unaided, we found ourselves hiring the services of the local Barbary Macaque population for the very reasonable price of three pieces of fruit a day. Relying on my limited picture book knowledge I assumed the humble banana to be fruit of choice for any self-respecting primate, turns out however that the Barbary is particularly partial to a fresh Cox’s Orange Pippin, fortunately found gratis and by the crate full onboard the ships kitchen!
Relocated from North Africa by the Moors the Barbary monkey has lived around these parts for a very long time and hence turned out to be highly knowledgeable guides. After a delightful morning getting to grips with all the plants on top of the rock, mainly divided into two distinct categories ‘that which were good to eat’ and ‘that which made you wish you’d rather not gone there’ we spent a cool afternoon exploring some of the 34 miles of blasted out military tunnels inside the rock known as the Galleries.
Saddle sore but pleasantly exhausted we rounded off a perfect day watching the setting sun with aid of a few relaxing martinis from the veranda of The Rock Hotel. Ticking off my list of ‘things asked to do by friends back home’, tomorrow I’ll catch a monkey down to the Royal Gibraltar Post Office to mail some Gibraltar Candytuft seeds to Flo before we set sail for Marseille.
Will write again soon.
With love M.M.
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