Gibraltar - Picadors are no longer needed
|Rock of Gibraltar (photo by Hans Huber)|
|CIA map of Gibraltar from 1989|
|Gibraltar Monkey sitting on cannon (photo courtesy Reuters)|
Fortunately, in 1961, the border between Spain and Gibraltar was still open. At that time, Spain was treading carefully in the hope that its unattractive neutrality in World War II would be overlooked. By 1969, Spain had gained the confidence to close the border completely, even to foot traffic, as part of its campaign to reclaim Gibraltar. As a result, it became necessary to take a hydrofoil to Tangier in North Africa and another hydrofoil from Tangier to Gibraltar, in order to reach Gibraltar from Spain. The border was partially re-opened in the 1980s but, to this day, passing through it is anything but smooth and quick.
As I swept through the border one fine July morning, all those complications lay far in the future. I entered Andalucia, which is the region of Spain adjacent to Gibraltar, and within half an hour found myself in San Roque, which has the smallest bull ring in Spain.
|San Roque bullring with Gibraltar in background (photo courtesy georeme)|
San Roque turned out to be a charming little town of about 25,000 people, typical of everything that makes Andalucia so attractive. It sits on a hill looking across the sea towards Africa. It has steep narrow thoroughfares, flanked by whitewashed buildings. It has been interestingly impacted by Arabic, Spanish and British cultures. There is plenty to do and see. It is certainly a place to visit.
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on October 20, 2008.