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Gibraltar: The Surprising Truth About ‘the Rock’

Twenty-Something Travel via rss - 12 hours 34 min ago

One of the major selling points for my house sit in Spain was finding out that the home was only a short bus ride away from Gibraltar. Aside from some vague associations with a massive rock, I knew absolutely nothing about this former British colony – now officially known as a British Overseas Territory – so I was instantly curious.

Besides flying directly into the territory’s tiny airport, the only way to reach Gibraltar is from a Spanish town in Cádiz Province called La Linea de la Concepción. Brent and I did have to flash our passports, but otherwise entering Gibraltar was more akin to crossing a large police road block than crossing the border into a new country (although I suppose it’s not technically a country).

So what exactly can you expect from this mysterious patch of Britain perched on the edge of Spain?

It’s Kind of Beautiful

While I’m pretty sure most North Americans couldn’t point out Gibraltar on a map, in Britain, I get the impression that Gibraltar has some not-so-flattering associations with older cruise ship day-trippers. As a common port of call for Mediterranean cruises, this reputation isn’t completely unfounded. Gibraltar’s main street was packed with the visor-and-fanny-pack-wearing crowd, but when we branched off into the quieter side streets, we started to see that this town has some serious charm.

The smaller alleys are lined with centuries-old buildings, many of which mix Mediterranean, Moorish, and British architecture, reflecting the many cultures that have impacted Gibraltar at various points throughout its history.

Then there’s the famous rock itself. Approaching La Linea by bus, you can see this massive limestone ridge towering 1,398 feet upwards and redefining the meaning of epic. It’s possible to take a cable car to the top, but far more rewarding to make the steep hike. The walk is best done early in the morning, not only to take advantage of cooler hiking temperatures, but because you can watch the sun come up over Morocco, Spain, and Gibraltar at the same time – and it’s insanely magical.

The upper portion of the rock is actually a nature reserve, best known for its Barbary macaque monkeys which are the only population of wild monkeys found in Europe. The monkeys are pretty accustomed to humans, so you’re almost guaranteed to catch a glimpse of a few at some point. Although it goes without saying that they’re wild animals, so feeding, touching, or generally treating them like pets is best avoided.

It’s Really British

Initially, I couldn’t help but think that Gibraltar looked like a cartoon version of Britain with its red phone booths, police officers wearing old-fashioned helmets, and traditional fish-and-chips shops. Perhaps in part because of ongoing land disputes with Spain, Gibraltar seems hell-bent on distinguishing itself as British.

The streets are packed with British chains like Morrisons and Marks & Spencer, Union Jack flags fly everywhere, the walls are fitted with three-pronged electrical plugs, and the currency is pound sterling.

Interestingly, although Gibraltar looks like an exaggerated version of Britain on the surface, locals are fiercely proud of their heritage, separate from both Britain and Spain. English is the official language, but most residents are also fluent in Spanish, or speak a local dialect that blends the two languages. Gibraltar has its own flag, postage stamps, and media outlets, as well as a number of distinct local dishes that blend British and Mediterranean cuisine.

It Might Be an Amazing Place to Live

A few of the homeowners’ family members live in Gibraltar, giving me a chance to ask exactly what life is like on the Rock.

They described Gibraltar as a tight-knit, self-sufficient community. In an effort to strong-arm Gibraltar into joining Spain, the Spanish border with Gibraltar was closed for almost 20 years beginning in the 1960s. As a result, this small community of 30,000 residents is used to fending for themselves and taking care of one another. The territory has extremely low rates of crime, most sports leagues and clubs are free to join, and students receive free tuition to any university in the UK, along with allowances for flights home each term.

Only 4 square miles in size, it’s possible to walk pretty much anywhere in Gibraltar. Combine that with more 300 days of sunshine every year, and a location less than 30 minutes away from Africa and a stroll away from the rest of Europe, and I sort of want to move to Gibraltar.

 

 

Gibraltar: The Surprising Truth About ‘the Rock’ is a post from Twenty-Something Travel

Domes of the Churches of St. Luke and St. Nicholas in Kotor, Montenegro

Everything Everywhere via rss - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 17:50

Domes of the Churches of St. Luke and St. Nicholas in Kotor, Montenegro

Best Grand Canyon Winter Holiday Sightseeing Tours

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 17:00
It's the Christmas holiday season at Grand Canyon National Park and now more than ever is the time to visit. Especially if you take tour (helicopter, plane or bus). Learn why. Read this article.

Why You Should Tour and Tour and Travels Now

Travel Articles - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 23:21
Everything in life prices one thing. each trip you are taking doesn't ought to be Associate in Nursing over-the-seas bank breaker. Short day journeys square measure typically times the foremost fun

Travel to The Most Splendid West Lake in Hangzhou

Travel Articles - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 20:37
Originally a superficial sea inlt, due to the resting down of silt this 5.68 rectangle miles (about 1,404 acres) of water became the popular Western Lake.

Queenstown Holiday Tips and Ideas for Hikers

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:48
If you love hiking, you can have the adventures of a lifetime when you are on a Queenstown holiday. The local region has a lot to offer - from relaxed walks in valleys covered with vineyards to mountain tracks which require considerable effort. You will benefit greatly from planning your trips in advance. Consider practical information and advice which will help you with this.

The Ideal Queenstown Holiday in the Autumn

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:47
If you want to relax and have fun amidst absolutely gorgeous scenery with vibrant colours, then you should definitely have a Queenstown holiday in the autumn. The weather is perfect and you can readily enjoy the activities which are popular during the spring and summer. During the cooler evenings, there are plenty of ways to get warmer.

Tasmanian City Attractions to Include in a Motorhome Holiday Itinerary

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:47
When you go on a motorhome holiday in Tasmania, you should definitely visit not only the popular natural parks and sites such as Wineglass Bay, but also the popular attractions in the cities of the island. You will get a true feel of the local history and culture. Ensure that you include the following attractions in your itinerary.

4 Beautiful Places to Visit During a Campervan Holiday in Australia

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:43
You should not miss to explore some of the most fascinating spots in Australia while on a campervan holiday in the country. You will marvel at incomparable natural beauty and take home the best holiday pictures ever. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities. Check out the places which you should definitely visit.

Things to Do at Lake Toba

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:03
Lake Toba is a place in Sumatra (Indonesia) that is the largest volcanic lake in the world and one of the greatest relaxation places in Asia. One thing is sure: there aren't a lot of things that you can do here but you do have an atmosphere that will keep your mind out of that. You can either rent a motorbike or a private car in order to visit its amazing sights.

Toronto - The Best Destination For A Relaxing Vacation

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 09:43
When planning a trip, you are already so excited about the things you will see and do, same was the case with us, we were also very excited about our trip. Toronto is a remarkable city it is clean and is safe, it has amazing recreational parks, cultural facilities and complexes. Here is a list of things we did and the things we saw on our trip to Toronto.

World Heritage Sites in Central India

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:25
Whenever we ponder, enquire or discuss about visiting India we think either about Northern, Western or Southern India. Folks tend to forget Central India and the valuable contributions it has made to the giant potpourri of wonder that is India.

A Fur Seal Resting Near Stromness, South Georgia Island

Everything Everywhere via rss - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 03:55

A Fur Seal Resting Near Stromness, South Georgia Island

Top 10 Tropical Wedding Destinations

Travel Articles - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 02:48
Tropical locations are the best destinations for wedding and honeymoon. Information about top 10 tropical wedding destinations.

Explore the Center of Holy Lhasa: Jokhang Temple

Travel Articles - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 23:23
The Jokhang Forehead Monastery is in the center of the old city of Lhasa, one of the most popular destination of any China tours. It includes basically an entry patio, a courtyard and a Buddhist hall, enclosed by housing for priests and storehouses on all four ends.

Learn something about Naxi Musical Concert – The Near Extinct Art Form

Travel Articles - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 23:05
Naxi Musical Concert is the classic cultural music of Naxi ethnic minority group in Lijiang.

The Town of Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Everything Everywhere via rss - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:40

The Town of Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

No Business Like Snow Business at Mt. Springs Lodge

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:00
Mountain Springs Lodge comes alive with sleights and snowmobiles during the winter months at this North Central Washington resort

London: Free and cheap things to do for Christmas

EuroCheapo via rss - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 09:05

The Christmas lights are sparkling, the temperature has dropped and London town is starting feel oh so very festive.

While there are tons of “official” Christmas activities to partake in over the next few weeks, you’ll find that many (like the plethora of ice rinks that have popped up in all corners of the capital) don’t really fit with a Cheapo’s budget.

So here are some fool proof ways to embrace the festive spirit without frittering away your Christmas present budget!

1. The London pub

A favorite retreat at all times of year, London’s traditional pubs come into their own at Christmas time. Serving up warming mugs of mulled wine and cider while offering some cozy relief from the bitter cold, make the pub your first port of call. Of particular note are the Water Poet in Shoreditch, which gets into the Christmas spirit with seasonal ales and food, while our round up of favorite London pubs is also a good place to start.

2. Carolers are caroling

Belting out some carols to your heart’s content is a fun way to feel festive and there’s no better place to do it than round Trafalgar Square’s enormous Christmas Tree (an annual gift from Oslo to London). Four hours of carol singing takes place daily between 8 and 23 December from 4-8 pm on weekdays and 2-6 pm on weekends. It’s free to attend but charity donations are encouraged.

Related: 10 free things to do during winter in London

3. Release your inner child

Whether you have children or not, a trip to Hamleys is a sure-fire way to get into the Christmas spirit. This wonderful toy store, the oldest in the world, buzzes with life and excitement every day of the week but never more so than at Christmas. It has been a Regent Street institution since 1881 but actually started life even earlier, back in 1760. Containing 50,000 toys across seven floors, after a mulled wine in the pub it’s another great pit stop to get some welcome respite from the cold.

Harrods all lit up for the holiday season. Photo:

4. Light up London

Another free and festive activity is to take in London’s best illuminations and decorations, which you’ll find all over the city. Oxford Street and Regent Street have the biggest light displays, but nearby Carnaby and South Molten Streets, as well as St Christopher’s Place, always boast some truly magical creations. The Christmas tree and decorations in Covent Garden piazza are another must-see, while you can enjoy the fantastic window displays at classy shops like Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges without having to fork out any cash at all.

5. Welcome to Winterville

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has been running for years and while it is a family favorite, it’s also known for overcrowding and hefty price tags. But this year sees the launch of its edgier, trendier little sister, Winterville. Open in Hackney’s Victoria Park until 1 January (closed on 25 and 26 December), this dream-like “town” comes complete with fairground, roller disco, Spielgeltent, street food stalls, a hot cider bar and a bustling marketplace. Plus, there’s a full program of pantomime, comedy and free club nights and gigs so you can carry that festive feeling well into the wee hours.

The post London: Free and cheap things to do for Christmas appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Exploring Port Washington Wisconsin

As We Travel via rss - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:07

As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Taking a few days away from the everyday bustle is so worthwhile. That’s certainly how I felt after my getaway to lovely Port Washington, Wisconsin. With the turning of the seasons, I wanted to get out and explore somewhere new. A friend of mine suggested Port Washington, which is just 30 minutes north of Milwaukee. She’s been going there with her family for years. When I heard about the historic downtown, the lighthouse, and the beautiful scenery on Lake Michigan, I was hooked. From my first glimpse of the city, I was awestruck by how picturesque Port Washington is. It reminded me of a charming New England fishing village, yet there I was on the shores of Lake Michigan!

Port Washington Bay

Getaway to Lovely Port Washington Wisconsin

My first order of business was to check into the Port Hotel. This elegant bed and breakfast is in the perfect location for exploring the city. It features 10 unique and beautiful rooms, many with gorgeous views of the harbor. I can’t say enough about these wonderful accommodations. Between the fireplace and the whirlpool tub, I had everything I needed for a relaxing stay. The room service breakfast was superb. I can personally recommend the eggs benedict prime rib and the kailua pecan waffles, but I’m certain that anything they serve is delicious. After a big breakfast, it was time to get out for some exercise. Fortunately, the weather was amazing. I asked at the front desk about renting a bicycle, and was pointed in the direction of a local shop. After finding a rental bike for my size, I was off to explore the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. Riding along the 30 miles of the trail just might be the best way to get acquainted with Port Washington and neighboring communities. It’s fully paved, and offers some great opportunities for seeing birds and wildlife.

After a nice long ride, I was ready to explore on foot. I headed into Port Washington’s historic downtown. The shopping here is quaint and incredible. I love that all of the stores are housed in 19th century buildings. It really is a charming area for finding unique, one-of-a-kind shops. I included the harbor area in my explorations, and enjoyed seeing schools of fish, ducks, seagulls, and a few fish jumping. I stopped for a wonderful lunch at the Dockside Deli.

I was completely intrigued by this beautiful town, so I decided to spend some time looking into its history. A guided tour of the Judge Eghart House demonstrated how people lived in Port Washington during the Victorian era. I also wandered to the nearby town of Saukville to visit the fascinating Ozaukee County Pioneer Village. The village features 24 historic buildings from the area. With plenty of costumed re-enactors on hand, visiting here was a lot like stepping back in time. Whether I was cycling on the trails or walking the boardwalk, I encountered many friendly faces. Port Washington is very welcoming of visitors, and the people all have wonderful recommendations for things to do and places to go. I’m already planning a return trip so I can be there for one of the community festivals.

The post Exploring Port Washington Wisconsin appeared first on As We Travel.

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