The Rock is more than a geographical description of British territory Gibraltar. Long claimed by neighboring Spain, tiny Gibraltar has steadfastly hung on to its separate status through he said/he said disputes* and punitive restrictions that have included border closings** and water shutoffs with a stubborn resilience not easily eroded. News stories reveal a combative mentality between the two countries, evoking images of stubborn children jockeying for maximum back seat space. For instance, in 2009 the Royal Navy was accused of using the Spanish flag for target practice in proximate international waters. Although proved to be a false accusation in the end, the incident is indicative of the ongoing quirky dysfunction.
We opted to walk from La Linea, Spain into Gibraltar in hopes of avoiding the lengthy border crossing delays that plague the country line. And, unlike the automotive travelers who had to contend with an extended line, our pass-through was surprisingly uneventful. I didn’t even break stride as I waved my open passport at the border patrol agent, deeply engrossed in a newspaper.
*Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco said British Prime Minister Churchill promised Gibraltar to Spain in exchange for its not being attacked in the course of WWII. Churchill later denied this claim.
**The longest border closing lasted 16 years, from 1969 through 1985. In 2003, a virus-stricken British cruise ship allowed to dock in Gibraltar led to a 13-hour border closing and a fresh stirring of ill will between the countries.
More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook