Category Archives: Gibraltar

Featured Photo: Barbary Babe with Macaque Mom

Featured Photo: Barbary Babe with Macaque Mom (Gibraltar; Europe)

With Africa (Morocco) in view to the south and Spain within walking distance to the east, tiny Gibraltar is a unique microcosmic experience. This British territory is famed for its Barbary Macaques (often referred to as Barbary Apes), tail-less monkeys with origins in North Africa. Legend has it that coveted Gibraltar will remain under British rule as long as the macaques remain. We spotted a few moms with babies as we explored the Rock. This pair makes a very sweet picture from a safe distance, but the mother would be ferociously protective if approached —think “soccer mom” on steroids with a great throwing arm and plenty of teeth. Pretty scary, huh?

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Featured Photo: Fierce Love

Featured Photo: Fierce Love (Gibraltar)

Barbary Macaques (“Barbary Apes”) in Gibraltar

It is safer to stroll across Gibraltar’s rather unique airport runway than to approach a Barbary macaque mother with child such as this pair. Locals have plenty of stories about foolish tourists who stepped close for a photo. We heard about one unfortunate man whose camera was removed from its bag and launched off a cliff! At that point, it was a little too late to ask for the memory card.

For more on Gibraltar’s colorful history: A Rocky History

 

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A Rocky History

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.

More on Gibraltar

*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

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