A year in the life of a Marbelli (Week 35)

As discussed in last week’s blog, my trip to the caves in Nerja was quickly followed by a visit to St. Michaels caves in Gibraltar amid a site seeing tour, organised by my sister, which also included seeing the all-famous Barbary macaques.

The Gibraltar part of my “cave week” began with a visit to St. Michaels. This incredible structure, located in the Upper Rock is a result of seeping rainwater dissolving the limestone rock over thousands of years.

The cave welcomes over 1,000,000 visitors a year as well as holding monthly concerts in the beautiful cathedral chamber.

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The Gibraltarians are happy, friendly people and I think this is portrayed in the cave. In fact I wasn’t sure whether I had taken the wrong turning and entered a daytime discotheque by mistake –I would love to hang out with whoever created the lighting effects though – what a character he must be!

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As the interior of the cave transforms from pink to red and then blue to turquoise, piped music can be heard to enhance your mood as you walk around marvelling at all the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. I don’t think the music director was in such a “happy place” as the lighting man though and next time I would probably bring my headphones and stick on a bit of Bob Marley!

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Talking of music – Due to the natural acoustics in the cave, the concert chamber (now named Cathedral Chamber), has been set up as an auditorium, with a capacity of 400 people. There are many concerts held there and apparently it has attracted some notable acts, such as Steve Hogarth and Breed 77 – Who??!!

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Joking apart, it is definitely worth a visit, the caves are not as big in comparison to the Nerja caves but they are easier to walk around and not as hazardous. Don’t be surprised if you get wet from the dripping stalactites; but worry not – according to one trip advisor member, “You can warm yourself up as the coffee is cheap!”

Our next stop was the Barbary Macaques or in layman’s terms Gibraltar Monkeys. These not so friendly creatures live high up on the rock and although not usually aggressive, they will steal anything you have on you, so hide handbags, loose jewellery and anything edible. Legend has it that Gibraltar will remain under British rule as long as the monkeys stay living there. Winston Churchill even ordered more monkeys to be taken to the rock in 1942 when the colony had dwindled down to only 7.

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Here is my sister Sally getting up close and personal with one of the monkeys – my sister is the one on the right!

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And a close up of one of the males. Oh…hello, I recognise that face!

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Is there something you haven’t told us Jeremy?!
Next week I will be going into the old part of Marbella to discover what attracts so many tourists to this part of the town.

Anyway, bye for now and see you next week. xx

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