SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 24, 2016
Mountains, Monkeys, and Music
Cádiz, Andalucía, Spain.
Our day began like any other day in port with a 0630 wakeup. What followed the 0630 wakeup was not like any other day we’ve had on this trip. After a two hour bus ride, we were on the border of Spain and Gibraltar. With a smile, foulie gear, and an open passport, we walked right into the autonomous territory of Gibraltar.
The first stop on this brand new excursion was the museum of Gibraltar. Our trivia day (which A watch won) as we passed through the Straits of Gibraltar prepared us for the basic history of this place at the base of a giant rock. What I was not prepared for was the Neanderthal recreations waiting just around the corner of the entrance. Once my heart slowed down a little, weexplored the museum’s displays on the battles for Gibraltar and the archaeological discoveries that have been made in the area. The coolest part was seeing the Moorish baths in the basement of the museum and I am excited to experience that part of a culture when I head to Budapest at the end of this journey.
During lunch, Meredith, Allie, and I set off on a trek to find the Prior Park School. One of the people that I worked with at summer camp lives in Gibraltar and works there. When we finally summited the last hill to the school, Lolly greeted us with a huge smile and a hug. She took us on a tour of the brand new school and introduced us to some of the teachers and a few of the students. The students were fascinated that we were doing science on a boat and asked if we were marine biologists. We found them equally fascinating and learned that some of them cross the border every day to partake in the British educational system. It was such a unique experience and so lovely to see a familiar, friendly face.
Our next stop was to summit the Rock. We made the wise decision to take the cable car up to the top and then work our way down to the bottom at a leisurely pace. Once we summited, the tailless monkeys that Gibraltar is famous for were immediately evident. They just sat around the walls waiting for someone to make a mistake and bring in a plastic bag or eat some food. Within three minutes of arriving at the top I watched three monkeys fly across the courtyard climb up a wall and climb up a woman to take her popsicle. It was insanely terrifying. When the other half of our group arrived at the top, Kiernan had a plastic bag of t-shirts and her foulie jacket that was immediately snatched by a monkey. They dumped the t-shirts and nibbled on the yellow jacket until they realized it was not food. The Rock of Gibraltar is an insanely fascinating and terrifying place. Meredith and I provided as much entertainment avoiding the monkeys as the monkeys themselves.
Once the shock of the proximity of the tailless monkeys wore off, we were able to take in the amazing views of the city sprawled out below us and the multitudes of boats travelling to and from Gibraltar. From this incredible vantage point you could see in all directions across the sea and land; and made it abundantly clear why the Rock has historically provided such an important military advantage. As we wound our way down the mountain, the crystal clear waters sparkled up at us and many of us were able to identify the ships we wrote about for our projects.
Back in the safety of Cadiz, a few of us stumbled upon a marching band practice and I was able to get my mini concert. It was a wonderful day of pre-Halloween fright and new experiences.
Sending love to all of my family and friends,