Let me introduce you to my home country, the Rock of Gibraltar. With a population of 30,000 people it’s only a small place located on the southwestern tip of Europe, but it’s all about quality not quantity. Known for being an overseas British territory and a rather large chunk of limestone, Gibraltar has become more well known in recent years due to Channel 5’s program, Britain under the Sun.
Check out a video by Bookinghunter.com that highlights Gibraltar’s main tourist attractions.
So what can I say about my home country that you now don’t know? Here’s a few Gibraltarian facts that might surprise you
Red, White and Free
Every year on the 10th of September Gibraltar celebrates a National Day where everyone dresses up in our flag colours – red and white. Events are held throughout the rock all day, including speeches from the Chief Minister, and an evening fireworks display. The day commemorates Gibraltar’s first sovereignty referendum back in 1967 when Gibraltarians were given the choice to either pass under Spanish sovereignty or remain under British sovereignty. In the last referendum of 2002, 98% of Gibraltar voted to remain British. Have a look at local girl Ariane Chipol’s national day experience captured on her GoPro 4.
What did you say?
Gibraltar’s official language used by government and in schools is English. However being so close to Spain many of the locals understandably speak Spanish. This has created Gibraltar’s own unique language called Llanito, which consists of Andalusian Spanish and British English. However, it borrows words and expressions from many other languages, with over 500 words of Genoese and Hebrew origin. For example:
Phrase: Keki Actual Meaning: Cake Origin: Derivation of Cake
Check out this website to find out more llantio words and phrases.
Gibraltar is a popular destination for those who want to elope somewhere sunny. A special Governor’s Licence means you only have to be in Gibraltar for 24 hours before you can obtain ceremony papers at the registry office. This means couples are able to marry within 48 hours of landing in Gibraltar – as long as they meet these requirements:
Make sure you have your passport and birth certificate. If you have been divorced then the final divorce papers and your previous marriage certificate must be shown. If you are widowed then the death certificate of your previous spouse and your previous marriage certificate must also be shown.
In 1969 John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar. Many celebrities followed suit soon after, including Sean Connery (who married on the Rock twice) and Roger Moore who chose Gibraltar as his honeymoon destination.
Down with the kids
Often thought of as a place aimed more at the older generation, 2012 saw the creation of Gibraltar’s first ever music festival. GMF has since become an annual event attracting music lovers throughout Gibraltar, Spain and the UK. The 2015 Gibraltar Music Festival lineup included artists such as; Kings of Leon, Duran Duran, Kaiser Chiefs, Madness, Paloma faith, Little Mix, Ella Henderson, Tom Odell, and James Bay amongst others. With food, drinks, bathroom facilitates and various games and activities on site, GMF is fast becoming one of Gibraltar’s main events. For more information about GMF visit their website here.
Gibraltar is surrounded by six beautiful beaches, making it the perfect place to get your beach fix during the summer months.
Eastern Beaches: Eastern Beach is Gibraltar’s largest beach and receives the most sunshine throughout the day. Catalan Bay is much smaller than Eastern Beach, but has the charm of a fishing village on its’ shores and is a beautiful place for a stroll and a bite to eat. Sandy Bay is a more secluded beach that is not that well known to tourists, as it is rather small and enjoyed mostly by locals.
Western Beaches: Camp Bay is a south-west facing man made beach known as the site of a spectacular man-made waterfall and popular dolphin pools. Little Bay is Camp Bay’s sister beach, known for being smaller and more rocky due to it’s rugged cliffs. Western Beach is a small sandy beach situated just on the northern side of the runway.
Being a gateway to the Mediterranean Gibraltar is home to three award winning marinas. Ocean Village and neighbour Marina Bay offer a sheltered and ideally located base for yachts and motor boats with the town centre and Gibraltar International Airport just a short walk away. If you’re staying on the marina you will have everything you need close by, including a selection of international restaurants and bars, duty free goods, a mini-market, health and dental clinic, a gymnasium and offshore banking facilities. Similarly upmarket Queens Way Quay offers an impressive backdrop of residential complexes and a choice of stylish restaurants and bars.
Prepare for landing
Gibraltar is the proud owner of the only runway in the world to intersect a road; and consequently has to close every time a plane lands or departs. The History Channel’s programme Most Extreme Airports ranked Gibraltar’s airport as the fifth most extreme landing in the world. The airport is right next to the city centre making the journey to and from it the shortest commute in the world. Another unique aspect of this runway is that you have to cross it to get to the airport building and in and out of Spain. While many may find this bizarre it is a norm for us Gibraltarians (I often walk my dog across it.)