Everything fell into place for this surprise birthday trip. We had perfect timing from almost missed buses to just-caught last tours of the day, all without an ounce of travel prep past the hotel reservation. So let’s just keep that pace :
A surprise trip to Gibraltar –
Where everything ended up working –
All in the nick of time –
As if an unseen hand was moving the clock just so.
A taxi ride to the rock, but be careful –
the cash machines are always out of order –
Better to bring your own pounds, since you can’t use their stuff in London. –
Except for this 5 pound note that was retired without you knowing, so you count your euro coins up most dearly.
And now for an afternoon of beautiful lighting before sunset –
Gorgeous, soft, full colors seen from the light house –
Caused by storm clouds –
Stirred up by daily winds.
Brought up by a taxi van –
(a meager 25£ is all, the guides persuaded, or 30€ if you have it) –
filled with strangers –
International all –
Thrown together and hurtling up the rock that called them hence.
Caves open up to us (St. Michael’s to be exact) –
Remember, 20 minutes only, they call. –
It’s enough to see the shapes and the drops and the drips –
A design of immortal quality –
cast under blue and green and red of a very current design.
Garish, you might say. Who chose this color scheme, you might wonder. –
But the design of the cave is as intricate and human –
as the lines of a million hand prints –
overlapped on these walls.
Again, time to go.
Onward and upward to see monkeys that make me a little sad –
And make Cody squeamish where he stands. –
Little pieces of fur and quick eyes –
Springing legs and demanding hands. –
WHO TRAINED YOU? –
“Put away your loose items,” you hear. –
Hug your baby to your chest, you say. –
Turn to stone if one should alight upon your head.
Onto the Moorish castle, squirming baby in your lap.
So you march march march –
up the steps to keep him laughing. –
At the top the spiky ledges lend beautiful views over a sunlit bay. –
Pull out your cameras, quick, while the sun is still shining in that one spot.
An hour in all, the tour is done –
the fee is paid out in remaining euros and pounds –
And now it’s time to stamp your feet in the cold as you wait for the bus –
just outside a pub that offers food and warmth –
but you can’t chance missing that last ride of the night.
Finally, back to the hotel, where it’s dinner time –
The lineup is robust: nachos, sashimi, curry, and a burger, champagne cocktail to go with the occasion.
You scramble through the check to get that baby up to bed before he makes his squawks.
And then it’s time for sleep.
The next morning after breakfast shared by searching baby hands –
and the view of the ocean –
A baby so enchanted by waves –
As to smile and startle every joint in his body –
Flexing and freezing, experimenting even in his glee –
but it’s time to checkout.
When you walk out the front door –
Porous white rock walls shear the skyline in an unexpected line –
and you drive away and past the Spanish border –
to celebrate your birthday and Christmas Eve a little more.
|Mode||To and from||Overnights||Accommodation|
|Car||El Puerto de Santa María to Gibraltar||Gibraltar||Caleta Hotel|