Following the pattern of some major event happening wherever we went, Gibraltar proved to be no exception. We had arrived on 9th September and it transpired that 10th September was Gibraltar’s National Day.
We awoke to see everyone around dressed in red and white, Gibraltar’s national colours, and the whole population of the Rock was in party mode. We wandered into town down Main Street ( unsurprisingly the main street through Gibraltar) to Casemates Square where the sea of people were listening to a series of local dignitaries making very patriotic speeches. Spain has long wanted Gibraltar to return to Spanish rule, but the Gibraltarians fervently resist that sentiment. This causes quite a lot of friction between Spain and Gibraltar, the Gibraltarians determined to stay British and the Spanish equally determined that the 300 plus year “occupation” of Gibraltar should come to an end.
With this background, the speeches in Casemates Square were of the “We’re-British-and-proud-of-it-and-will-never-become-Spanish” variety. All stirring stuff, but to Jac and I who had just stepped off a boat, this was all quite overpowering. Wandering away from the politicians we made our way to Ocean Village Marina, a more raucous location than where we were based, to find that not all Gibraltar residents were interested in political speeches. To an untrained eye, it appeared that those not listening to politicians were consuming alcohol in Gib’s bars at a most prodigious rate to the point that few seemed coherent by lunchtime.
It must be rare for an entire nation, albeit a small one, to get involved in a day-long party of such magnitude. It was a joy to behold!
Making our way back to Queensway Quay Marina in the evening it transpired that the resident boating population were also joining in. Our pontoon was also home to quite a few people who lived on their boats and they invited us to join them at the end of the pontoon for drinks and nibbles and to watch the celebratory firework display.
This was a lovely gesture and the start of a relationship with the “B” pontoon residents all of whom were lovely people who made Jacquie and I most welcome. The only slight problem was that so much alcohol had been consumed that communication became quite tricky!