I learned a long time ago that I don’t need to know all of this worlds secrets or how everything works; I’m quite happy to leave that to those who do. The idea that less than 24 hours ago I was driving up a lorry- laden, wet motorway from Wales to Birmingham and now find myself at the top of Gibraltar in beautifully warm sunshine is a prime example of something I can love and wonder about but have no desire to examine for the whys and where fors.
(Over towards Spain)
I had a similar experience years ago when I flew out to Singapore (from RAF Brize Norton) and stopped en-route at Gan. When the Captain said he was about to land our massive Hercules aircraft on Gan I looked out the window and thought he must be joking; I’d seen bigger aircraft carriers than Gan. I didn’t even know there was such a place, but down we went and somehow he landed this humongous thing on what looked like a little piece of grass – even more weird was finding out they had frogs the size of dogs. (Sorry I’m diversifying)…(again).
How I arrived at the top of Gibraltar (from Wales) is irrelevant really but of the (many) amazing things about it the views are just something else; instead of just being able to look in one direction (as I had on the way up) I could now do a 360* degree turn and look in every direction. And as well as the awesome closeup views I had of Gibraltar the distant ones of Spain and Africa just reminded me of how puny I am (and everyone else is) in the scale of things. It’s probably one of the most sobering places in the world for someone to go who has arrived at a point in their life when they may feel they are more important than other people and get a free wake-up call to bring them down to earth.
I’m not sure how long I sat up there at the summit (pondering my connection with this beautiful place) but it must have been some time because my travelling companions had long since legged it to do another circuit. I was starting to think that if I didn’t clear off soon they would be catching me up and overtaking me again.
As I’d looked down on familiar places like Edinburgh House, the Royal Naval Hospital and the dockyard I’d finally begun to get my head into a place I was comfortable with. I may not be Gibraltarian by birth but that was becoming less important. With so many memories, experiences and connections spanning over forty years I’d come to the conclusion it was those things (that were so deeply ingrained and ensconced in my heart and mind) not the literal Rock that made up ‘My Gibraltar’. The concept that everyone who had ever visited Gibraltar (even if for just a day as part of a Mediterranean cruise) could refer to that experience as ‘My Gibraltar’ gave me massive peace of mind; and on that note I stood up and began making my way back down the other side of the Rock to add a few more memories and experiences to ‘My Gibraltar’.