We had one day to see as much of Gibraltar as possible during our stop on our Celebrity Cruises day in port. Months in advance, I booked a private day tour for my family with Gib Tours, and I am so happy that we did! Elisa was our guide - born and raised in Gibraltar, a true life long local, and wow, did we reap the benefits of her intimate knowledge of the area. She picked us up at the port - her friendliness, her humor, her inner joy, were immediately apparent and we knew that we were in for a great day. I don't think there is much that we didn't see! The roads on "The Rock" are narrow, winding, blind - on some of the more treacherous roads, Elisa would play the theme from "Mission Impossible" on the van stereo to heighten the effect! She provided us with a running commentary the whole day, filled with lots of information and humor. Our adult daughter is mobility impaired and Elisa made sure that she always got us as close to the entrances of the attractions as possible. She physically helped load/unload, the walker and the wheelchair, bungee-cording them into place in the back of the van - she was incredibly helpful and empathic.
Elisa is plugged into the local scene - on the narrow roads, when you have to pull over to let another car pass - well, she knew everyone, all of the other taxi drivers, tour guides, sharing friendly exchanges with everyone - we really felt like we were a part of the local scene. She even knows the names of the most social of the apes on the island. She knows the primatologists that look after the apes and she has a way that she interacts with the apes, professionally, as though she is actually a bonafide trainer - she knows the proper and safe way to engage them - I can't tell you how many photos we have of them, one of which stayed on our daughter's arm for a good 5 minutes! One of the apes hopped into the van and sat on Elisa's lap for a time, looking down her shirt for seeds - it was fantastic!
We had a very individualized tour of the WW2 tunnels, only 5 people in the tour - such a moving experience! Hans was our guide within the tunnels - very very knowledgeable guide! There are more tunnels in "The Rock" than roads on the island itself. You must see the tunnels when you visit!
Elisa took us to St. Michael's Cave - breathtaking; the 100 ton gun; the highest point on "The Rock"; Europa Point - the southern most point of continental Europe; O'Hara's Battery; the Great Siege Tunnels. We also drove across the airstrip, very interesting spot though we wished that an airplane had been crossing the road at the time! She took us, pretty much, everywhere! She gave us a full tour, backroads, not always the main streets, different neighborhoods, beaches, telling us stories of her childhood, etc. She gave us a full history of the peninsula, going back to Pangea, discussing the breaking apart of "The Rock", the Atlantic spilling into what is now the Mediterranean Sea.
Gibraltar is an amazingly unique place, geographically, historically, politically, strategically - and in our opinion, the best way to experience it is with Gib Tours.
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