During our summer holiday, we explored different places in Europe.
We learnt a lot by exploring. In this photo essay, let us share about exploring in two places: Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.
The first place we explored was Gibraltar. The main feature of Gibraltar is a huge rock! It looms large out of the sea, attached by an isthmus to the southern coast of Spain.
Can you spot where it is on a map of Europe?
To explore the top of The Rock we had to take the Gibraltar Aerial Ropeway. This is just a very fancy name for an unusual cable-car system. It’s unusual because, before we set off, the crew filled the cable car’s tank up with water.
When we explored the top of The Rock we found lots of wild monkeys. We also learnt that, according to legend, if they ever leave The Rock then Gibraltar will fall. So, during World War II, more monkeys were brought from Africa to help protect The Rock.
The Rock is very mysterious. When we were exploring we found different tunnel systems inside it. Altogether, there are 51 km of tunnel to explore in The Rock.
Exploring taught us why tunnels were built inside The Rock. We discovered all about defending Gibraltar against the Spanish in the 18th century and attacking the Germans in World War II.
We then explored how thousands of soldiers lived in The Rock, sometimes working 16-hour shifts. Imagine living in this atmosphere with cannons going ‘boom’ all the time.
Sometimes we found things whilst exploring. Near the entrance to one set of abandoned tunnels we discovered a World War II bullet case.
Later, we explored another part of The Rock and met some more monkeys. They were very intelligent. My poor Daddy! He had to suffer whilst a heavy monkey sat on his shoulders, unzipped his backpack, discovered his water bottle and ran off with it.
After a hard day’s exploring, we retreated to our hotel and found a wonderful swimming pool to chill out in. However, our exploring was not yet finished. Imagine our shock when we jumped into the pool and discovered that it was full of salt water. It was almost impossible to dive under the surface!
We also explored different types of cuisine. We discovered that we can learn so much about different places from their food. For example, food in Gibraltar is a mixture of Spanish, British and North African cooking, reflecting the history of The Rock.
Then, it was soon time to say…
And sail off to say… “Hello, Isle of Man!”
On the Isle of Man, we learnt so much by exploring the island’s marvellous, heritage transport network. It is acknowledged to be one of the finest in the world.
We started off by exploring the history of the Douglas to Peel main line, built in 1873. This line was so successful that the St. John’s to Ramsey and Douglas to Port Erin lines were added shortly afterwards.
Don’t miss your train!
During our summer holiday, we were lucky to explore along the Douglas to Port Erin line on a steam train. ‘Kissack’, our locomotive, and the carriages were immaculate: polished brass; shining steel; soft seats; beautiful woodwork; traditional leather window straps. Such quality.
Take a ticket, take a journey, let the good times roll…
Then we explored Douglas Promenade on a tram. It was not powered by steam. It was not powered by oil. It was not powered by electricity… because it was powered by a horse…
By now we had explored by steam train and horse tram... but you should never leave the Isle of Man without travelling on the fantastic Manx Electric Railway.
We learnt so much exploring in the luxurious comfort of the Manx Electric Railway.
One very interesting fact that our exploring taught us was that the earliest trams on the Manx Electric Railway were delivered in reverse order.
Tram No. 3 came first, then Tram No. 2 and finally Tram No. 1. Sadly, however, Tram No. 3 burnt down in a tram-shed fire so Tram No. 2 now holds the record for the oldest tram on the railway.
We also explored a big mountain on the amazing one-hundred-plus-year-old Snaefell Mountain Tramway.
The views were fantastic: five miles of glorious mountain scenery; lovely glens; and fabulous panoramas.
The last railway that we explored was the Groudle Glen Railway. The original attraction at the end of the line was a zoo with polar bears, sea lions and brown bears. How hot it must have been for these poor animals in the heat of a Manx summer.
All good things come to an end and we eventually had to say our farewells to the Isle of Man as well as Gibraltar…
We explored so much and learnt so much from our exploring in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.
We also had a fantastic time. Try exploring the next time you go on holiday. You won’t regret it at all!