On Easter Sunday there were 30 of us gathered round a large table for lunch. Our group included families of different nationalities, all coming together in a local restaurant. In alphabetical order (seems fairer) there were: Australian, Bolivian, English, Gibraltarian, Italian and Spanish. While we waited for our food, amid the noisy, comfortable chatter of good friends, I thought of a game: “what are the top ten best things about growing up in…..?” For the sheer fun of it, here’s my list:
Top 10 things about growing up in Gibraltar
- Laughing at English and Spanish jokes.
- Eating turrón, polvorones and mince pies at Christmas
- Living in a community that looks out for each other. If your child wanders off anywhere – e.g. on a packed beach in the summer – someone will probably know which family they belong to and will return them safely.
- Enjoying a full English breakfast one day and churros the next.
- Watching Spanish and British television and radio programmes; reading newspapers, magazines, books in both languages.
- Admiring the view of two continents – Europe and Africa – from the same spot.
- Living in a community where you feel safe, knowing you can walk home at night from anywhere on the Rock and you’ll be fine.
- Delicious and varied local cuisine, a mixture of Genoese, Maltese and Spanish; plus the fresh fish and seafood in restaurants.
- Multi-religious and multi-ethnic communities happily coexisting in 6.8 square kilometres.
- It doesn’t rain often* – plan any event and you’re almost guaranteed good weather.
- Six safe, clean, beaches – ready-made playgrounds for children.
- You can get from A to B in less than 20 minutes.
- The Gibraltar Confectionery deserves a category of its own. ‘Milhojas’ (millefeuilles) to die for.
- The beauty and diversity of its flora, fauna and marine life – Dolphin Safari anyone?
- Stalactites and stalagmites – you know which is which thanks to the magnificent St Michael’s Cave.
- The amusement of watching outsiders trying to place a Gibraltarian accent – “no, it’s not Welsh or South African, think again!”
I should have known I couldn’t stick to just ten.
*When it rains, it pours!