Sunrise in Gibraltar

This sunrise was our reward for an early start on a big day.  We were staying near Gibraltar, and taking the ferry over to Tangier in Morocco to spend the day.  It was our first time ever in Africa, and we were a little nervous to step through that door.

Our driver Rashid was very helpful.   Rashid was a good son, who lived with and cared for his elderly mother.  His English was difficult to understand, so he and the kids communicated in Spanish.  If I had a question, I could make myself understood in my rusty French, but his replies came too quickly for me.  We worked out a system in which Rashid would reply to my French questions in Spanish, which the kids would then translate into English for me.

We were typical tourists.  We went to the market and did what most day trippers do.

We felt grateful for a quick peek into another world.

A glimpse down a dark alley could shed light on another way of life.

We walked past little shops and businesses. People work so hard to put bread in the mouths of their children.

Amizagh women sold vegetables in the market.  They are called Berbers by the Arabs and most of the world now.  Descended from prehistoric dwellers of the land, they are now a minority, but they retain the language and traditions of their ancestors.

I saw this cat in a narrow passageway, and it occurred to me that cats all over the world speak the same language.  I wondered what would happen if people did too.  Something would be gained, but much would be lost as well.

In Tangier we were given a taste of new flavors, colors, music, and customs.

It was time to cross back over the Straits.  The  kids will never let me live down the fact that I accidentally bought a rug, my only souvenir of that trip.  I wanted to bring home some of the vivid colors of a world so very different, and yet so much the same as ours.

Sunrise to sunset, long after the threads on my rug have faded, that day will stay with me.

All words and images Copyright Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird.




  1. TheOthers1 says:

    Your pictures definitely make me smile. And they make me want to travel that much more. 🙂

    1. Hi C.C. Thank you for that! I guess it’s the time of year when I start to get itchy feet, too.

  2. magsx2 says:

    Fantastic photos, looks like you were having a great time (except for the snake part. 🙂 )

    1. The snake handler had two different snakes–he used the cobra, but had a harmless one that he took out for tourists’s photo ops, and that was as close as I cared to get. Thanks for stopping by, and for taking the time to comment.

  3. Kathy Klein says:

    Fabulous photos, Naomi! I wish I could go there…maybe someday. But seeing your pictures is the next best thing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Kathy. Maybe some day we’ll arrange one of those writer retreats in Prague or Tuscany and stay long enough to crank out the rough draft of a novel.

  4. katkasia says:

    Great photos – looks like a terrific day!
    Did you find you were hassled much in the markets? The Libyans (on our pre-revolution trip) we met were quite explicit in their markets: ‘Don’t go to that man, he’s a Moroccan.’
    I’ve no idea if this was a fair assessment though.

    1. Hi Kasia. Our guide led the four of us through the old town, and I’m sure he had some kind of arrangement with the local people. We went through tiny twisting alleys and would never have been able to find our way around without his help.

      1. katkasia says:

        Sounds wonderful! 🙂

      2. It was really important for us to do it, and to keep stretching our comfort zone. Having a guide was like riding a bike with training wheels–kind of touristy, but with just the four os us, we were able to go places the large groups would not have managed. Was your experience a positive one? Where and when did you go?

      3. katkasia says:

        We went to Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey in 2009. Fantastic trip! We also traveled in Libya with a guide (actually there was no other way), and it was a wonderful place – very friendly, and with the most amazing sights. Ancient unspoilt Roman cities, prehistoric rock art, and of course the Medina in Tripoli. I hate to think what it must be like now – I just hope they didn’t destroy too much of their heritage.

      4. That sounds like an incredible trip! So many treasures from history and natural history. It was still a very rocky time to go. Did you have any trouble?

      5. katkasia says:

        Nope – none at all. We were met with hospitality and friendliness the whole way, pretty much. Had to spend a little while being screened for swine flu at the Syrian border, but otherwise no issues.
        We were a bit worried when a policeman with a machine gun leant into our taxi at the border, and asked “How long have you been in Syria?”
        We told him, and he asked “Did you go to Saladin’s castle?”
        “No, we didn’t.”
        “Oh – you missed out,” he said. And proceeded to chat cheerfully about the wonderful sights in Syria, and how we must come back. 🙂

      6. That’s a great story! So glad you were brave enough to risk it, and came back to tell the tale.

  5. jakesprinter says:

    Beautiful post Naomi , Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Jake, thank you for being my inspiration!

  6. I have to ask — how does one accidentally buy a rug?

    1. Hi Mary,
      We always travel carry-on, so I was determined not to buy ANYTHING. The shop owner was quite a salesman and insisted he just wanted to show us. They went to such trouble rolling out carpets that we felt kind of obligated. Honestly, it was worth it, just to admire his sales technique. Thom and the kids were making bets on whether I would succumb. Once he showed me the perfect rug; I saw a hole in it and wiggled my finger through it. He didn’t skip a beat, just commended me on my powers of observation and clapped his hands for more carpets. I walked out with a beautiful orangish red carpet with a symbol for protection against the evil eye. It was such a good match for our warm walls that I didn’t even mind when I got it home and realized it was missing the fringe on one side. AND it folded up so small that I was still able to fly home carry on!

  7. Anne Camille says:

    We did the same day trip a few years ago and were so glad we did. As we were eating lunch, my husband observed that, because every thing was so alien, it could have been the prototype for the spacebar scene in Star Wars, minus the unusual looking creatures! We were disappointed that we couldn’t capture the aromas in our photos. And, we still talk about how we wished we hadn’t walked away from the rug dealer’s final offer. Would have made a great souvenir. I hope you don’t regret your accidental rug. I, too, wonder how one accidentally buys a rug.

    1. Hi Anne,
      If you can see my reply to Mary, just one comment up, you will see what I mean about accidentally buying a rug. But I have no regrets. It is beautiful, and I don’t even remember what we paid for it. Much of travel is not so much getting your money’s worth as the cost of the experience. Funny story about the Star Wars bar–I can so see that!

      Were you traveling around Spain when you came over? Did you follow the route Rick Steves recommends? I’d love to hear more about your travels.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your comments, Anne.

      1. Anne Camille says:

        Yes, we were in Spain. That was a rather unplanned and unexpected trip. My husband had made arrangements to go to Prague with a guided tour. I could not go because of work. At the last minute the Prague trip was cancelled but the tour group offered a substitute for this trip which was the same week. Things changed at my office, I decided to go just a few weeks before and SWORE to my husband that I wasn’t going to do anything but sit on the beach and he could do all of those horrible tour bus things. Turns out I had a friend on the same trip who w my husband talked me into the day trips and I was glad I did. Would have missed Grenada, Seville, Ronda, Tangiers. And it was a cruddy beach anyway — although great seafood!

  8. Gorgeous photographs – what a wealth of experience you have given your children.

    1. Hi Cathryn, as I wrote this earlier today I was trying to think of anything I enjoyed more than traveling with my family–there wasn’t a long list. So I guess they have also given me a wealth of experience. My mother took us around the US each summer in the VW bus, and this is just the natural extension of my childhood adventures into the next generation. Maybe they’ll take their kids to the moon!

      Thanks so much for your visit, Cathryn, and welcome home. Are you settling back in after your long trip?

  9. interstitial_squirrel says:

    “Something would be gained, but much would be lost as well.” You have hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head. There is no one language in the world that can communicate all the nuances of our ways of understanding the world: something is always lacking when idiomatic expressions translate, and certain of those expressions never translate at all. The only way we can come to a small knowledge of human insight (as a study in itself) is by learning how to say it in someone else’s words, and where those words come from, and what else they mean.

    1. Hi Katie, that’s really interesting. I’m thinking that, even if an outsider can learn a foreign language, subtleties, nuances, humor and cultural references might still be lost on him/her, at least until that person had acquired a certain degree of comfort and familiarity with it.

      Hey, I’m enjoying the blog. Hi to Elena. Safe trip home!

  10. Sounds like a great trip… Your fond memories resonate 🙂

  11. ShimonZ says:

    looks like a fun trip. It can be very nice to go with a guide… and usually you’ll get to know the place better than you can on your own… unless you have a lot of time. enjoyed your post.

    1. Hi Shimon, thanks for your visit, and for taking the time to comment. I don’t know how we could have managed without a guide. I was a little self-conscious, but he was very accommodating, and designed a tour for our little family that went beyond the camel ride. For instance there is a little museum inside the US Embassy, which actually has a fascinating history, so he took us there and had coffee while we went through the museum.

  12. Madhu says:

    What a lovely day! Like you say, memories to treasure.

    1. Thank you, Madhu!

  13. megan hicks says:

    Reading through all the comments and replies and re-replies … I feel as though I’m a bus passenger privileged to be within earshot of several fascinating conversations, and I don’t even have to strain in order to eavesdrop. Thank you all.

    1. Hey, Megan, thanks for coming along!

  14. Mary says:

    I almost succumbed to the rug temptation when in Turkey — such a lovely kaleidoscope of colors! (enhanced a bit by the anise liqueur) My condo was very small, though, and I couldn’t imagine where I’d put it . . .
    Jeffrey Archer’s “The Steal” features wonderful ceremonial negotiations for valuable rugs . . .

  15. Lynne Ayers says:

    Well, Naomi, you won’t catch THIS day-tripper wrapping snakes around her neck! Some really nice photos there.

  16. Jessica says:

    I LOVE your photos! So beautiful.

  17. MaryCocu says:

    Interesting photos!


  18. Breathtaking sunsets!
    And this post is truly amazing, it’s like you are taking us to a trip with you; Loved every single photo and enjoyed a lot reading it and looking at your pictures.
    I also liked what you wondered about cats, a couple of days ago I was wondering the same 🙂

    1. Pablo, that is so interesting–it’s funny the things that pop into my head, and I like to know that you think about them too! I consider you a top notch photographer, and so your kind words are truly a compliment.

  19. adinparadise says:

    Awesome sunrise and sunset pics, Naomi. I’ve never succumbed to buying a rug yet, but have come very close, and often regretted not buying once i got home again. Hubby is always the voice of reason on our trips. 😉 You look like a real natural on that camel. 😉

    1. Thank you! My husband tries to be the voice of reason, but he is usually outnumbered. That is my daughter Bea looking so good on that camel. (I am almost always the one behind the camera.)

  20. Tess Kann says:

    Love the photos, especially that door and the sunset. The sky looks on fire.

    1. Thank you so much, Tess! It is rare to see such intense color. The sunrise, too, was unusually vivid.

  21. Those colours are so amazing 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sarah. It was unusual circumstances that had me awake and in a position to observe both sunrise and sunset from the same location–our deck–on the same day. Both were beautiful and colorful, but in different ways.

  22. How completely gorgeous! Wonderful place to be – just to soak up all those colors and scents… Devine.

    I just nominated you for two awards – Sisterhood of the World Blogging award and the
    Tell Me About Yourself award. No pressure to post them, just wanted to share. Check them out at Thanks much for stopping by!

    1. Wow! Thank you for that honor, Eloise! I am sometimes slow to post the awards, but I keep track of them and am always so touched and pleased, and I always respond. Thank you so much!

  23. Debra Kristi says:

    I love that I get to experience amazing places through your pictures. My little girl was sitting at my side and she especially likes the cat shot (of course). I love them all, but am taken by the narrow pathways and sunrise – beautiful!

  24. Dear Debra, thank you for your kind words. I love that you shared this with your daughter, and that her favorite photo was the kitty! I appreciate your visit and am loving your blog as well.

  25. eof737 says:

    These are stunning photos and such rich colors too. 😉

  26. Such an amazing and beautiful Sunrise that Gibraltar gives to the world. Love the vibrant, happy, exciting images. The post brought a smile to my day. Thank you.

    1. Dear Island traveler, thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful comments. I hope my readers will stop by your blog and see more images to make them smile.

  27. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Stunning pictures! I love all the doorways. 🙂

  28. eof737 says:

    ✿♡✿Happy Father’s Day!

  29. restlessjo says:

    Language, huh! I have yet to conquer North Africa, Naomi, but oh, I’d love to.

  30. K.Z. says:

    looks like you had so much fun! 🙂 the camel ride seems exciting!

    1. Hi KZ,
      I think the kids really got a kick out of the camel ride, especially when the baby camel tagged along after the mom.

  31. Looks like a great trip with wonderful photographs to remember it with.

    1. My blog depends heavily upon photos, and I love preparing to post, because it is an opportunity to remember and relive those adventures and connections and experiences. Thanks so much for the visit, and for taking the time to comment.

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. What is the point of having photographs that gather dust on the bookshelf or get lost in the archives of the computer. Far better to share them and enjoy those memories again yourself. Cheers

    1. I appreciate the visit, and the ping back!

    1. I appreciate your visit, and the link back.

  32. litadoolan says:

    I have always wanted to go to Gibraltar so appreciate these beautiful images. I enjoyed this post very much. Lovely to have a burst of sunshine and smiles. Great travelogue.

    1. Thanks so much for the visit, and for your very kind response. Gibraltar was a breath of fresh air–SO different, yet so familiar. (I loved the red phone booths and using pounds instead of the euro, just for a little while, and having fish and chips. It was a nice change and an easy break, with monkeys included.

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