We set alarms, we had a wake up call from our neighbours and I think if truth be told we were too excited to sleep all that much anyway. This year was going to be the year that we finally got to Casemates Square to see the balloon release! Two years in a row we have missed it. The first year because Mr BOTR was recovering from surgery. Second year because we got into town to late. This was going to be a case of third time lucky!
We caught the bus from Scud Hill, which is just a few stops into most routes that start in the South District, it reminded me of two things. Buses in Malta (anyone who remembers the old buses there will know exactly what I mean) and the Tube at rush hour. It was standing room only! I would have tried to get a picture but I couldn’t move my arms! Although it was very cramped, it was very different from both the Tube and Malta’s buses because everyone was in a fine friendly mood, laughing and giggling as the driver managed to squeeze on more people. He was such a great sport. We got off the bus on Line Wall Road. And walked down to Casemates from there. A sea of red and white greeted us. We saw heaps of people we knew and met a lot new faces that we didn’t! (As we went with our neighbours we met a lot of their friends and extended family.) And I finally got to meet in person a lovely dude from Twitter who is a wealth of info with anything Gibraltar related. Hello again Tony! 🙂 We saw people in fancy dress and one very glamorous lady who had the best National Dress I saw. My favourite part of the crowds though were the doggies all dressed up!
For someone who is sort of on the outside, in so much as we have only been here three years, this day it is just an amazing thing to be a part of. You can not help but be amazed at a) the volume of people b) the vast array of people in the crowd c) the sheer excited feeling emanating from everyone. We were amongst literally thousands of people and we didn’t spot anyone causing bother, this just wouldn’t be the case in London!
We got to Casemates Square and it was packed. We ended up further away from the stage than I would have liked (there is the goal for next year! 😉 ) but we were there. With everyone. Listening to music and chatting amongst ourselves.
Finally the speeches began. The crowd cheered as they rallied against the harsh treatment of Gibraltar by Spain. It was enough to give me goosebumps on a couple of occasions. You can’t help but feel for the people of Gibraltar and the way they have been treated over the years. That border queue is out-and-out bullying. I have only ever been caught in the queue a few times but it is a massive pain in the butt for the whole of Gibraltar, it causes the entire country to go into gridlock and worse still it impacts so many Spanish people who come here to earn a living. So Madrid is giving instructions to screw their own people over. Anyway that’s enough about the politics of the day…
So after the speeches there was singing. A song that the evacuees sang upon their return to Gibraltar after WW2. It was so moving. And then it was time for the balloons.
We were stuck behind a big scaffold which obstructed my view somewhat so sorry in advance…
After the fun of Casemates we made our way to O’Reilly’s in Ocean Village for lunch. Ocean village was dressed up in red and white bunting and it seemed that most of Gibraltar was there having lunch. It was so busy! There was live music playing right next to us and it was so much fun to see everyone having such a good day. It was late afternoon by the time we left. Mr BOTR went to watch more live music at Rock on the Rock, and Dad and I went home. I wont lie I wanted a nap! Hahaha.
At around 10pm we left the apartment (Mr BOTR was now attending the National Day concert, hot tip for music is local band Midriff) and we (Dad and I) went to find a place to watch the fireworks. A friend of mine who lives in La Linea, could see the fireworks from her apartment and I have to say that this year they were just brilliant. Even better than last year! Shame about the trees that got in the way… I left my camera to rest on a wall so the shots would come out ‘clearer’… Ah well there is always next year!
Roll on National Day 2015! 😀