Gibraltar – Tuesday 21st February 2017

I started this post last night while it was still fresh in my mind – unfortunately it had disappeared by the time I came to finish it.  Now I’ve got to remember everything all over again!

First to get us up-to-date.  We arrived here at Cabopino (Calahonda nearer to Marbella than Malaga) on Thursday.  The site is okay and we settled in quite quickly as we’re staying here for 3 weeks – it’s just a shame that it’s directly on the main Costa del Sol road.  Mind you it looks like it’s pretty impossible to avoid that if you want to be located near the beach.

It’s not particularly cycle friendly (mainly because of the location and reliance on the A7) although Calv has been out and about (and managed to snap his chain…)  He’s fixed it, of a fashion, but does need a new one.  He’s also identified some work arounds for cycling, so I will be going out at some point!

We’ve also been out for a couple of long walks.  There’s a boardwalk along the beach here, and also a bit past the port.  The one nearest to us is to protect the dunes mainly, but during the week we will be able to cycle along it.

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However, we quickly realised that in order to really appreciate a bit more of the area we would need a car, so on Monday we picked one up for 10 days.  What a painless process that was!  We were then able to go shopping without having to worry about how much we bought.  But we’re now very much into the habit of not buying what we don’t need, so didn’t spend that much anyway 🙂

In the afternoon we dropped down on the A7 to Marbella.  We tried a couple of times to find a road down to the beach with no luck, so decided to continue onto Puerto Banus.  This wasn’t at all what we were expecting.  As we wandered through the port we were accosted by scores of hawkers wandering around.  Calv’s comment was ‘It’s not Monaco is it?’ We were definitely in the right place as it was lined with designed stores!  I expect it’s different when the sun’s out.

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With the car we were able to go along the coast to visit Gibraltar, which is about 60 miles from where we’re staying.  Calv has never been and I’ve visited once about 10/11 years ago.

We returned to old habits and managed to get lost in the border town, La Linea de la Concepcion, having decided that we wouldn’t take the SatNav as “it couldn’t be that difficult to find”..  Not somewhere you want to get lost…  Anyway we pulled up Google maps and found our way to the big car park by the border.  It costs 1.80 per hour to a maximum of 14.40 per day (Euros that is).

We had no problems going through – this is a busy crossing!  Don’t forget your passports!

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We were inappropriately dress in shorts and t-shirt as the weather we looked at turned out to be lying to us.  Also we didn’t check the wind speed.  We should have checked the wind speed!  It was VERY windy.  Also the clouds, I think they call them the Levant, hung around for most of the day.  Luckily we walked a lot which kept us warm 🙂

So we took the bus over the runway and into the city centre.  After breakfast in ‘Little Rock’  in Casemate Square we wandered the main street of shops (which included M&S, Next, Dorothy Perkins & Monsoon) and saw the government buildings and also the courthouse, where barristers were milling outside and there was a camera crew outside – presumably waiting for a newsworthy verdict to come in.

When we came to the end of the street we turned round with the intention of going off up one of the little side streets, I fancied visiting the Victorian Police Station, but we didn’t actually make it there.

Instead we went up Bombhouse Lane and found the Gibraltar Museum.  We took a while to decide to go on in, because it sort of undersells itself.  There are archaeological remains in there together with some pretty well preserved Turkish Bath remains that existed in the house itself.  It cost just £2 each to visit and was well worth it.  Thoroughly recommend it. (No photography allowed though).

Look out for the red plaques on buildings as they give you historical information.  We then made our way along Lovers Lane and the bastions to find the cable car.  We could see it in the distance so just headed that way!  It costs just over £10 for a one way trip, just over £12 for a return or just over £20 (each) for a one way trip and a ticket to visit the attractions in the nature reserve, which entails walking back down.  We went for the last option.  Once at the top we went out onto the terrace of the café and were very nearly blown away, the wind was vicious up there!  But we saw our 1st macaques of the day 🙂

We then headed off to explore.  We lost our map early on; no idea how but Calv thinks the wind snatched it out of my hand and I was so busy trying to stay on my feet that I didn’t notice!  Anyway this, eventually, meant that we missed St Michael’s Cave as we thought we’d gone the wrong way – as it turned out we were just too impatient!  So we turned back too early and headed on down towards the other side of the rock to see the attractions that I didn’t see the 1st time I visited, namely, The Siege Tunnels, WWII Tunnels and the Moorish Castle.  It’s rather a long walk, even though we shortened it a little by walking down a closed road (our rationale being that it was only closed to cars as it was easy to walk around the barrier).  It did mean we didn’t have to play chicken with the taxis for a while.  Which was nice.. 🙂

We visited both the Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle and I was impressed with both.  I didn’t realise how ignorant I was of the history of Gibraltar before coming here today.  I now know, for instance, that Spain itself has only held the Rock for 33 years in the last 800 or so, and the Siege tunnel was built to wait out the 3 year siege laid by the Spanish with French reinforcements.

The tunnels are a mine of information which really brings the history to life.  It’s worth carrying on to the end, even though it’s like walking down a wind tunnel.  Calv thought it would be funny to tell people that there was a nice café at the end…

The inside of the castle was unexpected.  For instance the ceilings inside are domed and I found out that the King had a suite of rooms which included a heated shower!  Whilst interesting there’s little to see in there and so the visit is short, although the top of the tower does provide an excellent viewpoint of the runway to watch take-offs and landings.

On leaving the castle you’re on the last stretch back down to the main drag.  I spotted some ‘Castle Steps’ on the right of the road and persuaded Calv that this was probably a quicker way to go.  He wasn’t too convinced that I wasn’t going to get us lost again but, although there were a lot of steps, it brought us out opposite Peacocks in the Main Street.  We were thinking of stopping somewhere for a cup of tea and a slice of cake but were so tired that we headed straight back to the car.

On leaving the car park we stayed on the coast road and spotted the Aire, that we’d been told about, on the Eastern side of the peninsula.  The wind was still really high and I took this video of the waves – it doesn’t really show just how rough the water was though. (The video is at the beginning of the post as it keeps putting it there and I’m getting cross now…!)

We decided to pay the toll on the way back (a total of 5.10Euros) back to Marbella, but much quicker.  As it was quite late and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast (and had walked about 8 miles since) we ended up in McDonalds.  And we had McFlurrys…  I doubt we’ll be doing that again for a while!

Today (Wednesday) we are both aching all over, so we walked over to the beach and the port to make sure we didn’t seize up completely.  Calv managed to get in a bit of beachcombing as well 🙂  (We also found where we’ll be watching the rugby on Saturday).

Cheers 🙂  See you again soon x

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Author: MandoraTheExplorer

I'm a middle aged accounting tutor looking for my own mild adventures with my other half before it's too late..... I've taken the plunge and organised a year long sabbatical (a year with no pay!!), sold the house and my car and am ready to go :)

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