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Gibraltar

Curious what backpackers do in Gibraltar? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day18

    Decided to take my destiny into my own hands today and get out of the house. One place I'd always been curious to see was Gibraltar, and now that it wasn't too far away, I decided I'd drive down and take a look. Shandos investigated the options and decided she wasn't interested, and would stay behind to mind the animals. So I got up fairly early, breakfasted and showered and hit the road just after 9am.

    It was about a 2.5 hour drive from Lucena down to Gibraltar, and was freeway the entire way aside from maybe the last 5 kilometres. A few tolls which was annoying (and unexpected), since I was just following Google's directions! Arrived in the Spanish border town of La Linea de la Conception about 11:15 and parked the car in a large carpark a few hundred metres from the border. I'd read that your best option for a day trip is to park on the Spanish side and walk over, as the queue for cars crossing was usually quite slow (it looked slow this morning!), and parking is both scarce and expensive in Gibraltar.

    But with my UK passport I walked straight through with no lines, and only the most perfunctory of passport checks. The next part was quite exciting, as the main runway of Gibraltar airport directly bisects the main road into and out of the town. So I had to walk across! Thankfully it's not a busy airport, with only around 6 aircraft movements each day. Just as I finished crossing the bells started ringing and the gates came down. I got excited thinking I'd see a plane come in, but it was a false alarm as almost immediately afterwards the bells rang again and the gates went up.

    I headed into town, on foot rather than forking out several pounds for a bus. The old town is very English, with the building styles and trimmings all very reminiscent of the home country. Plus all the signs were in English and the brands were all English (Marks & Spencer, Natwest etc). Lots of nationalist slogans around which surprised me a bit - "Gibraltan and proud, British like the pound" and so on. Very fiercely pro-British, though I guess it should be expected given both referendums (1967 and I think in the 90s?) returned a "stay in the UK" result.

    Unfortunately all of the shops were closed since it was Sunday, so I had to content myself with window shopping instead. Still very un-used to that aspect of European life. But the upside was that all the pubs (which were of course open) had Sunday roasts available, so I picked out a nice looking place and ordered, only to discover the Sunday roast wasn't ready until 1pm! You can take the territory out of Spain, but...

    I had English fish & chips instead - I didn't want to waste 45 minutes waiting for the kitchen, as I had a Rock to climb!

    But I wasn't walking up, there's a cable car that takes you to the almost-summit. Seen in profile, the Rock actually has three summits, two about the same height at the northern and southern ends (412 metres), and a slightly lower one in the middle, which is where the cable car dropped us off. Great views during the climb - the mountains of Africa in one direction, Spain and the Costa del Sol in the other, and the UK underneath us. The weather wasn't quite co-operating; more high cloud causing washed-out photos, but it was clear further out so I kept up hope!

    Had a good look around from the observatory on the central summit - you actually can't go to the higher two as they're still active military installations, complete with radar domes, antennae and razor wire. Loads of monkeys around as well, which Gibraltar is famous for. Not sure exactly what type of macaque they are, but they were tail-less so very different to the ones we were used to in Asia.

    I hate monkeys. They're fairly aggressive, and snatch at bags and dive into pockets. I even saw a few people get jumped on, though they weren't hurt or anything. They're very quick to bare their teeth, and I'm always worried about being bitten and getting hepatitis or something. A few cute little baby ones around, but I generally steered clear.

    I wanted to check out some of the older military installations still visible on the Rock so I did some bushwalking - it's actually an enormous area. After a long and arduous climb I made it up to O'Hara's Battery, where the 9.2" guns faced out to the Mediterranean Sea. Unfortunately for me it was closed! But I managed to do some scrambling nearby and found my way to just under the military installation at the southern summit which had a great view. And unlike the cable car area, I had this all to myself - until a couple of British expats arrived with their dogs, having walked the entire way up!

    I started wandering back down towards the cable car station, stopping off at St Michael's Cave on the way. The Rock is chock-full of caves, tunnels, supply trains and hidden bunkers, both man-made and natural, though obviously many are still off-limits to the public. I was interested in checking out the caves, but it was 10 pounds for entry so I politely declined!

    Back to the cable car station and by now it was getting late in the afternoon and I had a long walk and drive ahead of me, so I bought a Coke, had one last look around and then descended. Long walk back through town, across the runway, across the border, then back to the car around 4pm. And off I went, back down the freeway from whence I came! One last look back to see the Rock bathed in sunshine - naturally!

    Two and a bit hours drive back was uneventful, though a bit rainy in places as I went through mountains. Southern Spain is surprisingly rugged, much more than I expected. Shandos had done a bit of cleaning in my absence but not much else! Dogs all happy to see me of course.

    Had a great day and I'm glad that I went. It's a strange place; not too touristed but I guess it's the winter months. Probably 75% of the tourists were Brits, and most of the rest were Spanish. The old town area is nice, but outside of that it's mostly grim apartment buildings on reclaimed land which reminded me a lot of Hong Kong. Not somewhere I'd want to live I don't think!
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  • Day78

    When the steward turns down our bed at night he leaves El Diario, the schedule for the next day, in our cabin. In last night's edition we were informed we'd be arriving in Gibraltar early in the morning and would be able to go ashore at 8:00 AM. We'd once again set sail at 2:00 PM so we were asked to return to the ship by 1:30. There was also a note that we should set our clocks back one hour for the time zone change.

    Brenda and I slept in, had breakfast and didn't go ashore until almost 9:00. Given the short time we were in port, we didn't go up to the park at the top of the rock where there are apparently monkeys everywhere. Next time. We explored the town within the fortification walls which is now primarily geared toward the tourist trade. Of course, this was not always the case. Due to it's location and natural defenses, military minds said whoever controls Gibraltar controls the Mediterranean. It was first occupied by the Phoenicians in 950 BC and was later taken over by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, the Christians, the Moors (again) and then Spain who eventually lost it to the British. They're still arguing over possession to this day.

    I have to admit, I expected the rock to be more impressive. You know, like your first glimpse of the rockies or the Empire State Building. It's iconic. Everyone's heard of it. I guess it's one of those cases where all the hype set me up for disappointment. Still, it was very cool to see it and photograph Roch and the rock, but my initial reaction was, "That's it?!?"

    After walking through the old town for a while we decided we'd had enough and set out to return to the ship. It was only about 11:45 and it took about thirty minutes to cover the distance into town so we'll be back on board well ahead of the 1:30 cut off.

    Strangely, as we approached the dock at around 12:15, the Sovereign's whistle sounded. "That can't be the call to boarding, there's still more than an hour to go" I said. We then noticed we weren't the only ones who cut short our stay in Gibraltar. I figured we weren't the only ones who found the place a little dull.

    By the time we set foot on deck it was 12:30 so we went up to Deck 11 for lunch. We had just had time to finish eating when I thought I felt the ship move. It can't be, I thought. It was barely after 1:00.

    That's when it hit me: we should have waited until tonight to set our clocks back!

    It's a good thing we found Gibraltar so boring since, if we'd have been enjoying ourselves, we might have missed our ride to Las Palmas.

    Somebody up there was looking out for us.
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  • Day4

    Today we where in Gibraltar 🇬🇮, one of my favorite ports.
    We had a nice stroll into town, and after Maz had bought some stuff from the pharmacy just by the square at the town entrance, we decided to have a walk down one of the side streets, as Main St was as usual packed with tourists.
    We only walked along the next parallel street to Main St, which was Cannon Lane, but it made for a much more pleasant experience, as there were no crowds and it was quite shaded, which was a welcome relief from the sun.
    At the end of the lane we turned back on to Main St and had a drink at The Royal Calpe pub.
    It's quite nice in there and we've been a number of times before.
    After that it was a stroll back to the ship for a sleep before the evening drinks.
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  • Day3

    I've been to Gibraltar 🇬🇮 many many times and I love the place, but this time I decided to give the old town a miss.
    On the walk along North Mole Rd, which takes you from the ship right in to the old town, I turned right at the first traffic island, that's the one with the statue commemorating the evacuation of the civilian population of the rock in WWII.
    There is nothing of any historical interest down there, but it was nice to get away from the tourist magnet of the old town.
    It is basically just a residential area, where I passed, the local Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall, and the local swimming pool, this as well as the indoor pool, has two outdoor pools fed directly from the sea.
    Further along the road is the very British Morrisons supermarket along with the obligatory McDonald's.
    Next came St Bernard's hospital which looks very new and modern.
    Finally I came across a lovely little park with views of the cruise ship and part of the port, quite an industrial view but nice all the same.
    On the way back to the ship I crossed over to the other side of North Mole Rd, to another residential area which overlooks the other side of the harbour and the end of the airport runway.
    It was quite exciting to see the planes takeoff, but it must be very noisy for the residents.
    So that was about it for my stroll around this part of Gibraltar, it did make a nice change from the old town, and was interesting in its own way.
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  • Day5

    Leider haben wir Regenwetter in Gibraltar erwischt. Das hält uns natürlich nicht von einem Rundgang durch die Stadt ab.

    Auf ein größeres Ausflugsprogramm verzichten wir - wir waren vor 15 Jahren schonmal hier 😜

  • Day3

    Nach dem Champagner gab es Mittagessen. Dieses Mal Gosch.
    Gurkensalat, Algensalat mit Sesamdressing, Garnelen, Krabben, Backfisch, Hodeifisch, Knoblauchbaguette, Bratkartoffeln, gegrilltes Gemüse, Cocktaildipp.
    NussSchnecke und Panini zum Nachtisch. Anschließend Cocktails.
    Virgin Colada und ein Madonna. Abschließend ein Southern Comfort.

  • Day3

    Zunächst ging es vom Schiff in einer großen Menschenbewegung in den Hafen. Unsere Boardkarte wurde beim Verlassen des Schiffes gescannt damit scheinbar beim Wiederbetreten des Schiffs geprüft werden kann, ob auch alle wieder anwesend sind. Vom Hafen aus sahen wir die riesigen etwa kleinbusgroßen Puffer, die das Schiff vom Hafenrand fernhielten - sehr eindrucksvoll, wie ich fand. Die vielen Menschen teilten sich auf verschiedene Minibusse auf und so kam jeder zu seinem Ausflugsziel der Begierde.
    So auch wir.
    Nach einer etwa 15 minütigen Fahrt kamen wir an einer Anlegestelle an, wo das Boot bereits mit Gästen wartete. Wir bekamen keinen richtigen Sitzplatz mehr, so nahm ich den Rucksack als Auflagefläche und setzte mich auf die Treppenstufen, die zum Bug des Schiffes führten. Es sollte sich herausstellen, dass dieser Umstand ein wahnsinniges Glück für uns war. Das Boot war mit geschätzten 70 oder mehr Person besetzt und nur etwa 5-10 Personen hatten am Bug Platz um zu Schauen. Die meisten Gäste waren umgeben von anderen Gästen ohne direkte Sicht vom Rand des Schiffes. Die See war rau und der Wind wurde heftiger je weiter wir aufs offene Meer fuhren.
    ... Und dann sahen wir in der Ferne auch schon Flossen aus dem Wasser blitzen. Aus unserer PolePosition sprangen wir an Bug des Bootes und hielten unsere Kamera auf die näherkommenden Delphine. Man musste bei der rauen See schon gut die Balance halten - sich und nicht zuletzt die Kamera gut festhalten.
    Irgendwann hatten wir das unverschämte Glück, dass ausgerechnet an unserer Seite direkt vor uns sich wilde Delphine zeigten. Nach Auskunft der Sprecherin werden die Delphine nicht angefüttert und es darf auch nicht nach ihnen gefahren werden. Man darf sich nur in die See stellen und hoffen, dass die Delphine zu einen kommen.
    Wir hatten das Glück - es war ein sehr schönes Erlebnis.
    Auf der Rückfahrt zur Anlegestelle fuhren wir an einer Flugzeuglandebahn, auf dem Meer gelegen vorbei. Und tatsächlich landete direkt in dem Moment ein Passagierflugzeug. Die Luft roch wenige Sekunden nach dem Aufsetzen des Flugzeuges nach Gummi, der beim Aufsetzen auf die Landebahn abgerieben wird - herrlich :)

    Vom Meer aus konnten wir den Affenfelsen sehen und dort wie sich beim Aufsteigen der Luftmassen das enthaltene Wasser zu Wolken kondensierte.

    Busse brachten uns wieder zum Schiff. Die Boardkarten wurden eingescannt und wir wurden persönlich mit unserem Vornamen angesprochen. Das eingescannte Foto von uns wurde mit unserem Gesicht verglichen und wir durchgingen eine Sicherheitsschleuse wie am Flughafen. Gepäck wurde durchleuchtet und wir durchliefen Metalldetektoren. Anschließend gingen wir auf die Kabine.
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  • Day3

    Gegen 7.15 Uhr sprach der Kapitain durch die Kabinenlautsprecher zu uns. Der Schiff wird nun mittels schwimmener Tankstation betankt. Rauchen sei strickt verboten.
    Einmal dadurch gewäckt wollten wir das Schauspiel nicht verpassen, nahmen uns einen Nesspresso und machten uns auf dem Balkon gemütlich.
    Wir machten uns frisch für den Tag. Wir haben einen Tagesausflug auf Gibraltar bereits von zu Hause aus online gebucht. Diese Buchungsapp steht auch auf dem Schiff kostenlos zur Verfügung. Sowohl auf dem Smartphone als auch auf dem Fernseher in der Kabine, sowie auf den Monitoren vielfach auf dem Schiff verteilt. Während Susi im Bad war habe ich das angebotene Tagesprogramm studieren können.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

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