Alone Like a Rolling Stone

There is no Corona in Gibraltar

 We are located in the Marina Alcaidesa in La Linea, the Spanish border town to Gibraltar. As everywhere in Spain, the mask duty is strictly adhered to and most of us stick to it. Nevertheless, the numbers continue to rise, so the effect of the mask cannot be very big. Anyway, we wear it on our first trip to Gibraltar.

Gibraltar airstrip

On foot we pass the border post and find ourselves on the runway of the airport of Gibraltar. The road into the city runs across the 1.7 kilometer long runway and is closed to traffic when an airplane lands or takes off. An interesting perspective, when do you ever stand in the middle of a runway and let the wind blow around your nose. It takes us a quarter of an hour to get to the city center. We are surprised, in the pedestrian zone people walk around crowded without masks. There we are real exotics. Apparently the virus did not get a visa and is not allowed to enter here. Uncertainty is spreading among us and we consider whether we should take the mask off, on the other hand it gives us a feeling of security. I can't believe what half a year of brainwashing can do to your head, now you don't dare to go out on the street without it. Finally we decide: "There is no Corona in Gibraltar!" We look at the fortifications and pass the cemetery where the victims of the battle of Trafalgar were buried. Horatio Nelson won the battle, but was also killed. Nelson was not buried in Gibraltar, they put him in a barrel of alcohol and sent him back to England where he received a state funeral.

The Rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar is dominated by a 426 meter high rock to which a cable car leads. The rock played an important role during the sieges of the Spanish and French, as well as in the two world wars, and was extended by the British with tunnel systems for defense. Besides a stalactite cave, you can also visit the tunnel. Because the weather was too bad for us we didn't want to spend the 35€ per person on this day. So we decided to have a look at the harbour and the new Gibraltar. In the harbour area modern residential skyscrapers have been built and there is still a lot of construction going on. A cruise ship was converted into a hotel and casino, there are numerous small stores, bars and pubs in this district.

Gibraltar harbour district

In the meantime, a new drama is being staged, this time by the parcel service TNT in cooperation with SwissPost. The spare parts for the autopilot come from Switzerland and get stuck at the Spanish customs, how else could it be. As I have already experienced with other parcel services, the contact with the recipient or sender announced in the tracking is not made by TNT and also the hotline, which is contacted by me several times, is not very helpful. When I was asked for an email address they only told me that TNT would get in touch with me.When the package had already arrived in Geneva on its way back, I used a contact form on the Internet to build up some pressure, which obviously had an effect.  The next day the package is back in Seville, a customer agent contacts me and sends me six pages of forms to fill out. In Spanish of course, otherwise it would be too easy. So the drama continues, with the outcome still uncertain. Unfortunately the whole thing delays our departure and we have to let a good weather window, through the Strait of Gibraltar, pass by. 

Strait of Gibraltar

Nevertheless we do not get discouraged and visit the rock in best weather. We hire a cab driver to take us up and down the mountain in a minibus. Including all entrance fees we pay 70€ for two of us, which is basically the same price with the cable car including entrance fees, only that we don't have to walk, but are driven. Gaby thinks this is wonderful. On a viewing platform we make the first stop. Here the columns of Hercules are said to have stood. The African coast is just 11 nautical miles away and within reach.

The columns of Hercules (in the background)

The shipping traffic is busy, although we are told that Corona is conditioned, this year there is very little traffic. We continue on to an impressive stalactite cave where we meet the first monkeys, of which about 300 animals live on the rock. 

Stalactite cave Gibraltar

On the Skywalk, a platform constructed with glass plates in the ground and as a railing, you stand practically free in the air and look down the rock. Here again, numerous Barbary apes can be found.

Skywalk Gibraltar

The last thing we visit is the tunnel system that the British carved out of the rock during the great siege of the late 18th century. 

The Greate Siege Tunnels

Passing the Moorish castle we return through the old town with its narrow streets, we leave our driver in the city center to have lunch in a real British Inn. We order Fish & Chips and enjoy the sunny warm autumn weather in the beer garden. If the package still arrives and what we experience next week you can read in our next blog on Glenswelt. Until then, as always,fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.

Barbary ape on Gibraltar