It was about an hour and 80km further down the coast to the rock of Gibraltar, although we could see it as a silhouette on the horizon in the distance not long after we left Marbella. Within that drive, the weather changed from being Costa del Sol to Southend… we had periods of sunshine, cloud, a few heavy rain showers, but primarily it was very windy.
We arrived fairly late in the day and parked up at a motorhome stopping point in a marina just on the Spanish side of the border. We had a nice sunset and a view of the rock. And 50mph gusts against the side of the The Van to rock us to sleep.
In the morning we got up to more of the same weather-wise. We got out the bikes, our passports and headed for the border. Joolz chickened out of cycling over the border so we folded up the bikes and went through customs as pedestrians. Following the border is the airport runway, which pretty much bisects Spain from Gibraltar, so you have to cross it. Traffic lights tell you when to go ‘without stopping’ across the massive expanse of tarmac. The wind was so strong we were being buffeted even on our bikes. We parked the bikes up at the cable car station half way across the peninsula and took the 400m winch to the top.
Along the top of the rock are some fantastic views , including the view of Africa, which was less than 15km across the straits. And lots of sea birds. And, of course, the barbary macaques, which despite not having tails are apparently monkeys and not apes. Yes, every time someone said ‘monkey’, I uttered ‘ape’ under my breath… and I was wrong.. 😛
The walk along the top includes the SkyWalk, which is a glass balcony over the eastern cliffs. Except you couldn’t walk all the way around because one the panels was cracked! We zigzagged down through the nature reserve and past a long of
apes monkeys. I took the Windsor Suspension Bridge, but Joolz wasn’t keen.
I also had a bit of a surprise when I walked past a parked car and a monkey jumped in front me, clearly in a hurry, the ‘chasee’. Next thing I know, the ‘chaser’ also jumps off the car… straight on to me. For a few seconds, a monkey was riding my rucksack and using my hair as reins. Unfortunately, there is no photographic evidence of this as I was more concerned with removing the beast than stopping for a selfie, and Joolz wasn’t quick enough on the draw.
The Rock isn’t solid, it’s actually riddled with caves. The most famous of which is St Michael’s Cave. The largest known chamber has been turned into a theatre venue. It’s pretty darn impressive.
We then ventured down into the town. It’s an odd mix. All the road signs, traffic lights and roundabouts are in the British style, except they drive on the right and the scooters are just as mad as in other Spanish cities. The town itself uses Sterling (although Euros are accepted most places), but plenty of Spanish can be heard. The main high street was bit of a time warp, with lots of brands and styling that disappeared from the UK a decade or more ago.
After three weeks of finding the Mediterranean coast and then following it all the way to Spain’s most southerly point (and beyond), we’re now heading inland and north to Jerez. Hopefully the weather will return to being Spanish!