Road Trip to Gibraltar
Gibraltar Travel Blog› entry 8 of 19 › view all entries
My friend, Scottie, had the day off today from covention duty, so we rented a car and headed off to find Gibraltar. It's about 120km from Granada to Malaga, and then another 120km to Gibraltar. We rented a little Opel Astra Diesel from Avis, and for about $200USD for the car, diesel and insurance round trip, we were on our way! The drive to Malaga was fairly mountainous and very arid. We crossed one river sixteen times (the Rio Guadalmedina) as it snaked back and forth down this arid canyon!
Malaga seemed to be a very pretty city -- very clean, graced with lots of palm trees, and situated right on the Mediterranean. I would love to come back and make this a destination in and of itself! The drive from there to Gibraltar was beautiful -- much of it along the coast.
We arrived at Gibraltar around 2:30 in the afternoon. We parked on the Spanish side (San Rocque and La Linea de la Concepcion) and walked over to Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar is HUGE! I had no idea that it would be so big when we were there in person. I guess I am used to things being smaller than they otherwise appear in pictures (a la the Mannequin Pis in Brussels)! We had to go through customs here, as Gibraltar is a British outpost (much to Spain's chagrin) and has been since 1704. We learned that it has a population of 32,000 full time residents and all its cars have a license plate that has GBZ on it for "Gibraltar British Zone.
From the customs area, you have to walk across a live airport landing strip to actually get to Gibraltar. It is a little nerve wracking to walk across -- there are no lights, no cops, no real barriers. I guess you just have to watch for British Air or the Royal Air Force and adjust your walking time accordingly!
Here is where the Battle of Trafalgar was fought, and the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English so long ago. We got to visit the Trafalgar Cemetary on our walkabout. I was amazed by how young the soldiers were who died here. The grave markers are so old, they are beginning to be all smooth.
We took a local jeep tour up to the top of the Rock -- and went inside the Rock into the tunnels mined there by the British so long ago.
From the top of the Rock, you can see Spain, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Morocco. The Pillars of Hercules is commemorated here -- where Hercules purportedly created the Mediterannean by forcing open the Straits of Gibraltar. The strategic advantage of holding this site is very apparent from this vantage point! At the top of the Rock you also meet some of the natives of this area -- the Barbary Macaques, monkeys that live at the top of the Rock and rob from the Turistas! They are cute, but brazen.
We got to see a Moorish Tower built in the year 711 that served as a look out and outpost for the Moors back at the time they first began the occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Amazing that it is still standing.
We had a great lunch here in Gibraltar -- stopped at a pub and had real fish and chips and pub ale. Outstanding! And a nice change of pace for our food.
The drive back was great -- until we got to Malaga. We hit a traffic jam that delayed our return to Granada by about and hour and a half. We were late for the final Granada dinner for our group, but it turned out fine. We ate at a restaurant near the Bull Ring called La Erimita that was outstanding. I had pork medallions that were out of this world -- particularly when paired with a nice tempranillo wine. Mmmmm! And the chocolate dessert was to die for.