Road Trip to Gibraltar

Gibraltar Travel Blog

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The Rock of Gibraltar, seen from Spain

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.

Me at the Rock from Linea de la Concepcion, Spain
  A lot of the drive was on new turnpikes, so it was new smooth roads and not very crowded.  It was very easy to get around.

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.

Live Gibraltar Airstrip you have to walk across to get to Gibralatar
"  Many Spanish come here for access to cheaper petrol, cigarettes and booze!

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.

Pillars of Hercules
  We learned there are over 34 miles of tunnels in the Rock -- housing a full hospital, an ampitheatre, weapons depot and cannon deployments to name but a few of the things inside the Rock.

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.

Barbary Macaque
  Be sure to watch your pockets and never carry food outside with you in this area.

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.

c22raf says:
Just wanted to clarify a point... GBZ on cars does not mean Gibraltar British Zone - don't know who wove this tale, but it actually stands for the following - the 'GB' stands for Great Britain and the 'Z' is the designated letter given, by the UK, for Gibraltar. The UK give similar designations to Jerey and Guernsey, the Isle of Man, etc. These places still come under the jurisdiction of the UK or Great Britsin in some way (it varies from place to place). All of these begin with the letters 'GB'and is followed with a unique designation for each seperate location. Just wanted you to have the correct fact about this, hope you don't mind! Happy travelling!...
Posted on: Nov 11, 2009
kristinasub says:
i really enjoyed in your blog , was great adventure in some way ...all those situations:baggage, gitanes, all those spices you had to buy every day for everyone ...haha, i really laughed because your writing is so interesting and alive as i was there...and of course, what i like the most , all beautiful photos i really enjoyed :o) thank you!!!
Posted on: Feb 13, 2008
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The Rock of Gibraltar, seen from S…
The Rock of Gibraltar, seen from …
Me at the Rock from Linea de la Co…
Me at the Rock from Linea de la C…
Live Gibraltar Airstrip you have t…
Live Gibraltar Airstrip you have …
Pillars of Hercules
Pillars of Hercules
Barbary Macaque
Barbary Macaque
Customs in Gibraltar
Customs in Gibraltar
Gibraltar - Cradle of History
Gibraltar - Cradle of History
Fortress Gibraltar
Fortress Gibraltar
With Fortress in the background
With Fortress in the background
Moorish Tower built on Gibraltar i…
Moorish Tower built on Gibraltar …
Main shopping street in Gibraltar
Main shopping street in Gibraltar
Local Recruiting Center for Royal …
Local Recruiting Center for Royal…
Scottie and Monkey
Scottie and Monkey
Barbary Macaque
Barbary Macaque
Babies
Babies
View to Morocco across Straits of …
View to Morocco across Straits of…
Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock
View of the Mediterranean from the…
View of the Mediterranean from th…
Rock formation inside Fortress Rock
Rock formation inside Fortress Rock
Signage regarding Ventilation Hole…
Signage regarding Ventilation Hol…
View of Airstrip from inside Fortr…
View of Airstrip from inside Fort…
Cannon from inside the Rock
Cannon from inside the Rock
Scottie takes aim
Scottie takes aim
Typical Rations for British Soldie…
Typical Rations for British Soldi…
Modern Guns at the Rock
Modern Guns at the Rock
Monkeys in the Sun
Monkeys in the Sun
Trafalgar Cemetary
Trafalgar Cemetary
Tombstone at Trafalgar Cemetary
Tombstone at Trafalgar Cemetary
Trafalgar Cemetary
Trafalgar Cemetary
Local Gibraltar Wildlife
Local Gibraltar Wildlife
European Union, British and Gibral…
European Union, British and Gibra…