Don’t forget your passport I said as I left and locked the room. Walked away and prepared to head to another country. No you didn’t miss a blog, I was actually leaving, but fear not I’d be back.
I had woken up and checked the phone, no news from Rav4. There was news from my sister, who was having a worse time of it than me without leaving Hampshire. Both her and her husband are in hospital through different illnesses. Should I go home to try and help? It would make decissions here easier! I would wait until the day was over and decide then. But for now I was going to Gibralter, the small British rock tagged on the end of Spain. It’s been a hotly contested piece of land over the years and Spain still want it back. It is said to have been of strategic importance in the past as it creates a gateway to the Med. Now it is more hotly contested because of its affluence. Vitor had given me bus details via whatsapp and I was off to La Linea by bus and then a short walk into Gibralter. The phone chimed and it was Rav man, or Alejandro to give him his real name, on WhatsApp. He speaks little English and so it was back to Google translate. Long story short the car is available to view on Friday, he will get his partner to call Thursday to arrange a viewing. I didn’t care, I was set to go, I opened the door and the word “Really!” Snapped sarcastically from my lips. It was bloody raining. Other than hot weather riding gear I have shorts, T-shirts and an all in one waterproof thermal bike suit. Stuff it I’m going. In time it stopped and I was heartened that even if I couldn’t make Morocco I could see it from the top of the rock, well you could if it weren’t shrouded in cloud.
Burger King supplied breakfast and I was set to walk for the day. Through passport control to leave Spain and through passport control to enter Britain. Then bizarrely you walk down the high street, across the airport runway and back onto the high street. I loved that, proper plane geek me. WOW no kidding this place is just one big rock fortress, full of tunnels and caves all utilised to make defences and an underground hospital. From as early as the 1700’s we have been building our very own castles. There is a cable car to the top and I took that. It was misty and cloudy but the views were still good. At the top a very abrupt introduction to the macaque monkeys that inhabit the upper rock, as a huge male sat on the railings jumped clean over my head, across the drop next to me and onto railings on the far side. A woman screamed and I rolled my eyes, inside I wondered if that monkey knew just how many pairs of pants I have for this trip! Having escaped the cable car landing point there were monkeys all over the place. Actually they are quite cool and tend not to bother visitors unless you are carrying a plastic bag as they associate that with food. Lucky I didn’t make that bin liner raincoat after all. I walked up to the highest point O’Haras battery where a huge 204 ton gun emplacement stares out over the gateway to the Med. The gun has a 28 ton barrel and each shell weighs 700kg. It can fire the entire width of the Med and a further mile inland into Morocco. I couldn’t fit in the barrel!
I then walked down to the Windsor bridge, I never realised Barbera was so highly thought of. Its a suspension bridge across a gap between two mountainous hills, ah now I know why they called it the Windsor bridge. It wasn’t quite the thrill seekers experience they advertised it as but made for some great views, Oh matron!
Back to the cafe for much my needed water and to watch the shop owners play chase the monkey out. Then back up to the top and cable car down. I had seen a bike shop on the way in and had browsed the tax free bikes. Now I went in again to actually consider buying one. It would have been a steal for the sales rep as I was in just the right mood to buy a bike and ride off. However the salesman had gone out for an hour and no one else was in the mood to sell. I was given a card and told to call the next day. I walked the old city with its wonderful colonial buildings to Casemates Square, where they used to hang traitors and invaders alike, now the only criminals there are the restaurant owners. I had a nice meal before walking back to the airport, whoohoo a plane had landed and I may see one take off. I mean the best bit was you could watch from the side of the road which was about 30m from the runway.