I had visited the rock many moons ago as a kid and always wanted to return to see the place through adult eyes.
This was the first port of call on my cruise and the first time I was able to watch the ship dock. It was great to see everyone on deck watching the captain do his thing and park his big Oriana boat with such precision, bravo Captain Cook (that really was the captain’s name). The sun was shining today on the 27th February and it was the first time I’d felt heat on my face in 2015, at last! 22 degrees, perfect.
After disembarking the ship, it’s only a 10-15 minute walk to the centre of town. It’s a clearly signposted walk to Main Street or a short taxi ride away if required.
We took a walk through the main street which is a strange mix of Spain and Britain. British brands and stores alongside very Spanish apartment buildings and cafeterias. You will spot Top Shop, Marks and Spencers and various other British shops, plus the customary Red Lion pub and Lord Nelson Tavern; what every Brit looks for on their holidays.
After 3 days at sea, the first stop was to a cafe for some lovely Spanish coffee and free wifi. There are lots of these around so you will be able to check your Facebook and Twitter accounts to see pictures of your friend’s babies and people telling you how much they hate their jobs while you can tell the world how gorgeous and sunny it is.
We didn’t go on an organised tour of the town but instead went on a huge walk seeing all of the sites over the course of the day in Gibraltar. The walk took us up the rock which was quite a trek, if you don’t feel so energetic you can take a cable car to the top of the rock for £10.50 return, this particular cable car looked like an Alton Towers hair-raising ride to me so walking it was.
Halfway up the rock are the monkeys! You can walk amongst them and take lots of close up photos too. It felt so unnatural being there with them, I thought they would run away or jump on you but instead they just played around and groomed each other. The must do whilst in Gibraltar.
The views from up on the rock are spectacular. The ship looked like a tiny speck in the distance from the many vantage points. The walk also takes in British military landmarks such as Great siege tunnels and 100 ton gun for anyone wanting to see these amazingly preserved pieces of history.
Gibraltar is so unique being a tiny chunk of Britain at the bottom of Spain, also by having a border which is an active runway of Gibraltar airport. We took our passports ashore today and decided to have a walk over to Spain, because, well, we could.
I can tell you I’ve never walked across a runway before, especially one which moments earlier had a Boeing 737 hurtling along it. A quick flash of the passport to
the border guards and you’re in Spain, just like that. From the top of the rock we saw the golden arches of McDonalds and this was our excuse for visiting Spain today (later to find one around the corner from where we were docked).
It was very novel being in Britain one minute and Spain the next, changing from sterling to euros and English to Castellano, something we just had to do if only for novelty value.
While walking back to the British side of the runway the barriers went down and the the police ushered everyone to hurry up as an Monarch plane was coming in to land on the very same piece of tarmac we’d just walked over, an very unique type of level crossing.
Shopping is tax free in Gibraltar so grab your duty free allowance while you are here. Looking around the shops you have your cigarettes around a third of the price of in the UK. Alcohol was extremely cheap too. A litre of Smirnoff vodka was £5.95 compared to £17 in the UK. I tried a few pairs of Ray Ban glasses on that
were around 40% cheaper than back home. Aftershave didn’t seem to be any cheaper than I’d seen in Boots or Amazon though. If only we could take tanks of petrol home. Unleaded was 82p a litre and diesel 77p. Apparently people come over the border just to fill up their tanks as it is so much cheaper than in Spain, I don’t blame them.
If there is anything you’ve been missing onboard the ship, there is a giant Morrisons supermarket a few minutes walk from where the ship docks. The prices are the same as in the UK and it is HUGE.
There is so much history in Gibraltar and so much to take in. It
offers something for everyone. Sightseeing, shopping, great British and Spanish architecture and of course, monkeys. John Lennon got married here too, so that gives it the seal of approval straight away.
Don’t forget your camera, your English currency, your passport if you want to nip in to Spain and some comfortable walking shoes if you take on the rock by foot, oh yeah, and sun cream, my bright red face could so easily have been avoided with a bit of factor 20.
Book your P&O cruise now!