It turns out that to get to Gibraltar you do in fact just walk across the runway after customs and immigration (who barely look at you) and then grab a bus into town. We looked around the first day in general. It’s quite British even with English pubs – we had a disappointingly horrible fish and chips at one. There are a few boats we know in the marina, Bingo (Aussies) and Ruby Rose from the ARC Europe.
August 29 we decided to explore the Rock. We took the cable car up and got a ticket to the National Park that gets you into all the tunnels and caves etc. The Great Siege Tunnels, St Michael’s Cave and the WW2 tunnels were really interesting. The two tunnel projects, one from the 18thcentaury and the WW2 ones actually meet up with a total of 48 miles underground. They can drive huge trucks all through them. There is a hospital and loads of barracks where they built Nissan huts into the tunnels to give the men a sense of normality even with windows to counter claustrophobia (wouldn’t have been enough for me!). The Great Siege tunnels were to fight the combined Spanish and French armies trying to get back Gibraltar. Unfortunately I was so occupied with operating the listening device they give you that I forgot to take photos! Here is a link if you are interested.
St Michaels Cave is thought to be bottomless and may in fact have a way through to Morocco via which the Barbary Macaque Apes may have travelled to Gibraltar as they are only otherwise found in Morocco. There have been explorers lost in the cave and never found. Now it is used as an amphitheatre for small productions. The operators think it is effective to light the interior up all different revolving colours which is all very pretty but makes photography a nightmare.
We also looked at a few batteries, the whole Rock literally bristled with guns during the wars. We’d started off the day with a full English breakfast (very nice) at the Trafalgar Cemetery (didn’t turn out to be the burial place of Trafalgar sailors but a yellow fever outbreak) which was just as well as we didn’t get back to the boat till 9pm. This did include dinner and the last bus back to Spain. It was a huge lot of walking, a fair bit uphill and actually down the Rock - we were exhausted and spent the next few days relaxing and recovering. We perhaps should have taken several people’s advice and taxied it but it seems that they missed out on quite a bit of interesting stuff. The monkeys were everywhere so no immediate danger of them leaving the rock and it falling from British control (superstition).
We met an Aussie couple on a brand new Fontaine Pajot 44 which they plan to gradually sail back to Australia. Everyone we meet is worried about avoiding various European taxes and the Schengen visa agreement. It’s such a stupid muddle.