A Date with the Ducks on the Rock
Tuesday 9th January 2018
We arrived at La Linea and the parking spot GPS N36.15784 W005.33897 ( I won’t call it an Aire as it has no facilities at all) is right on the beach with Gibraltar Rock in the background.
We had spoken to my lovely friend Lulu Duck and she and her husband Paul had invited us to their apartment for a meal. We agreed to head onto the Rock and hopefully find their apartment for about 5.30. Easier said than done. After following a few cars down the road to Gibraltar and stupidly pulling up behind them sitting in what we thought was the queue for the border control, we realised after about 10 mins of doing nothing and going nowhere that we were just in the pick up zone for the people walking out of Gib and could have been sat there all night. Attempt two was a bit more successful and we made it into Gib and turned our attentions to finding one apartment block in a sea of hundreds and all set amongst a maze of tiny one way streets. After several attempts and a few phone calls to Lulu we finally saw her and little Arabella frantically waving at us from outside their block. Test 2 – find somewhere to park. I dropped Angie off and Arabella jumped in. Now the smart car is about as small as they come but we still struggled to find a spot. After finally shoehorning Sunny into a space designed for a wheelie bin Arabella and I walked back to the apartment with Arabella doing her best to bring me up to date in a five minute walk on everything that has happened over the last 18 months. The apartment is lovely with a view over the bay of Gibraltar, four beds and two baths and a communal pool. We enjoyed a home made meal with them Angel and Arabella and caught up with each other’s lives that had changed so dramatically since we had last met. It was a really lovely evening. Paul and Lulu very kindly offered their villa in Estepona to us to use for as long as we wished until it was being decorated on 22nd prior to a tenant moving in. How could we refuse such a kind and thoughtful offer and said we would love to. It was late by the time we headed for the border and back to our motorhome in Spain.
Wednesday 10th January 2018
We had agreed to catch up with Lulu again today for coffee somewhere. 1pm till 2pm was agreed and the smaller of the two marina’s the venue. We headed back over the border and around the eastern side of the island making our way through the long road tunnel hewn through rock to Europa Point and the lighthouse on its end.
We wandered to its most southern tip before jumping back into the car and finding the marina. The one hour slot we had allotted each other wizzed past and soon became two as we chatted in the heat of the Gibraltar sunshine.
After finally dragging ourselves away, Lulu and I agreed we would find a way to enjoy some Salsa somewhere together and arrange another few get togethers over the next few weeks before we head further east at the end of January.
We returned to the car to then head up to the top Gibraltar and to see what we could in the time that was remaining. Unfortunately the road to the top of the rock has been closed to traffic for about a year and the only way to get there is to walk, join a guided minibus tour or take the cable car. The weather had turned cooler and the guard said we should allow four hours to walk there and back and see the sights so we decided it could wait for another day when we could return with more time to spare and also see Lulu and the girls again after. We spent a lot of time driving the narrow streets – mainly because we got lost and Margret the sat nav seemed to want to take us down steps and through predestined zones but we enjoyed the chaos nevertheless as we saw Gibraltar’s inner self, away from the crowds and attractions.
With time on our hands we raided the booze isle at Morrison’s buying our first batch (I’m sure there will be a few more batches to come) of half price spirits to be put away for our return to rip-off Britain and some HOT CORNISH PASTIES. We also filled the smart car to the brim with 93p per litre unleaded. Tomorrow we plan to take Catori over for some 87p per litre diesel before heading to Paul and Lulu’s villa for a mini holiday away from our motorhome ( although she will be parked up just outside)
So far we really like Gibraltar. It has a naff little England reputation which is undeserved. Everyone just comes here to get a bit of Blighty in the sun but that isn’t it when you get away from the tourist traps. It has a relaxed but busy charm about it, an organised civilised manic-ness to the tight cobweb of steep narrow streets with scooters being the best way about, the ever so un-brashyness of what is a very expensive place to live. Million pound high rise condos are being built everywhere reminding us of London Docklands but due to the limitations of the land available and the tightness of its streets it is impossible to be flashy with ease so people tend not to have big 4×4’s and exotic sports cars. It’s like a less in your face Monaco and reminds us very much of that lovely principality but without the bling. We will definitely be back over the next few weeks not only to see more of Gibraltar but also more of Lulu Paul and the girls and not forgetting to stock up on more of the half price Spirits.
Thursday 11th January 2018
A quick drive into Gibraltar to fill up on diesel and the tank was from nearly empty to full for £52. It normally takes £95 to fill Catori so I reckoned that I saved about £40 not bad for a 1 kilometre detour. We were heading for Estepona and to Paul and Lulu’s Villa. After abandoning Catori in a street to go and find it in the smart car we finally found Paul who had come out to the road to flag us down as we passed. We left Angie at the villa and Paul dropped me back to the motorhome so that we could park it outside the villa under the watchful eye of cctv and the right side of a security barrier.
We unpacked some of the bits we would need in the villa for the next ten days and sat down in front of a roaring log burning stove to watch Netflix. The villa is stunning – own swimming pool 5 beds 4 baths huge lounge separate dining room kitchen breakfast room cloakroom and utility as well as a pretty garden and patio. It’s 100 yards from a sandyish beech and gets sun in the very private garden from sunrise to sunset. We had a quick think and within a nano second decided we could slum it here for a while.
Friday 12th January 2018
Sunny day and after a full English breakfast on the patio and taking Molly down to the beach for a walk we did nothing except lounging around the pool and topping up the tan. Angie did some washing, I updated the blog. Apart from that a lazy sunny day doing nothing at all . Thank you Lulu and Paul it’s a gorgeous villa and makes a holiday within our holiday. We have been trying to find the legalities of squatters rights in Spain. It may be just too hard to leave.