When everything works out!

This morning we got up and enjoyed some breakfast – but not before being very much out of it because of a one hour time change between Portugal and Gibraltar. For some reason that really threw off our bodies clocks.

Anyway, after breakfast I packed my stuff up and Chris and I took his suitcase and all my stuff (except the candy) to the car because he was dropping me off again at the Gibraltar Nature Park so I could do some more exploring.

While it should be known Gibraltar is SMALL, like less than 3 square miles small. However, there are so many tiny little streets and one ways, one COULD get lost in town. At least getting lost wouldnt last toooooo long. Ive had to do a few roundabouts a couple times because Ive exited the wrong link or couldnt figure out the right one to take.

Anyway, Chris drove me to the park so I could take the gondola (Cable Car) to the top and check out some more of things we didnt get to see yesterday. He wasnt as excited about the park again, so he went back to the hotel to finish packing and hang out by the pool.

I was very excited for the cable car ride to the top – the sky was already more clear than yesterday so I could actually see the Spanish peninsula. I was one of the first people to the top today, which was great and not so great. It was nice since it wasnt busy and no one would be in my way, but not so nice because the monkey’s hadnt seen enough people yet today…..

I got my “top of the rock” pictures from their glass observation deck and then made my way to Ohara’s Battery. As soon as I walked out of the observation area I noticed a few monkeys hanging out on the ledge. I got my camera out to take a picture of him and he started following me, I thought it was cute so I recorded him and then BOOM he pounced on me. Thankfully after watching them do this yesterday to people I stayed calm, but then I couldnt figure out what he was doing – he was OPENING MY BACKPACK!! I yelled “Hey!” and he jumped off and with that the bite guard case and bite guard went flying. I was trying to be so good and bring it with me for my walking around – and now 5 minutes in and I am no longer willing to stick it in my mouth!

After the monkey so rudely started my day in the park I continued on. I climbed up some steps to an old military camp and checked it out. I continued on towards Ohara’s Battery. At the entrance to this area there was a sign that talked about the Mediterranean steps. I thought “oh more steps!” The information said it was 1.5-2 hours and 1.5Kms. I thought they meant round trip…Either way I decided to check out the battery first. They still have the equipment in place, its pretty crazy to think that they managed to get the equipment up the rock in the first place. the size of the equipment versus all the turns and things on the paths – it wouldnt have been easy.

I got some good views of what should normally be the view of Africa, but since it was cloudy, I had a view of clouds. Either way it was a nice view!

After walking around there for a bit I decided to try the steps. A family was coming back (or so I thought) from their hike right when I walked to the top. They kept saying “the end is the worst, it was hard.” I figured, well sure, we are on a rock. What I didnt realize is they had walked UP the rock, I was walking down (and then assumed back up). The hike down was NOT very easy. It ended up taking me over an hour – but what a cool hike and what views!!

My service was spotty most of the way, but Chris was able to come and get me at the bottom when I got there, so it all worked out perfectly! Since we had checked out of the hotel and I had finished on the rock, all that was left (on my list, he didnt have a list) was to WALK across the runway that I had driven across yesterday. We parked the car in the car park and headed to the crossing.

I had learned that I wasnt going to be lucky and see a plane take off and traffic get stopped because the planes had taken off already and wouldnt again for over 3 hours. So we decided to cross anyway and just come right back. As we were crossing a military plane was warming up, but I thought nothing of it. We got across the runway and saw a large grocery store so we decided to head in for some of our favorite candies and to check for Gatorade (its been very hard to find!)

We got lots of candy (duh!) and I got blood orange juice! We then headed back outside. Traffic was stopped and I couldnt figure it out, then I heard it, the military plane. I ran across the street since there were less people and watched it take off! It was amazing!! To be so close, having just walked across that runway, just fascinating!

I couldnt figure out why they werent opening the gates for everyone and then I saw an EasyJet plane coming down the runway to take off, the planes had all been delayed!! Thanks to those clouds I saw earlier! I got to see a SECOND plane take off! They opened the gates for vehicles only after that plane. And about 2 minutes later another EasyJet plane was coming down the runway – a third and final plane we would get to see!! It just disappeared into the clouds immediately after take off!

They opened the road and we crossed back over, after a WONDERFUL day of checking off all my things on the list!! We got back in the car and headed across the runway to head to Ronda, Spain.

Customs and Border patrol was easy. No stamps, no stopping. The drive to Ronda was an hour and 45 minutes. Chris was driving this time so he could enjoy all the experiences too! It was a toll road we took and I think we ended up paying for 5 tolls when we only needed 3 – but we couldnt figure it out!

The drive to Ronda was crazy – wayyyyy up in the mountains, windy roads and slow speeds! But it was so pretty! The drive was cool, but the reason we drove this way was to see the town. The car rental guy told me about this town and that we should go visit cuz it reminded him of Game of Thrones (means nothing to me) and Lord of the Rings (also means nothing to me, but Chris knew it). We managed to find parking and get the pictures we wanted of this little town and its bridge.

We tried to find some gelato and failed, so just got back in the car and headed out of town onto Evora, our stop for tonight. We were in and out so quickly we got FREE parking!

Our drive to Evora was almost 5 hours. I had almost all highway driving and was just so bored. Chris had such a pretty view for his time driving, my turn was like driving down I-5 AGAIN! We stopped a couple times and then we decided to switch. The moment we switched we went back to some back roads before hitting the highway again, he always gets the cool driving! We did see a fire in the distance AND a castle on a hill, so I played Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill.” I think Chris is glad there havent been more castles!

Our hotel tonight is an old convent. We arrived and found a spot to park in while we checked in. It is in a little square next to the Roman ruins and a church. Its just crazy how historical things can be! The convent has some old artwork and things in the halls, but the building is neat the rooms are fine. We have a double bed tonight and a “cell” for a room. Buts it clean and nice!

We went out to find dinner around 845- turns out not many places are open tonight (weird) and if they are they are packed, so dinner was 2 scoops of gelato. But Im not complaining!

Tomorrow we are headed to another bone church then off to Porto! Think Port wine!

Gibraltar!! We are HERE!

This morning we started out with breakfast on the roof at our little B&B – it was pre-plated for us, so we just took what we wanted from each other’s plates. I had two hard boiled eggs, grilled cheese sandwich and some water. Chris has ham and cheese sandwich, watermelon and some tea.

After breakfast we headed to the bone church (Capela dos Ossos). This was basically the only thing we came here for – but also it was a great halfway type point for our adventure to Gibraltar. We stopped at a supermarket on the way back to the hotel looking for Gatorade and some good snacks. We failed, so we tried another – failed there too!

So we basically got back to the room, checked out and got in the car for the drive to Gibraltar. We took the longer way thinking we would get a view or feel for this national park, also nope. We just drove back roads that didnt have any national park stuff. It was fine though, we got to see towns and real life in the country side.

On our drive we witnessed some fresh new fires, an argument about right of way between towns people, and saw billboard sized bulls all over the Seville area. Once we got to Seville, it all looked and felt like driving down I-5 in California from Sacramento to LA, including the Grapevine. All of a sudden we were getting closer. After the 3.5 hour drive we had made it, to the line to get into Gibraltar!

So for people who dont know, currently, in order to get into the country you have to cross OVER the runway (the active airport runway). This will be changing at the end of the year as they have put in a tunnel under the end of the runway so that traffic wont be held up because of landing planes AND because the military doenst want to lease the land back to the government for use (ie, allowing you to cross into the country). As it stands right now, this is the 5th most dangerous runway in the world – and that will disappear when the tunnel opens. I am VERY excited I got to drive over the runway!

We found our hotel – its VERY nice, right on the water. It has beach access and a pool. Our room is very nice and the shower was spacious. The room came with robes and slippers on our beds! Once we settled in, Chris was KIND enough to go with me to take the gondola (they call it a cable car) up to St. Michael’s Cave on top of the rock. Well turns out, they are VERY slow to handle the people who want to go up AND you have to walk down or stay near the top and take the round trip.

A taxi driver ended up talking me into taking a van up the rock to the caves, the skydeck and some of the tunnels. It was roughly the same price, but we had AC and didnt have to walk to any of those locations. It also consisted of MONKEY TIME!

First stop was the cave, it was amazing. They do this light show on the stalagmites and stalactites and it brings them to life. Recently they added sound to that show and its just amazing. The acoustics in there are phenomenal. They have chairs and rows set up for concerts that happen in the summer under normal conditions.

After the cave we went to the sky deck. There were some monkeys up there and the kid with us was SO OBNOXIOUS about them, I felt bad for them. They are well versed in human interaction and will do it if they feel like and wont if they are annoyed. Some people had the monkeys jumping on their backs and looking for snacks.

From there we went to the Great Siege Tunnels. These tunnels were hand dug by the Brits in the late 18th century. It was pretty amazing to see. While the tunnels were never used for battle, they did provide lots of help during many battles and wars in the area. The country remains a British zone. The language is English, but almost everyone speaks Spanish since Spain is all of like 3 miles away at the farthest point.

After the tunnels Chris was kind enough again to let me drive to Europa Point – it houses a lighthouse a mosque, Harding’s battery and their only cricket oval (who knew thats what a cricket field was called??). We got our pictures – but unfortunately it was too overcast to see Africa. On a clear day you can see Africa and its only like a 35 minute boat ride of 12 minute flight. Due to covid and normal people being safe – the flights and boat trips have been put on hold.

We headed back to the hotel after that and decided to eat in the hotel for dinner. It was very nice, sitting on the deck with a Mediterranean view and some good food with great company! Chris went with a steak and I got minestrone soup and yellow curry! Some of the best curry I have had!