Senior Citizen Travel to Gibraltar

Feb 4th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

I well recall our visit to Gibraltar. My wife and I were driving along the southern coast of Spain when we noticed many cars heading south toward a large rock on the coast. Curious seniors that we are, we decided to join them. Surprised as we were when we crossed over the landing strip of an very small airport and were stopped by authorities and asked for our passports. We asked where we were and were told that we were heading into Gibraltar (The Rock). Sounded good to us so we continued.

What a neat experience we had on the 21.5 acre plot. An immediate talking point is that runway, built during the Second World War and the shortest in the world. As it crosses the main road going south into the cit and traffic and passengers are halted to allow aircraft to take off and land. Our visit highlights included our neat hotel stay complete with a nice brit accent, walking through the main cobblestone street in the evening to find a nice restaurant and picking out some wonderful english bone china tea cups for souvenirs.

In addition to English in all its variations and of course to Spanish, Gibraltar has a dialect of its own, basically Spanish but with an admixture of English. All the locals call the city “Gib.” Gibraltar is famous worldwide for its dramatic rock. It is located in a strategic position at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It overlooks the Straits of Gibraltar and is linked to Spain by a narrow isthmus (see it in 3-D).

First time visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse range of attractions on offer in Gibraltar. Steeped in a history that has evolved from its strategic location at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, where Europe meets Africa, visitors are assured of breathtaking scenery, wildlife and architecture, that captures the unique flavor of this Mediterranean City and its inhabitants. As a VAT free jurisdiction, Gibraltar’s popularity with visitors is enhanced by its value added shopping experience in famed Main Street. Beginning your adventuring in the morning, the best way to familiarize yourself with Gibraltar’s diverse heritage, as well as witnessing some of its natural beauty, is to take an official Rock Tour to the upper rock nature reserve. A tour can be taken in a number of ways, by official taxi or tour company, by private car or by foot.

Gibraltar, also known as the “key to the Mediterranean” and The Rock of Gibraltar is made of limestone and thus far over 140 caves have been discovered in and around the city. It is the only link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Taking ‘The Official Rock Tour’ by taxi or by coach is the best way to visit some of Gibraltar’s most interesting sites. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes so at each stop you will have plenty of time to look around.  In a den high on the Rock live Gibraltar’s most famous residents, the Barbary Apes, the only wild primates in all Europe. Friendly, charming and inquisitive, the apes have lived on the Rock for centuries. Legend says that when the apes leave, Gibraltar will cease to be British, and that is part of the risk one takes entering this city.

When you leave you must cross back into Spain. The Spanish government is not happy about Gibraltar being on their coastline and want to take it back. The debate over Gibraltar’s sovereignty – should it be British, Spanish or independent. It may take you over an hour or more to cross back into Spain as it did us as they are particularly and deliberately slow to make their point. You only need your passport to enter Gibraltar and you do not have to pay a single penny to enter/drive. Many people have suggested parking on the outside (Spain) and walking across the border.

There are no shortages of places to go out in the evening in Gibraltar including dozens of pubs. Whether dining out for a meal or simply a drink there is an abundant choice of places to go. The larger hotels all offer resident cocktail bars, offering comfortable and sophisticated surroundings for a quiet drink and some offer music. For a more informal evening, choose from a selection of lively cosmopolitan wine bars or traditional pubs. A wide range of activities from rock touring, to sailing, diving, fishing and bird watching bring visitors back again and again. Gibraltar boasts the second oldest police force in the world (second to the UK’s Metropolitan Police) and they wear the traditional ‘bobby’ hats also worn by their UK counterparts.

Virtual Tourist has a nice list of Things to Do. They also have Travel Deals. A virtual tourist site has lots of photos to check out. PlanetWare has a loaded travel site. An unofficial homepage is useful with lots of pertinent suggestions. Unofficially as well is the fact that Gibraltar has much in common with its next door neighbor Andalusia. Gibraltar’s largest website offers many facts on history, heritage, attractions and photographs. Do enjoy The Rock! jeb



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