Sunday, October 13, 2019

Gibraltar 9/11/2019--Spain and Portugal in Depth Trip

Casa Grande, AZ

I'm still trying to catch up on blogging about last month's trip to Spain and Portugal and want to finish this trip before we leave on the next one.  Torremolinos isn't like a beach town in the US.  The beach is clean and beautiful and not crowded.

This morning Domingo drove the bus to Gibraltar.  This was our first glimpse of the island.  It looked just like the insurance commercial on TV.

Domingo would let us off the bus by the airport terminal as the bus was too large to go to the places we were going.  We would then separate into two smaller groups and take smaller buses with our local guides.  We were all waiting for Domingo to move the bus closer.  We waited about 30 minutes.  It turns out that to enter the country you have to drive over the airport runway and traffic was held up so a plane could either take off or land.  

Our local guide later told us that Gibraltar airport is the 5th most dangerous places to fly into or out of in the world.  

Finally, we all used the airport terminal for what Estefi referred to as a "Happy Stop" and crossed into the country.  Doesn't that sound better than a bathroom stop?

The runway goes across and both ends are the sea.

Maybe this photo will help you understand how scary this runway is.  My pilot family and friends, would you want to land here?

Our British local tour guide told us that Gibraltar has by far the cheapest fuel for all the ships in the area.  They all stop in Gibraltar for diesel.

The small bus drove over some very very narrow streets.  I guess I was sucking air on those streets as I didn't get any photos of them.  Our guide told us those streets were two way traffic.  I wouldn't ride a bicycle on them!  I didn't think there were narrower streets than the Amalfi coast, but I was wrong.

Our itinerary said we were going to visit  the Apes' Den.  

I don't think we could have gone any higher on the island.  

We stopped to take photos of Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula.  I was thankful we had another clear beautiful day.

As we're leaning over the stone wall taking photos of the beautiful scenery, our guide introduces everyone to an ape.  She knew the names of all of them.  

Bill wanted me to stand closer so he could take a photo.  I insisted I was close enough.

Notice how the mama ape carries the baby on her back.  

Okay, let me explain about the jacket Bill is wearing.  We knew we were going to be gone all day but also part of the tour was going to be the World War II Tunnels which we thought might be cold inside.  Bill didn't want to carry the jacket so just wore it.

Here's a better view of the baby riding on the mother's back.

As the bus started to drive away one of the apes jumped up on the roof of the bus.  One also jumped up to the window right beside me.  I screamed and jumped at the same time as it happened so fast.

A short drive from the Apes' Den were the World War II Tunnels.  Should I also mention it is only  12 minutes to go from one end of the country to the other.  

Hard hats were required in the war tunnels.

Hal and Sue were the only two in the group that looked good in the hard hats.

You will have to click on this photo to enlarge it to be able to read about the ammunition explosion.

The record day for drilling the tunnel was 180 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet in one week.  Drilling began in October 1940 until 1943.  There entire garrison could hold 1,600 people with enough food to last them 16 months.  

The tunnels had hospitals, underground telephone exchange, ammunition magazines, power generating plant, water distillation plant, bakery, exercise area, and vehicle maintenance workshop.  There are approximately 34 miles of tunnels.

We passed by many historic buildings that I have since forgotten the names of.  There wasn't enough time to tour them.  After the Apes's Den and the World War II Tunnels my brain was on overload.

Our next stop was Europa Point, the southern tip of Gibraltar.  The Christian Shrine of our Lady of Europe was also here, but I failed to get a photo.

Hal and Sue insisted we should have a photo together.  There was a breeze so that's why the breezy hairdos. 

Our next stop was in a quaint fishing village of CatalanBay where we had a traditional English high tea.  We were in a beautiful ballroom with views of the sea.

Once again we had the whole room to ourselves.  So much better than our last cruise ship where there were so many people.

After our wonderful high tea we had some time to stroll around the fishing village.  I started collecting Christmas decorations from every country we visit.  It's one way that at least once a year you take your souvenirs out and see them.  They are also inexpensive and don't take up a lot of room in your luggage.  I was happy to find a decoration in that village.  

Gibraltar was a wonderful experience and not at all what I expected.  It was another great memorable day. 

Estefi did an excellent job of rounding up the group and getting them through customs without leaving anyone behind.  It was very busy at this time as a lot of workers were just getting off work and going through customs. I was surprised that Hal, Sue, Bill and I all got our passports stamped but most people didn't.

Not one person took a nap on the way back to Torremolinos as Estefi was still talking about Gibraltar on the way back to the hotel.

After dinner we walked across the street to put our feet in the Mediterranean Sea.  

We asked Hal and Sue up to our patio to drink the champagne but they were too tired.  I must say, we also were too tired.  

We pack a lot into a day and we still haven't been to Portugal yet.  

Turtle Safely.......

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