Today was an interesting day in many ways. We headed towards Gibraltar in our trusty Opal - about an hour and a half drive west along the coast. It was a pretty day - much warmer and less windy than when we came by Gibraltar less than a week ago. We made our way to La Linea de la Concepcion which is the Spanish border town closest to Gibraltar, which is a British territory. We parked underground in a large parking lot on the Spanish side of the border, came above ground and headed towards the border. It was an easy passage through passport control - the British barely looked at our passports. Dang, I was wanting another stamp! After we made it through border control, we walked across the runway.... Yep, the main road south into Gibraltar crosses over the one active runway at the airport. The sign says to look right, left and up. That was a first! Then we made our way into the main part of Gibraltar which is visually kinda blah as it is mainly an old military town - nothing fancy at all.
Then we promptly got lost. We were looking for Casemates Square as we needed to withdraw some Pounds Sterling from an ATM so we wouldn't have to pay a surcharge if we used Euros. Finally found a woman sitting on a step, smoking a cig and playing Candy Crush. We asked her where Casemates Square was, and she gave us some crappy instructions. We finally ran into another lady who gave us good directions, and even called Steve "love"! We made it back to Casemates Square, and decided to eat lunch. Big old hunk of Cod and some chips (fries), washed down with a Diet Coke - yum! Then we found an ATM, got some local dough and then headed over to the bus station to catch the bus. Hopped on Blue Bus #2 and made it to the cable car station. We bought a Hoppa ticket which gave us a round trip pass on the bus. Made it to the cable car station and bought one way tickets to the top of the rock. The cable car holds about 10 people and ran every 15 minutes or so. It was a very smooth and quick ride to the top of the rock - highest point is 1400 feet tall.
At the top, we saw our first Barbary Macaque which are pretty popular here on the rock. There are about 200 of them residing on the rock and they are pretty tame. They can get aggressive though so tourists are advised not to feed them. What an amazing view from the top! We took in the sights and then began to walk south along the top of the rock. We decided not to go to all of the sites because it would have been a heck of a lot of walking - we began to walk along the edge and I took tons of pictures - so many neat things to see. Then we got lost again - geez. Not a road sign anywhere so our map was worthless. We backtracked several times before finally coming to a reference point. Did I mention that I bought a one way cable car ride up? Yep we walked the whole dang rock back and forth, straight up at times, straight down at other times. We saw apes, flowers, rocks, more apes, old fort stuff, more apes, flowers, vines, lots of water, birds, interesting signs, more apes....you get the idea....we walked a lot. We finally made it down to the bottom and back to the bus station, but the last bus had run 20 minutes before we got there. Great. So we walked some more and found another bus stop that looked more promising. Managed to catch red bus #9 that took us back to Casemates Square. Since I still had some Pounds Sterling, I bought a couple souvenirs and two Diet Cokes. Then we began to hoof it back towards the border, across the airfield, through customs (no cigarettes, no booze) and back to the parking lot where Opal was waiting for us.
I put the parking ticket in the machine to pay, and the ticket was invalid. Crap. We went to another machine, invalid. Crap. Pressed the information button, and since we were back in Spain, the dude on the other end of the squawk box didn't speak much English. Crap. He said "Centro de Control" which I guess meant for us to come to the office. So we went in search of the office and managed to set off a horrendous squealing alarm - remember, we were underground and it scared the crap out of us. We finally found the Centro de Control on the complete other end of this football field size underground parking lot. I gave the guy the ticket and said it didn't work. He scanned it, and charged us 16 Euros to get out. Then we had to hike back to find Opal and get out of Dodge! Whew - back on the motorway headed East again.
So we are motoring along just fine, and had to exit off at one scheduled off ramp to avoid a toll. Ahead, we saw blue flashing lights and part of the exit was blocked. Then we saw the two Guardia Civil officers, one of them brandishing a shotgun (gulp) and the other one was checking cars. I told Steve to try to look innocent. We were waived on thru, and then we saw the third Guardia Civil officer preparing the spike strip to throw it down on the road. Gulp. We got out of Dodge, again. Geez, what a day! I was very happy to get back to peaceful Benalmadena for our last night before heading to Sevilla tomorrow. We unloaded the car and headed down the street to Pasta Fresca for a well deserved supper. Back to the room, packed up and settled down for the night. I think my legs are going to be hurting tomorrow!