Normally, we fly to and from Malaga airport when traveling to our Spanish home from the UK, but due to COVID-19 flight disruptions we were forced to fly in and out of Gibraltar this past trip. Not having been to Gibraltar for more than twenty years, and with mostly bad memories of the place, we were not too happy about this particular expedience. However, we found it almost unrecognisable in the harbour areas especially, where there has been billions of pounds of investment in new port-side developments. We also sensed an energy and a confidence about the town which was missing before, making it a far more pleasant place than we remembered to spend time in.

Moreover, Gibraltar’s gastronomy for so long stuck in the Britain of the 50’s and 60’s is also experiencing an exciting overhaul. Those wishing for a decent meal that isn’t fish and chips, a full English or a toastie, are now spoiled for choice, from local Iberian fish-based chiringuitos to the full range of continental choices, and a host of excellent ethnic eateries, from Indian street food to high end pan-Asian fusion. And in addition to the traditional British-style pubs*, the Rock now boasts a large choice of gastro pubs and sophisticated bars.

Thus, much to our very pleasant surprise, we not only thoroughly enjoyed our little break, we can’t wait to return…

1) LOOKING SOUTHWEST: We stayed at the famous Rock Hotel, which offers splendid panoramic views of the bay, Algeciras, and across the straights to Morocco, where sits the mountain in this picture, Jebel Musa – widely believed to be the Rock of Gibraltar‘s fellow “Pillar of Hercules…”
2) LOOKING NORTHWEST: Algeciras – one of Spain’s busiest cargo ports – lies across the Bay of Gibraltar (Bay of Algeciras for the Spanish) and together with Gibraltar’s own, far smaller harbour, offers a constantly changing vista of animated shipping. A ship spotters paradise…
A small container ship leaving Gibraltar shortly before sunset, heading for the Straights and the Atlantic Ocean beyond…
3) The La Alameda Botanic Gardens were just across the road from the hotel, and although dating from 1816, were new to us, and were a particularly exotic and lush surprise…
4) Although relatively small, the gardens are beautifully laid out, and crammed full of flora and fauna from all over the world…
5) Of all the airport lounge views we have ever seen, this takes some beating.

* My only gripe about drinking in Gibraltar is that we could not find a hand-drawn British beer anywhere on the Rock. There are “serious” ales and bitters available in all of the pubs, like London Pride and Old Speckled Hen, but these are all on smooth-flow taps, so not quite the same.

7 thoughts on “VIEWS FROM THE ROCK…

  1. Many cruise ships stopped at Gibraltar [in the BC era: before COVID], so we visited four times, fortunately all after your sad experience twenty years ago. At first we did the compulsory – for ardent tourists – excursions to the tunnels, etc. But later, like you, we enjoyed the energy of the diverse international people who inhabit and work on the Rock today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful photos, Adam, and a wise decision to escape from your flat in Oxford. I look forward to your next blog from Spain, and catching up with what Dido is working on now.

    Liked by 1 person

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