After doing some research, we found out that the cheapest solution was to stay in Alcaidesa Marina, on the Spanish side of the border. From here, we could walk across the border to Gibraltar. To do this, you have to walk across the runway. We had no problems walking back and forth the border. We just had to bring our passports. The COVID-19 restrictions were a little bit different. In Gibraltar, it wasn’t mandatory to wear facemasks when being outside in public areas. But many people did it anyway.
It is an exceptional experience walking into Gibraltar from Spain. It’s like being in Great Britain, just with a Spanish twist. One of the first things you see is a traditional red English phone booth. We have been to London many times and could recognize many things. For example, lampposts and garbage pins. But one thing they didn’t adapt is driving on the left side – it would simply be too complicated when driving back and forth the border, which many thousands of people do every day.
We of course wanted to go up “The Rock” and see the sights and the famous moneys.
The Rock of Gibraltar is 426 meters high, and most of the upper area is covered by a nature reserve. The Barbary Macaque monkeys are originally from the mountains of Morocco and are the only wild monkey population on the European continent. Some 300 animals in five troops occupy the Upper Rock area of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve.
We hired a local tour guide who took us up the Rock in a van and showed us all the sights and the monkeys.
- The Pillars of Hercules: Two peaks that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern Pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar; the southern pillar is Abila Mons in Morocco.
- St. Michael’s Cave: A network of limestone caves at the height of over 300 meters above sea level. The largest of the chambers currently serves as an auditorium due to the chambers natural acoustic properties. It is equipped with a concrete stage and has a seating capacity of over 100. Used for light shows events, music concerts, operas and much more.
- The Skywalk: A former military lookout transformed into a glass platform and walkway with a 360-degree panoramic view. Designed to withstand wind speed of over 150km/t (more than hurricane) and can carry the weight of 340 people (limited to 50 visitors at a time). The Skywalk was opened in March 2018 by Starwars actor Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker.
- The Great Siege Tunnels: Tunnels inside the northern end of the Rock. Dugout from the solid limestone by the British during the Great Siege of Gibraltar in the late 18th century. In 1790 around 1200 meters of tunnels had been constructed. During the Second World War to house a garrison of 16000 men and water, food, ammunition and fuel to last a year under siege.
Our guide was truly local and had a huge knowledge about everything. We even got some interesting insights into his and the people in Gibraltar’s opinion about Brexit and other political subjects.
Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a very traditional British lunch – Fish & Chips and a cold pint.
From Gibraltar to Almerimar
After 3 wonderful days of exploring, shopping and pubbing, we pushed off the 1st of October. But first, a stop at a fuel station in Gibraltar to fill up on very cheap diesel. We sailed 52 nm to Fuengirola. We spent one night at anchor outside the marina. The next day we tied up in the marina, as heavy wind and rain were forecasted. We had a cosy afternoon with Bente and Peer, making pancakes with ice cream and toppings. (a tradition when it rains).
The next stop was Marina del Este, recommended to us by our friends on Carpe Diem. We were totally amazed by this place, so we spent 2 nights here – although quite expensive. Probably the most beautiful and charming marina we had visited so far. An oasis with crystal clear water surrounded by high cliffs and beautiful white apartments, and luxurious villas on the hillsides. We went for a long walk to the top of the hill where we enjoyed the views. We were sad to leave this place, but we couldn’t afford to stay here longer.
On the 5th of October, we arrived in Almerimar Marina. We planned to stay here for a couple of weeks and do some projects and maintenance on the boat.
But our plans would change completely as Spain went into state of alarm and a new lock down.