First impressions of Gibraltar

The view from our window.

The realisation when one lands in Gibraltar that the whole place is only about six square kilometres and that a road has to be closed when a plane is landing or taking off because it goes across the runway is surprising.  The first impression is of a bigger town, though of course it’s hard to judge properly with that enormous rock in the middle.

Gibraltarians speak English and Llanito, which is apparently so close to the Spanish of Andalucia that it takes a native Andalasusian to tell the difference. Relations with Spain are now more relaxed than they were. But if a passenger aircraft cannot land at Gibraltar because of weather conditions, the departing passengers go through all the formalities here and are then bussed to Malaga airport where they are decanted straight into the aircraft. Arriving passengers are bussed straight off the tarmac at Malaga with baggage to go through all the formalities here.  This is an improvement on the previous arrangement whereby the plane had to fly on to Tangier and sit on the tarmac until permission was obtained for it to land at Malaga.

We experienced one of the bad weather conditions on Friday when a thick mist called the Levanter, settled on the top of the Rock lowering the temperature considerably. Whether it was that that drove some of the apes down to sea-level, I don’t know, but I had my first meeting with one of them, sitting on a wall by the roadside chewing  something and totally uninterested in passing humans.

16 thoughts on “First impressions of Gibraltar”

  1. I haven’t been to Gibraltar, Sheona(h). Didn’t realise it was so small. Is M&S still there?

  2. Yes it is, Araminta, along with Mothercare and Bhs. In fact I read in a local magazine that M&S have just reopened in Marbella. Apparently on the first day an elderly customer hugged the manager to thank M&S for coming back.

  3. I can just imagine the joy, Sheona. It seems to be one of the first things women miss when they go abroad for any length of time.

  4. I’d hug the manager of an M & S, if one opened here!

    I read a wonderful story (no idea if it is true) that when Charles and Di were planning to take their honeymoon on the Britannia out of Gibraltar the Spanish kicked up a fuss. To which the Queen replied: “My son, my ship, my harbour…” I’d like to think it was true!

  5. Out of our window – we’re very close to the shoreline – just 20 yards in fact – we have a clear view of Spain’s “Gibraltar”, ie Ceuta across the Straits on the African mainland – a peninsula jutting out from Morocco. Hypocrisy? “Ah, but that’s different”, the Spanish say, “because Ceuta has always been regarded as an intrinsic part of Spanish territory – and you’ve never made the same claim for Gibraltar”.

  6. Boa, it’s worth remarking that the marriage and the ship have both sunk. The Rock remains as testament to ERII’s control of The Empire, if nothing else.

  7. Just managed to add a photo taken this morning. The Med reminds me of the North Sea on a bad day. Pictures of Beirut where the plane crashed into the sea just after take off show the same bad conditions.

    I felt so sorry for HM at the decommissioning of Britannia, especially with Blair beside her grinning as if he’d done something clever.

  8. It’s already beginning to brighten up, Enfranchise. The surprising thing is that there’s hardly a breath of wind here.

    The ships anchored off shore are waiting either to take on crew or for a berth in Gib’s harbour. So we have an ever-changing panorama which at night looks like a Christmas display.

  9. What happened to the picture of the Barbary ape? Did it moon at you, steal your camera and scamper off into the rocks?

    They are supposed to be quite vicious and are known to attack people (usually those with a foreign accent).

  10. Sorry, Enfranchise, I don’t have a picture of that ape. Since I wasn’t expecting to meet it, I didn’t have a camera with me. Yes, they are said to be vicious. There’s a £500 fine for anyone caught feeding them and tourists are warned not to carry anything that might be attractive to them. Unfortunately there is no list of what items that might include though I suppose a shiny tiara or Pat Butcher earrings might qualify. I shall bear your last comment in mind and greet the next ape I meet with “Hola!”

  11. Sheona, good evening and a good New Year to you. Gonna lose the extraneous ‘h’? I joined
    as ’embraforever’ because some other blogger had already bagged the fine name of ‘John Mackie’. Was, however, able to change my viewed name and you must, presumably, be able to do the same?

    To explain, it’s a wee bit of a family sore spot. My sister was supposed to be christened ‘Seonaid’. But my father was in the Army and the tradition was that a birth was celebrated by an extended visit to the Officers’ Mess, followed by proud father and CO adjourning to register the birth.

    Which is why my poor sister ended up as ‘Sheonaidhe’ on her birth certificate.

    On blog, visited Gibraltar and tried hard not to be disappointed but failed. I found it all a bit tacky and I’m somebody that finds it very difficult not to be absolutely supportive of all things Brit.

    Still, if they want to stay British, then I totally support them.

    It’s exactly how I feel myself.

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