After an appetising breakfast at a sidewalk café in the sun, we continue our way towards Portugal. But, since we are so far to the south already, we decide to pay a visit to Gibraltar as well. After all it will probably be a long time before we will be in the neighbourhood again. With no delay at the border we enter this English crown colony, but we don't have to drive on the left side of the road.
A visit to the rock of Gibraltar
This British colony (mostly consisting of the famous rock of Gibraltar) has quite a lot of attractions for such a small area: a Moorish castle, the monkeys on The Upper Rock and the caves of St. Michael.
On steep and narrow single track roads (fortunately one-way roads) we drive up to The Upper Rock, to the caves of St. Michael. The cave system is quite extensive and there is even a room where concerts are carried out. The existence of minerals color the walls with beautiful tones.
Coming outside again, we have a nice view from the rock of Gibraltar at the African coast, Morocco to be exact. But the African continent has to wait a bit before we will visit it. Now we first have to reter Spain again and we find out Gibraltar is being boycotted more or less by Spain. The customs work-to-rule, many cars are searched and they are making problems about passports and other papers. It takes us hours before we finally enter Spain again.And people are handing out propagandistic leaflets telling us Gibraltar really belongs to Spain. Well, it seems logical of course, a small part of a large country which belongs to a country far away. But Gibraltar has been part of the British Empire for centuries (officially since 1713, laid down in the Treaty of Utrecht) and the inhabitants don't really want to become part of Spain, and certainly not now the Spanish are treating them badly, although both belong to the European Union. But the British government and Spain have talks now about the future of Gibraltar and want to settle the case before the summer of 2002. The government of Gibraltar isn't a interlocutor in these talks. We will keep you informed if and when anything changes. (2002 has passed and the inhabitants of Gibraltar don't get anything to say in any decision. Spain and England claim they have found a solution but nobody knows exactly which one)
The long delay at the border has made it too late for us to drive all the way to Portugal today and we spend the night on a campsite at Tarifa, on the southern coast of Spain. The campsite shop is open till late and they have cold beer in the fridge, so Teije makes the best choice: first sit down under a palmtree with a cold beer; we will see later about setting up the tent.
Travel through Europe and Africa
with Elisabeth and Teije