Saturday, August 15, 2015

Between a Rock and a Fun Place-- Gibraltar, UK

Rising up, like one of the Pillars of Hercules-- The Rock of Gibraltar stands as an indomitable sentinel guarding the entryway to Mediterranean Sea. Steeped in history, this iconic monolith stands as a
testament to human resolve, for signs of this- simply stroll through the labyrinth of tunnels burrowed out of coarse limestone during World War Two--  in an effort to preserve a continent.
The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is lined with vibrant city streets, and numerous historic landmarks. It's like the perfect English dream vacation without the inclement weather. You will find plenty of tax-free shopping, high flying Barbary Apes, as well as numerous beaches on your unforgettable vacation to the southern-most tip of the Costa del Sol.

If it's good enough to be the wedding site of John and Yoko in 1969-- "Yeah, baby, yeah!" lets pack our bags and see what this Austin Powers-esque- shagadelic place is all about...
Getting There:

The Gibraltar International Airport serves the entire Iberian coastline-- from Seville to Malaga as well, of course as visitors to the Rock. The North Front Airport, as it is also known-- takes up a major portion of the entire British Territory. So to drive from Gibraltar into Spain, vehicles must literally cross the airport's runway... much like you would at a school bus crossing or waiting for a train to pass...

Pretty informal considering the nefarious times we live in-- but not to fear-- there is a tunnel under construction and should be completed soon--  However, for nostalgia's sake-- foot traffic into Spain will still be able to continue across the runway. Consider leasing an auto (in advance) from Avis Car Rental and as an added bonus you get to 'cross the runway.'

 Staying There:

 Situated in the heart of Old Town is the storied hotel O'Callaghan Eliott Hotel. A perfect 'pied-a-terre' for exploring-- guests are always never far the popular restaurants and romantic destinations along the Iberian coastline. The stylish Inn features room's with warm and contemporary Irish styling. Most room are outfitted with all the comforts of home as well as spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Eliott has a health club, a sauna and a bistro with views over the Strait, Rock of Gibraltar and city views. And don't forget your swimsuit for the rooftop swimming pool. This pleasant hotel features clean rooms, and a more than accommodating staff.  

Gibraltar Cable Car

No trip to Gibraltar would be complete without hopping on a cable car to the top of the Rock. The ride up the summit provides sweeping views and children will delight in a fifteen minute journey.

But, it doesn't come without its peril. If you are scared of heights-- forget about it--  the ride can be mind numbingly scary. Suspended only by the cable two cables above- the cable cars creak and will lurch without warning- as the crowd, packed in like sardines, collectively gasp in fright... swinging mercilessly in the high winds.

Once you arrive at the summit, it will all be worth it as you are greeted by the overly friendly-- yet somewhat aggressive Barbary Macaques (Apes).


In Spain

Considering Spain's economic downturn-- not all the bargains can be found in the tax free haven of Gibraltar--  Across the border in La Línea, values abound and they are everywhere. So be sure to take a day trip to explore the Spanish countryside-- you won't regret it.
Main Street in Gibraltar

Main Street is lined with typical English shops, hard to find items and exquisite jewelry. The scenic cobblestone pathway runs several blocks, almost to the border of La Linea. You may want to consider avoiding Main Street when the cruise ship pulls into port, and find all the daily bargains already have been scooped up. Also-- be advised-- even considering the tax free offerings, prices are still over-inflated, so ask for discounts and haggle in the jewelry shops.

The Great Siege Tunnels
Step back in time while exploring history with a to visit the Great Siege Tunnels. You will discover many nooks and crannies to duck into-- each of which are filled with fables tales as well as  historical relevance. The openings of the tunnels provides unique vantage points of the surrounding topography and fantastic photography views from high up the rock. Just one look through the canon turrets will let you know what your grandfather's generation did to save the European Continent from the Nazi menace. The climb back is steep so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water for hydration--  they even post signs to advise you of the ascent you will endure.

 The Original Dolphin Safari

Experience beautiful sea life on this extraordinary dolphin outing with family and newfound friends. Dolphins seemingly are ubiquitous-- and the views of the Ivory Coast and the Rock of Gibraltar are unparalleled. The Dolphin Safari prices average 25 to 30 Euros per person with several trips offered daily. They even offer a 99% guarantee that you will see dolphins-- hopefully there's a refund if you are the .01 percent that doesn't-- But then again, who really cares... you're on the water basking in the sun and loving every minute of it.

Roy's Cod Place

Don't you ever wonder-- how so many restaurants can screw up a simple recipe like fish and chips? They come out cool- soggy, laden in grease... well not here! At Roy's Cod Place-- they get it right every time! light, crispy-- flaky cod that melts in your mouth. And guess what? The chips are amazing as well... The serving sizes of full order are so large you may only need two servings to feed a family of four... is the only way to go. The only drawback? When you have to return to the states and muddle through a pedestrian serving of what is labeled as-- fish and chips.

Be sure to sample an order of the Mushy Peas with Curry Sauce... The Shrimp Scampi is another crowd favorite that the local's highly recommend.


You won't break the bank by dropping in for a bite to eat at this raucous and high energy eatery. Prices of the food aren't designed to gouge the patrons, yet the quality of the food always remains consistently high. Bruno's is located in Gibraltar's sailing marina of Ocean Village and home to superb dining with a highly competent staff.

Enjoy a homemade juicy burger homemade medium burger-- without busting your belt-- featuring their low calorie healthy recipe. Teriyaki chicken noodles are another outstanding option that should top your list when dining here. As an added bonus, don't miss out on their two for one cocktail special-- it's like a nonstop happy hour. This joint can get rockin,' so expect to pay as you go... Euros are always gladly accepted.

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