RV Roadtrip From Portugal to Gibraltar
Somewhere in the back of my mind Gibraltar had always seemed intriguing. Maybe the importance “The Rock” played during World War 2, maybe the extreme southern point and the strait itself and the thin line between Europe and Africa, maybe the Ballad of John and Yoko?
At any rate, the idea that we could drive there as part of this road trip was very enticing. Shani’s mom asked if we were going during our visit with them in Paris and that sort of set our planning in motion to make sure we didn’t miss this interesting little British Overseas Territory.
So after our short stay in Portugal we pointed the Hymer back into Spain. We needed to break the journey up into manageable pieces and found a good stop at Camping Playa Las Dunas De San Anton.
It was at Camping Playa Las Dunas De San Anton that we saw the most remarkable, absurd and quite frankly the most insane rigs of our journey so far. At this point we’ve seen all manner of camping car and caravan, from micro to tour bus size but at Camping Playa Las Dunas De San Anton we were in for a whole other level. Imagine a new Ford F350 King Cab, rare as that is on the road in Spain, pulling a new full size 5th wheel that must have been 40 feet long. Now imagine that guy had a buddy as crazy as he was and there are 2 of them at the campground! Insane. The rigs were far too big for any of the regular pitches and they had to park off in a field or something. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures.
Adjacent to the camping was a nice little trail that eventually led us to a small marina and hilltop enclave of partially finished houses and resort accomodations. Some looked finished but other buildings were clearly halted and no work had gone on for a while. There were also several little seaside restaurants and bars but it really wasn’t a hive of activity.
While we were enjoying the sea views a replica of the Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise pulled into the marina and docked next to another tall ship. Shani had seen a similar boat in Dubai at Dubai Creek Harbor, were they related? Probably not but an interesting coincidence none the less.
We thought the streets into and out of Camping Playa Las Dunas De San Anton were quite narrow, I can only imagine what those insane bastards in the trucks and 5th wheels thought! Slowly but with great enthusiasm we eased our rig through the narrow bits and eventually back onto the proper motorway. Next stop, the marina next to Gibraltar.
The marina is called Alcaidesa Marina and is on the Spain side, just a few minute walk from the passport control office and Gibraltar. The marina had dedicated motorhome parking spots so was a perfect location to stay. We were quite surprised at the amount of people moving back and forth across the border, both pedestrian and vehicles! It was mayhem. We had no idea how densely packed the little place was. It’s only 2.6 square miles but 30,000 people live there.
We didn’t have a good plan for our visit which is a bit of an anomaly for Shani. So we were just going to wander around and see what there was to see. Our internet friends SoonToSetSail had given us a good list for not only Gibraltar but the larger region in Spain. We didn’t have time to see the other Spanish attractions they recommended but maybe next time! Our Gibraltar list in hand, we crossed the border anxious to see what we would find. First, however, you have to walk over the tarmac of the very active Gibraltar International Airport!
We had wanted to hike up or take the cable car but we were warned by tourist information that the monkeys would attack and try and kill Sebastian! And while he is fierce I don’t think our little monkey would have any chance against the monkeys of Gibraltar. One of the other blogs we follow (Ourtour.co.uk) had a similar warning for dog owners visiting and we decided on the better safe than sorry route.
Figuring we would easily find the pedestrian only zone and old city sites we walked off in completely the wrong direction after crossing the airport. After not finding much of interest we finally got our directions sorted out and found the tourist heart of the city.
While there were a lot of ‘tax free’ shops dominating the storefronts we did find the old part of the city charming as one does in old European villages. It was quite refreshing to be in a pedestrian only area that is very much trying to be as British as possible. (Change for our water was given in British Pounds, not Euro.)
Realizing that our ideas of seeing all the sites and getting to the top of “The Rock” were rather unrealistic, we called it a day and walked back to our amazing views in the marina. It was pretty epic to be perched right on the water with Gibraltar on one side and a marina full of boats on the other. Sometimes we find ourselves in settings that just seem so impossible and surreal. We are very lucky people!
Stay tuned as we head up the Spanish coast, get a glimpse of the original Sierra Nevada, discover how much we like the south of Spain and cross backover into France.