200 km was between us and Gibraltar. We weren’t hungry in the morning so we decided to eat breakfast in Gibraltar – destination of the trip.
For the first time, we had to show documents on the border. Then we entered the city. We were heading to the most southern point of the peninsula. It was incredibly difficult to maneuver between the walls of the buildings and scooters parked on the opposite side of extremely narrow streets. It was beautiful, but Transporter is a little too big for this. It could be the pleasure with a passenger car. We found ourselves in the dead end. According to GPS, we should drive further but there was entry ban. It happened on the hill and the curve, and we had to go back somehow. The guy ran towards us. He said “good morning” in Polish. He explained how to reach the end of the peninsula and the famous Gibraltar Rock. It was very nice of him. 🙂 Jurek turned back. There was a moment when we were afraid, the car would fall on the slope. But it didn’t.
We drove through the tunnels wide 3×3 to Europa Point. We parked the car and went to see African coast. It was quite early and the air wasn’t very clear yet. Still, we could see the mountain range of Africa. On our side, there was a small museum dedicated to the history of Gibraltar and monument in memory of General Wladyslaw Sikorski, who died in the airplane crash over there.
We wanted to drive up the rock, but we took the wrong exit on the roundabout and after a while, we were back in the city center. We noticed the sign „Upper Rock” so we decided to follow it, however, the signs were only on few crossings. On the others, there was nothing so we got lost again. Finally, we reached Europa Point again and asked the bus driver. He gave us directions together with the price of exploring the mountain: 10 pounds per person and 2 per car. After a moment we were climbing the very steep slope. After Gibraltar struggles, Jurek won a title of the Master of the Wheel. I recommend going to Gibraltar but with a passenger car! The width of the road was just for one car, the parking space was next to it on the slope. We found a free place at the end. The car was so tilted, that we were afraid if it is still there when we will be back from sightseeing… Kaprys had to stay inside due to the apes. We saw few of them, although not so many as I expected. One jumped even on our car grinning at my dog.
We went fast. The main attraction here was St Michael’s Cave. It was once prepared as a hospital during WWII and is now a unique auditorium. I was impressed by the size of the grotto and amazing rock formations. There are artificial lights inside, changing the color often. I’d rather prefer yellow, dimmed light, but it’s the matter of a taste. Anyway, the cave is really extraordinary.
We came back to the car, which was standing exactly where we left it. The dog was waiting for us as well. We couldn’t start right away because there was a traffic jam. About four buses and two passenger cars were waiting in the queue to go up. There was simply not enough space for them to make a turn. Finally, few cars drove off from the parking so the first bus could stand there, making the place for the next one. And so one by one they drove, till there was our turn to go.
Next parking was more or less on flat. The main attractions here: view point, military heritage center, and great siege tunnels. Tunnels were carved into the rock somewhere to the other side. They housed among others gun powder magazine, cannons and radio station room, where Sikorski was mentioned again. The officer who was working that day was the only witness to the tragedy.
On our way down to the city, we passed another parking and a castle, but we gave up on further sightseeing. First of all, it was hot in the car and Kaprys had to stay there to be safe. Moreover, we were extremely hungry! We were hoping that Gibraltar is a small place where we would find easily nice spot to eat breakfast. Meanwhile, we spent there about five hours driving around narrow streets. We stopped at the first gas station after Gibraltar Peninsula. We ate breakfast around 5 p.m. and I was so tired, I fell asleep.
There was no point in driving far so we started to look for a place to camp. We found few lakes on the map. Unfortunately, they were all fenced. We suppose it is because there’s a lot of pastures, and farmers fence the area for their animals. Exhausted, we decided to sleep on the parking at the petrol station close to the city Alcalá de los Gazules.
We were just about to fire our camp gas bottle to make some tea and coffee when we heard knocking on Volkswagen door. We were afraid it is somebody from security service to tell us it is not allowed to camp here. Fortunately, it didn’t happen. Two Polish men wanted to talk with compatriots. They traveled by car through Europe coast. Three older brothers and a student. They started from Warsaw and their destination was Gibraltar. Just like ours! The difference was that they started from the other side and they were already three weeks on the road. They avoid highways choosing more interesting roads. Two of them sleep in the car, the other two in the tent. We had a little chat about our experiences. It was very interesting meeting. I was impressed, that despite inconveniences and unexpected events (as burying the car on the beach) they still have the energy to go for such a trip. Their dream for the next year is travel to Siberia. Great respect!
Somewhere on the parking near Valencia, we met another Pole, Jarek – TIR driver. He was very cheerful, gave us a few hints for the further journey. Time went fast during the chitchat.