Updated: Nov 4
"More like the first night"
After a 2 and a half hour flight (from Manchester Airport) the plane landed on the fairly unique runway of Gibraltar's only airport. I'd say it was the most exciting landing I've had on a holiday, since the runway is famously located super close to the Spanish border and has bodies of water on each end. One miscalculation and the plane would've ended up in the water!
In order to officially enter the mainland area of Gibraltar, away from the airport, it is mandatory to walk across the airport runway. This is a definite highlight of visiting Gibraltar, as I can imagine not many countries allow you to do that!
After the runway, it's really simple finding your way around. Gibraltar is quite a small peninsula and most things can be found by looking at Google Maps for a minute. The road signs are also there, of course.
"One of the best days of my life!"
This was the big day, the most important day of the adventure where I'd be hiking up the rock, meeting the famous Barbary Macaques and learning the fundimental history of the British owned peninsula.
The day started with me choosing not to take the cable car up the rock. I'd highly recommend walking up the whole way. This way, you get to experience the Mediterearan Steps (which follow up the side of the rock) and take in the view of the Alboran/ Mediteranean Sea as you gain altitude. Fun fact; I'm actively working to conquer my fear of heights and this route certainly helped that (even if the thought of a monkey attacking me was on my mind). The steps have the opportunbity to be dangerous, if you're not careful, but as long as you wear shoes with good grip and stay away from the edge you'll be fine.
TO THE TOP
The top leads to plenty of amazing views from every angle. To the west you can see Sierra Del Cabrito looming over Spain, to the north there's the border (where you can see the difference in Spanish street layout), then the east shows the gorgeous Mediteranean Sea as the sun bounces off the surface, and finally, the south presents the amazing scope of the Atlas Mountains (passing through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Yes, the damn ape wanted to loot from my backpack. Honestly, an amazing experience. Notice how no one else had a bag, except for me?
There's a lot of history around the Rock of Gibraltar to learn about as you walk around the rock's attractions. I didn't have enough time to absorb everything, but there's some awesome tunnels to explore (which are massive!), batteries to enter and historic ruins to add to the war themed history of the location. It's crazy to think this place was very strategic during both world wars and is still very important for the UK today. Unfortinately, while I visited, the Corona Virus was always looming over while I was trying to enjoy the place for what it was. Food deliveries were worryingly low, so supermarkets (like Morissons) had many empty shelves and any cafe I visited had limited menus. Residents were forced to cross the border to fetch groceries from Spain instead. From what I believe, Borris Johnson really screwed up when it came to Gibraltar and it's people.
Enjoying a coconut smoothie, then this cheeky monkey sneaked his way in to steal a woman's bag!
"A day with wildlife!"
This day was mainly unplanned and improvised, but ended up being a very eventful day full of exploration and meeting some super amazing animals
Alameda Wildlife Park
A lovely, hidden zoo (of sorts) only costing £6 to enter and provided a great 40 minutes of entertainment before I walked to Ocean Village. This place contains a good variety of animals, who all looked a bit bored, but were very excited to see me around, since I was the only person there. What I didn't expect was... A walk in Lemur enclosure!
If I had the option, I'd love to work here. It seemed slow, when I was there, but the staff were all super friendly and the animals were super chill. I'd definitely be the one to keep them company and enjoy feeding them. It's rather sad seeing them looking bored, but it's also great to see apecies of animals I've never been up close with before. The Marmoset species on show there were probably my (second) favourite to see, being such tiny creatures, making adorable squeeky noises to greet me.
A mask was worn to protect these cuties.
(Lemurs can catch COVID-19)
Walking through the Main Square
to Ocean Village
I didn't take any pictures, but just outside of my hotel was Main Street, which is a (mainly) straight path to the Mian Square, full of familiar shops, mixed with unique cafes and markets. I wish I took pictures, but I was having too much fun walking in and out of different shops! Sadly, I wasn't able to enjoy the cafes I visited too much, due to the lack of food deliveries at the time.
After the Dolphin Adventure, I spent the next few hours taking a second look around the shops, bought some food and supported a trader (selling awesome bracelets) at Main Square. Thankfully, Gibraltar is a very peaceful place. Crime is very rare, and only really exists via immigrants crossing illegally from Africa through the Strait meaning to enter the Spanish order from Gibraltar. I didn't encounter anything like this, but it's always something to look out for when visiting Gibraltar.
Watching The Sunset At The Most Southern Point
Getting the bus was an experience. I must have looked like a clear tourist freak or something. While waiting for the bus, there was a building site opposite the stop and a (spanish) worker left the site to cross the road to help me. Very nice of him, but I didn't think I gave off "tourist vibes", unless the population of Gibraltar is so small, people recognise a stranger easily.
The bus driver was also VERY strict with me wearing a mask. Came across as odd, since the rest of Gibraltar was relaxed on it (except in Morrissons. Exact change was also needed to ride the bus. Having only notes and a card, I obviously annoyed the driver, but he let me on free as well and eventually (I think) pittied me in a way for being so awful at Gibraltar bus travel. Awful at the time, but funny to laugh about now. But yeah, make sure you have the right change and look up how to use public transport safely there!
At this point I had nearly seen everyhting I wanted to see. I hadn't explored the east side of the pininsular yet. There's no shortcut there, I had to walk around the famous rock. Seemed like effort at first, but Gibraltar isn't a big place, but it also offered a great chance to see the less busy side of the peninsula. Along the way was a lot of construction, but also the huge cemetary (as seen from some photos taken at the top of the rock).
"The beaches were completely empty and in fantastic condition!"
Spending the afternoon around the gardens
The Botanical Gardens are simply beautiful and thankfully not too busy. I easily spent the majority of the day chilling in my favourite spot without any interruptions. Spending half the day doing nothing is a great way to soak in what it'd be to live in Gibraltar. I'd say it's peaceful. Very peaceful. School kids actually respect the gardens, as they pass through safely. When that's the case, you know it's a decent place. Infinitely better than back in Merseyside.
Time to go home!
Gibtraltar is a great place to visit alone. It's a very peaceful peninsula with so much to see on your first adventure there. I would definitely recommend traveling here in September, October or November to avoid paying higher prices and busier times. I visited in November and was still able to enjoy perfect weather and warm temperature. I'll definitely return here after a few years to experience anything I missed out on and to see the Macaques again!
^ Watching my plane land in front of me ^
Gibraltar Is An Amazingly Beautiful Location & Definitely Worth A Visit!