Gibraltar revisited

How time flies. I returned to Gibraltar today, some 44 years 33 days since my last visit. I was on my way to a university friends reunion in Medina Sidonia, Spain.

The Rock looms majestically as you step off the aeroplane, just as the warmth hits your skin. A heart-lifting double whammy; a confusing, delightful product of air travel. This place is only 2½ hours from gloomy Manchester!

[I had switched on my satnav during the flight. After a few minutes’ delay it happily acquired satellites and showed me we were over Valladolid travelling at a speed of 916 kilometres per hour!]

I walked out of the airport onto Winston Churchill Avenue where a British bobby (complete with tall hat) was standing. I got on a bus and paid 60 pence to go to the cable car station. The passengers were chatting in vernacular Spanish, we were at the southernmost tip of Europe, a kilometre from Spain and only 21 kilometres from Africa – yet this was part of the United Kingdom!

The view from the top was breathtaking. Immediately below was the harbour where the Orsova must have docked all those years ago. To the north was ‘the rock’ itself with the Spanish town of La Linea lying just beyond the airport runway which straddles Winston Churchill Avenue and extends into the sea at one end. To the east, the Mediterranean Sea and to the south, the Atlas Mountains of North Africa on the hazy horizon.

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