Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Tuesday 16 February – Gibraltar, Palmones and Rota

Where’s Colin? He’s at a free Municipal Aire somewhere in the vicinity of Rota, at N36º38.315, W6º23.495. Having not arrived until gone 6pm, taking a walk along the beach was more important than working out exactly where we are in relation to the town.

The plan for this morning was that I would leave Mick drinking coffee in MacDonalds, situated immediately opposite the border between Spain and Gibraltar, whilst I dashed into Gib to a post box, it being cheaper to send the latest batch of postcards from there (not to mention that my language skills are much better suited to procuring stamps in Gib). Failing to find the entrance to MacD’s car park, Mick missed out on his coffee and wifi, and I had myself a longer walk than intended (longer in duration too as, with poor timing, the access across the runway was closed for a plane to come in when I was just a few paces away).

A mild fret that I would look awfully suspicious to have speed-walked into a country and then speed-walked back out within a quarter of an hour was unfounded (or, at least, no-one in Border Control batted an eyelid at me). My slightly less mild fret that I had posted my passport along with the postcards was equally needless.

Back into Spain a trip to Decathlon and Lidl preceded our re-arrival at Palmones, for attempt 2 at lunch at friend Juan’s cousin’s restaurant. It was every bit as busy this lunchtime as it was on Sunday, but we had a reservation this time and enjoyed some very well-cooked prawns, fish and squid.

Last night’s planning session resulted in me coming up with a list of towns we could visit during the remainder of this trip and had us conclude that we just about have time left to visit all of them, if we so choose, but our destination for tonight was left in the air. The main options were to go to a €13 campsite west of Tarifa, or to stop off at a €1 service point right by Tarifa, then find a car park for the night anywhere we fancied. With the campsite being so cheap, that was my favoured option, the SatNav was set and off we went.

Based on the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol, I’ve become used to campsites being open all year, so it didn’t occur to me to check, and it wasn’t until we were sitting outside its closed gates that we found that we were 2 weeks early for this site's season. Every cloud and all that, because if we hadn’t aimed for this campsite, we wouldn’t have subsequently driven through this sand dune (the road surface just after this photo was ‘interesting’ too, having been severely corrugated by tree roots – a bit of a surprise when you hit it at an inappropriate speed in a vehicle with crockery in the cupboards!):

__Don’t know where those clouds came from. Everywhere else we’ve been today has had clear blue skies._

All of the resources were consulted, we rued not having visited the service point on our way past Tarifa (the toilet was the cause of the critical need for services), and a revised destination was set. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed my mind again. We ended up, after a long drive (130km?) at Rota, with an hour spare before sunset (which was at 1905 tonight), so with only a pause for a cup of tea (we were severely under-teaed today) off we went for a stroll along the beach:

Situated right next door to a naval base, it’s a good location for a plane-spotter – five or six different aircraft passed over whilst we were out.

With the mission accomplished of witnessing sunset (and having seen a good variety of birdlife, almost none of which I could identify), back through the car park adjacent to the Aire we wandered, for a nosey at the motorhomes parked there. Two of our neighbours from La Linea are amongst them (maybe more – the two we spotted are particularly distinctive vehicles).

(Random statistic: Number of full drinks knocked over onto Colin’s floor in the 4.3 years of ownership up to last week: 0; Number of full drinks knocked over onto Colin’s floor in the last week: 2 (one each).)

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