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Published: December 19th 2014
It's been a long time since I've written one of these, but you really haven't missed much. From Christmas until the start of May I really haven't done anything! However after going for two interviews I have finally got myself a job and not starting it for two weeks I made the decision to go on a quick holiday before starting.
After booking it just a week before, two weeks ago I flew to Gibraltar for a three day holiday, including a visit to Morocco. Flying out of the Saturday morning I arrived at Gibraltar airport, and took a quick look around the centre of the town before crossing the border into Spain without even stopping to show my passport and making my way over to the windy town of Tarifa - the southernmost point on mainland Europe, and where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic and there are superb views of Africa across the strait.
It was here that I stayed the night in a cute little hotel inside the city walls, before taking the ferry over the following morning to Tangier in Morocco. However this was when I first
realised the annoyingness of Spanish time. Being in Central European Summer Time, despite being 5˚ WEST of Greenwich meant that the sun reached its highest point (ideally noon) at 2:20pm. It did not get fully dark until gone 10pm at night, and yet at 8am it was still dark! Not ideal when you are trying to take an early night before an early start the next morning!!
Whilst Tangier wasn't the most interesting city in Morocco, it did still have a souq, and a lot of the same features, as well as the novelty of being Africa, and so that ticked off my 5th continent of the 7, as well as adding a little more action to my holiday. Arriving at the ferry port terminal in Tangier, I spent 5 or so hours looking around the Medina of the city before making my way over to the more modern part of the city and the beachside area. After buying a souvenir, I then took the return ferry back over to Spain, and made my way over to Gibraltar (though actually staying over the border in Spain, where it was so much cheaper) for the final full day
of the holiday.
Going into Gibraltar was a bizarre experience, and despite crossing many borders before, this felt completely different. My hotel was just a 5 minute walk from the border, but as you get closer to the border itself you pass a massive car park where many Spanish day trippers park and walk into the territory. The closest thing I can relate it to is entering a theme park. As you get closer, the crowd gets bigger and bigger, and in the distance you can see the place that you are entering (althought rather than the rides, this was the Rock itself). You then whip out your passport and without stopping walk straight into a different world.
Gibraltar to me felt very much like a colony, and I imagine it would be very similar to how Colonial India must've been (although obviously with Spanish features, rather than Indian). Despite Gibraltarians being overly British with more Union Jacks flying than I see in London, there is still a very Spanish presence, particularly in regards to the language heard on the street. For instance one local was talking to her child in English, except using
the word "¡Vale!" (Spanish for 'ok') in mid flow. Going to the supermarket I then assumed the woman serving me was a worker from Spain, as she spoke what seemed like native Spanish to the lady in front of me, however once serving me she then spoke to me in the clearest native English I've ever heard!
Crossing the airport runway just minutes after a plan had landed on it, I made my way into Gibraltar Town once again and headed over to the Rock itself. I had already decided the best thing to do would be to take the cable car up, and walk back down - with the ticket lady even telling me "Yes, this is the best thing to do", despite the fact she could have sold me a more expensive return ticket!
I then arrived right at the top of the Rock, with superb views of the surrounding area, and then walked around seeing the Monkeys and going into the caves and forts that told the story of the importance of the Rock throughout history.
Eventually arriving at the bottom, back in the town, I did a
little more souvenir shopping, ate and then headed back to my hotel room. However this is where my biggest mistake of the holiday had become clear - Despite heading over to Africa, I had forgotten all about sun cream! In my defence, the weather at home was pretty miserable, I was only going for a few days, and I was not sunbathing! However my nose by the last night had become so scorched that a blister had developed and burst, leaking all night, and as I was sunburnt on every side of my face, there was no comfortable position to lie, added to that I was absolutely shattered, and there was a fly in my room had decided to land on my face every time I was almost asleep (oh, and as I said, it didn't get dark until really late at night), you can imagine the quality of my sleep that night!
Hope you're all well too!
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