Day 25 - Tue 4th Feb
Pretty boring, but nice, it’s another lovely warm & sunny day. Headed off bypassing Jerez & Cadiz. Picked up some supplies at Lidl’s in El Puerto de SantaMaria plus a couple of gallons of diesel to get us to the cheaper stuff in Gibraltar. Passed a big naval base with miles of security fences on the perimeter, saw a helicopter & a war ship in the distance but not much else. Lots of water around Cadiz but we wanted to call in to a place called Bolonia down the coast near Tarifa. We had fond memories of visiting it back between 1987 & 1993 when we worked in Gibraltar.
Bolonia has one of Spain’s best preserved Roman settlement ruins which we never did visit before so we thought we’d have a look this time. We found a very rough car park down by the beach with several motorhomes parked up with a few hippy or surfing dudes taking advantage of a really lovely sandy beach. The big sand dunes we remembered were gone & things have changed quite a bit. There is a big new visitors centre at the Roman ruins & the whole site is fenced off. We wandered along the fence by the beach but there was no access to the site itself from the bottom road so we just took a few photos. You could see most of the remains from outside the fence anyway.
We decided against a visit to the nearby nudey beach & had an early lunch before continuing on to Gibraltar, passing Tarifa & Algeciras on the way. We stopped briefly at a lovely viewing area across the straits to Morocco from the top of the pass over the mountain. It really was a glorious view with little ships passing below on the shiny blue sea with the mountains of Morocco within touching distance almost.
I had decided to take the motorhome all the way into Gibraltar to the Southern tip at Europa Point, despite the terrible narrow roads & tunnels. There is a big car park at the Point with free parking & I fancied taking a chance & seeing if we could stay the night there. We both get a small pension each from when we worked here so we ought to have some benefit?
The whole place has changed so much & the car park is right beside a big new mosque plus they have now built a sports stadium & smartened up the whole area as a tourist attraction. We wanted to visit the little Shrine of Our Lady of Europe that is also here but we had difficulty getting to it with all the new buildings here. It is a lovely little chapel which was originally a small Moorish mosque built about AD 711 but later became a Catholic Shrine. Our daughter Mary was married here back in 1990 at the time when we worked in Gibraltar.
After eventually finding our way to the Shrine we then caught a local bus into the city for a look at some of our old haunts. They wouldn’t take our UK bus passes but we did get the old people’s £1.50 Hopper all day tickets so that helped. We had to dig out our UK money again as they still use that here. They will take Euros but the exchange rate is awful.
Anyway we enjoyed our time wandering around especially when Viv found a shop selling Mount Gay at £11.95 for a litre bottle. We even had a fish & chip dinner at the Angry Friars bar on Main Street before catching the bus back to Europa Point. A thickish fog had rolled in over the Rock late in the afternoon & it was quite eerie when we got back. I decided that I would tuck the motorhome away in a corner of the car park & chance staying the night so we did. It was all right apart from the nearby fog horn blasting out & the noise of youngsters in cars & on scooters till the early hours.
Mileage today - 124
Total Mileage - 2,805