“The Rock” captured my imagination since childhood so anticipation was immense! Sometimes expectations overwhelm reality. Although geographically and scenic-wise Gibraltar is awesome, the throngs of tourists, circus-like atmosphere, unattractive urban development, and decadently expensive everything dampened enthusiasm, and resulted in a brief stay.
Parking on Gibraltar is extremely limited and not recommended. The majority of vehicles are parked in Spain at coin meters or on public lots, and pedestrians simply walk across the border. The not so simple feat is finding a parking meter within reasonable walking distance to the border (less than 2 km preferred). 1/2 an hour of searching located a meter and 6 Euros paid to an official. It was October—I can only imagine what summer vacation parking would be like!
Walked about 1 km to the border where a British official waved us through with no questions asked so we completely forgot to have our passports stamped. Gibraltar’s international airport runway is located beside the border crossing gate and the main entrance road. All vehicles and pedestrians entering/exiting Gibraltar actually drive/walk on airport pavement! Land is at a premium here as multi-purposing indicates! Double-Decker buses transport crowds from the border to downtown Gibraltar in only a few minutes for a couple of British pounds or Euros per person.
LOST BARRIOS, Spain (our closest lodging to Gibraltar)
Arriving mid-day at our hotel in Los Barrios, Spain we immediately set out on foot to the nearby shopping mall to eat. From years spent in Latin America, the custom of siesta closure and reopening late afternoon/early evening was familiar, however, finding a large mall almost empty during the day was a shock; we were hungry so it seemed unreasonable! Peering into shops and cafes at 1 PM, all were closed except for a bakery and a pizza outlet (pictured below). No mystery as to where we purchased lunch that day—no, it wasn’t pizza—a burger and a salad and both selections came with tasty fried potatoes! Oh, had to wait placing our food order until the lone employee finished washing the floor at the seating area.