12/11/2017 – Across the runway to Gibraltar

Monday 11th December 2017

Puerto Santa Maria

Woke up before midnight by the sounds of heavy rain on the roof and wind gusts that sent Ziggy seriously rocking.  Did not wake up my driver who happily snored through all the noise and rocking.  Needless to say the navigator did not get any further sleep.

Heard on the news in the morning that the storm caused lots of damage in this town and surrounding areas.  Many trees were uprooted and roofs blown off.  I remember looking out in the wee hours of the morning and seeing waves coming down the river – very scary.

Did not attempt to go to Cadiz this morning as the weather was still foul and the wind gusts too heavy to think about a trip to Cadiz by boat.

Our next stop and planned camp for the night was the town of Tarifa.  The campsite was just a short walk from the town centre and beach but the campsite was not much more than mud because of the overnight storm and the surrounding area was to us, a little suspect.  A few undesirable people lurking around when we stopped to have lunch so decided to give this a miss and move on.

The hills around Tarifa offered views across to Morocco but because of the bad weather could not get a  clear view across the ocean.

We have decided not to go to Morocco as our phone plan does not cover us there and were concerned about being stuck somewhere without phone or Internet.  We currently have an unlimited Telstra phone plan that covers us for most of Europe but does not include Morocco.

The next part of our journey takes directly along the coast roads through southern Spain.

Soon we see the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance.  A massive rock with towering apartment blocks and buildings everywhere.

The Rock

Our camp for tonight:  Parking, La Linea de la Concepcion

We arrived here at around 3.30 pm and the weather had now cleared to just an overcast sky.

The campsite is situated at a marina on the Spanish/Gibraltar border with magic views of high end sailing boats just a few metres away. Wow just beautiful – brings back great memories from our sailing days.

Left the marina soon after arriving and headed through customs into Gibraltar only 15 minutes walk away across the airport run way – glad no landings and take-offs whilst we were crossing???.  We did not do more than show our passports to customs before entering this new country.

Going through Customs into Gibraltar

Soon found out that they only take British Pounds here and as we only had euros, that was going to be a problem unless we used credit cards – our Com Bank Travel Cash Card was rejected by 2 different bank ATMs so gave up.

Didn’t take long to get to the centre of town and were very disappointed to find that Gibraltar was a just like a Little Britain in Spain.  There was pretty much only one long Main Street which was predominately made up of jewellery shops, tobacco and alcohol outlets and of course British fish and chip shops.

Don’t know why the Brits would travel all the way to Spain and then congregate with other Brits and sit around and eat British style food and drink British beer – they could have done that at home.

There was even a Marks and Spencer to make them feel at home.

Found nothing of interest here for us so headed back to Spain at nightfall so we could get some Spanish food and talk to some locals.

View of Marina from Ziggy

Tuesday 12th December

A truly beautiful sunny morning greeted us and the views across the marina were nothing more than spectacular.

Our campsite for tonight: Cala de Mijas, Mijas

This is a very touristy town again full of Brits. Everyone speaks English here including all the staff in shops and restaurants.

The beach is just beautiful with a boardwalk running along the oceanfront for miles.  Apartment block after apartment block with ocean views hanging over the boardwalk and bars and restaurants cater for everyone mostly with English type menus.

Beachfront at Mijas

The campsite provided by the local council is on the edge of a massive car park with a huge area in the middle where a huge market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Ziggy is there somewhere – the markets were held the next day where the picture is taken from

There was a wall of motorhomes here when we arrived and we were very lucky to get a spot. Spent the rest of the day walking through town and along the beachfront boardwalk.

Wednesday 13th December

Considering there were around 80 motorhomes here overnight, we had a beautiful quiet restful night.  Did not hear a sound until around 8.30 am when the vendors drove in to set up for the market just across from us.

Didn’t really need anything but decided to visit the market.  This is one of the best markets we have seen so far.  Shoes and clothes in particular were really high quality and at a very reasonable cost.  Very tempted to buy lots but held back and only got distracted by some items we purchased for the grandkids.  Just as well we will be able to offload these to our girls to take home when they visit us next year.

Met some really great motorhomers here including a couple Brian and Wendy from Bribie Island.  This is their second trip here – the first being two years.

Left a lot later than we expected after my driver also known to me affectionally as “Mr Have A Chat” couldn’t tear himself away from having a chat with anyone walking by – didn’t matter what nationality, if English or German didn’t work then sign language did 😊. I remember watching him speaking to a Spanish gentlemen the day before – the Spanish gentlemen couldn’t speak English – Rob couldn’t speak Spanish – both could speak German – sign language did the rest – just so beautiful to watch – poetry in motion!

Our journey today took us along the coast road where the views were spectacular. So many towns and villages along the way with thousands upon thousands of apartment blocks on the beachfront or in the hills overlooking the ocean.

The landscape was really interesting as we passed through the mountains. It was now getting quite late in the afternoon and the sun setting over the hills provided some spectacular photo opportunities.

The hills for kilometre after kilometre were terraced with hothouses taking up every available space on the hillsides and in the valleys. Not sure what they are growing here but think oranges and tomatoes – will check tomorrow.  The hothouses really spoiled some of the magic views along the coastline.

Our campsite for tonight: Tropic Autocaravanas, Castelle de Ferro

 We descended quickly from the hills to the ocean front where this campsite dedicated for motorhomes sits right on a white stony beach.  Not many here compared to our last stop and most motorhomers are European not English, mainly French, as the campsite is managed by a young French couple.

Beautiful view from beachfront looking back towards the mountains

It was almost sunset when we headed down to the beachfront and walked to town. Just magic views as the mountains were awash with part sun and part shade providing an artists palette of different shades of brown and green – the white clouds hanging over these finishing off a wonderful picture to try to capture.

We planned on going to the beachfront disco but decided against it

Sadly many of the apartment blocks under construction look like they have not been worked on for many years.

Some Mijas architecture

The little town was alive with locals enjoying the sunset.

Such a beautiful little unspoilt place with still lots of tradition.