two days in Tarifa, (well mostly relaxing, with the exception of my day trip to Tangier), I had one last day and night before an early morning flight out of Málaga. All along I had really been hoping to make it to Gibraltar, but I wasn't sure how it would work out. But of course as so often happens in travel, everything fell into place perfectly for me to make the run over into Gibraltar on my way out.OCTOBER, 2008 - After a relaxing
I woke up early and caught one of the first buses out of Tarifa. I am writing this a while after the trip, if I recall I think I took the wrong bus. The idea was to catch a bus going direct to La Línea de la Concepción, but I'm pretty sure I took one going to Algeciras. But from there it was a piece of cake to get to La Linea. In Tarifa there was some confusion, because it is so small, and there is not a real bus station, so there is no one to ask for information. But it turned out to be still only a few euros for the entire trip, and maybe 45 minutes or so. La Línea de la Concepcion is the small town that borders Gibraltar, so it has to be your jumping off point before the border crossing. If you are coming from Tarifa my advice is to hop online and check the bus schedules. If you are coming from Algeciras, it should be no problem, there are enough buses that run. I'm pretty sure from both Tarifa and Algeciras you can get to most nearby cities, including La Linea, Algeciras, Malaga, and I'm pretty sure even Cadiz and Sevilla too. But you will want to hop online to check that, and of course from Algeciras there will be more options.
The station at La Línea is small, but they have lockers which makes a quick run to Gibraltar very easy. I locked up my backpack, grabbed my daypack, and walked over to the border. It was a 5-10 minute walk, and crossing the border is simple. You just walk across, I didn't see anyone getting checked. I didn't have long enough to explore the caves at the end of the penisula, however I did want to be sure to get up and see the barbary macaques that live on the "rock", as it's called. So from the border I hopped the bus into town, which was only a Euro or two. It seems that most places in Gibraltar take both Euros and British Pounds, so don't bother exchanging money if you're only there for a day. I took the bus to where the cable car that takes you up to the top of the rock. The ticket for the cable car was a tad expensive, but as I was only there for the day I had no problem paying the 15 or so Euros.
Once at the top it is an amazing view. You can see the Atlas mountains of North Africa, and you can see much of southern Spain as well. Looking out over the Strait of Gibraltar is quite a sight. But of course the real stars of the show are the macaques that have made their home up there. It seems quite an odd place to see wild macaques, but apparently there are a few families that live up there, arriving there at some point from their native habitat in the mountains of North Africa. All the signs say to beware of them, since they are so used to people they know to associate humans with food, and I watched one try to snatch someone's water bottle. I guess they also will take your bag and run away if given the chance.
It was quite a spectacle, and I ended up spending a few hours up there walking around, walking down a bit to try to get away from the gift store and visitor area. If you have time you can explore the entire area, getting into the caves and such, but as I just had the afternoon, I headed back down to get back to La Linea in time for my bus to Málaga. After getting back to the bottom, I actually walked all the way back to the border instead of taking the bus. After being in Spain for a bit, it is rather strange to see the main streets in Gibraltar, they have quite the English feel. The walk took about half an hour, then you walk across the airport runway, cross the border, and back into Spain!
If you are tempted to make the same trip, I would definitely encourage you, however I do have to say that one day is certainly enough. And after being in Spain and getting used to the price of things there, it will be quite a shock to your wallet if you opt to spend any time in Gibraltar.
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