I spent a night and part of a day in Cadiz before heading on to Gibraltar, but I did most of my touristing and all my photo taking there after I got back, so it can wait.
Approaching Gibraltar wasn’t quite what I expected – the rock is so famous that I had thought it must be the one thing standing up out of the landscape (and it had all been fairly flat on the way to Seville and Cadiz), but we’d come way up over the hills on the way there, and I think the hills on the other side of Algeciras Bay were higher.
I ended up thinking that it was famous not because it was tall but because it was cut in half – and it was fairly striking from that point of view. It’s still not as high as Allermuir, though!
I went into Gibraltar that first evening for dinner and a look about, but didn’t go very far, because I decided that if I was on an Age of Sail adventure I might as well have my dinner at the Lord Nelson, just inside the land gate.
The new part of Gibraltar was so much a theme park of Britain – it even had the same litter bins – that I decided I should be as British as possible, eating fish and chips and drinking Old Speckled Hen. And it was quite nice to be able to speak English to people again, especially after two days in Portugal where I didn’t speak the language at all.
On the next day I came in quite early (after a bit of trouble over the luggage lockers at the bus station in La Linea, which had lost their tokens. I eventually left my bag at the airport in Gibraltar, which was an adventure in itself).
There’s a real divide still between the new part running in from the border and airport, and the old walled town. There is a main road running into the town, of course, but pedestrians are funnelled off to enter by the old land gate.
The water gate is another side of the square, although the water must have been a lot closer before they made a lot of new land.
The thing that I most wanted to see in Gibraltar was the Trafalgar graveyard – which doesn’t actually have many graves from Trafalgar, but does also have some from Algeciras and other battles from around that time. It’s a nice little place, tucked in just outside the walls.
Here are the two real Trafalgar graves, for a Lieutenant from Colossus and a Marine Captain from Mars.
There’s a statue of Nelson just over the road, of course.
After that I went prowling around the town a bit, looking for old buildings, including the Governor’s House and the churches, and finding some that I didn’t expect, like the Garrison Library (which had its door open – it smelt wonderfully of old books and had a cat), and old barracks buildings.
Apart from Nelson, I was on the trail of Jack and Stephen, but the docks have been changed so much that it’s hard to get any idea of where Worcester would have been – and it’s hard to get a good view, as well.
And then my camera battery died without warning – it was a new camera, and I didn’t know it wouldn’t warn me – so there are no photos of the clouds whipping over the rock just as when Stephen was watching them, or Nelson’s Landing (which is only a huge Victorian gun anyway), or the gateway of the Victualling Yard, or Algeciras Bay where the battle in Master and Commander was, or Africa being invisible (hard to photograph anyway), or even the top of the rock (where I shouldn’t have gone, because the cable car was mobbed and I didn’t have much time).
It did come to life for long enough to take one picture looking back over Little Bay to the old naval anchorage at Rosia Bay, but that was all.
Oh well. I was already thinking that I’d like to go in spring or autumn when the migrating birds were passing over…