Hello again Boatbloggers ® , or as we say over here, Buenos Dias Barcobloggers y bienvenido a una edicion neuva del BarcoBlog,
We have at last reached The Mediterranean.
Our first stop in Spain, but still on this side of the Gibraltar Straits was…
Which is a beautiful old town…
…with a long and proud history. Most of which seems to consist of various illustrious British sailors from Drake to Nelson, turning up and setting fire to all the Spanish ships. We decided it might be better to anchor out rather than sail straight into Cadiz Harbour in case they held a grudge, so we dropped the hook in a place called Port Sherry. Which has to be the booziest name for a town that we’ve ever come across.
And no wonder. This is home to the “Sherry Triangle.” It is almost obligatory to take a trip round the local sherry factories. Or is that breweries? Distilleries? Sherryeries?
Anyway, we were invited to sample some of the finest vintages – although if you know about sherry, you will appreciate that they don’t actually have vintages because the way it works is that they just keep topping up the barrel when it starts getting a bit low. Well, it’s a bit more sophisticated than that, but that’s the general idea. And what that means is that some parts of the glass that you are quaffing might be hundreds of years old, while other bits are quite new.
The tasting was an elegant affair…
but unfortunately, Ju wasn’t drinking that day…
So Lyn had to drink his.
Well, it would have been rude to leave it.
Not too early the next day, and very quietly, we set off for the Gibraltar Straights. We went past another famous landmark from British naval history,
…Trafalgar. And on through the Straits. It was exciting to have Europe on one side of the boat, and Africa on the other.
Eventually, we arrived at Gibraltar itself.
The cradle of history.
Which I guess means we went in and burnt a load more Spanish ships.
You already know about the Rock, and the monkeys and the WW2 tunnels, so here at the Boatblog® we’re not going to bore you with the usual Gibraltar photos. And that’s not just because we forgot to take our camera that day. What we can tell you is that Gibraltar is a really unique place. The locals speak a strange dialect called – you’ve guessed it – Gibberish, which is a strange half-English, half-Spanish concoction. Actually, it’s not very far off Ju’s Spanish. On this tiny strip of land, they still use pounds sterling, and there is no tax or VAT. So diesel is 44p a litre and cigarettes are £2.60. So cheap in fact that Ju, who can never resist a bargain, has decided to take up smoking.
Generally speaking, it is fair to say that the Spanish are a bit miffed that Britain still owns Gibraltar, and they make their displeasure felt at the border which can take two hours to cross if you get the wrong time of day.
LYN COMING IN FROM THE COLD. CHECK POINT CHARLIE
The border guards can be quite intimidating.
The Rock and the views and the people of Gibraltar are all fantastic, but to be honest, quite a lot of it is like Croydon with palm trees.
Maybe if they paid a bit more tax they could get their pavements repaired and potholes filled in.
So think about that before you vote! What would you rather have – decent infrastructure, or cheap fags?
(Dave – don’t answer that.)
But of course the highlight of any trip to Gibraltar is this.
Expats, holidaymakers and sailors come from miles around to stock up on PG tips, Proper Bacon, Branston Pickle and Morrissons’ Own-Brand Oatcakes. All the things you miss about Blighty.
The other unusual feature is the airport.
There’s not many places in the world where you have to dash across a runway to get to the supermarket.
And you have to wonder why they get the fire engines out every time an Easyjet flight comes in.
But alas dear reader, it is time to bid you a fond adios as we head back to…
But this time by boat.
But there is just time for this edition’s arty farty prize, which this time goes to Lyn.
And before we go, a reminder that a lot of people in Europe still welcome foreigners – even the one’s whose ancestors kept on coming over and burning all their ships.
Hasta Luego for now amigos
Ju & Lyn