Over the weekend, one of my dearest friends (and an old college roommate) came to visit me all the way down here in Spain/Gibraltar. Christine happened to be travelling in Europe, specifically to visit her aunt in London, so it was much easier for her to take a flight into Gibraltar. I was beyond excited to not just catch-up with an old friend, but to show a fellow American what this unique area of the world is all about.
Christine arrived in Gibraltar on Friday afternoon to hot weather and a bit of craziness in the border town of La Linea. For the past couple of weeks – and for a couple more to come – military planes have been practicing on the Gibraltar runway. Gibraltar is so small that not only are these planes extremely loud (even at the office with the windows closed), but they also cause quite the traffic jam. Before, a few commercial planes would come in and out of Gibraltar in a day; now, it’s a constant stream of take-offs and landings all day long. Since traffic must travel across the runway, every time an aircraft takes off, traffic comes to a halt. So, when I picked up Christine, it was mayhem! Welcome to Gibraltar.
Our first activity was lunch on the beach between Sotogrande and Torreguadiaro. There are two fantastic beach bars set up on that beach, and we settled in at one for a couple glasses of tinto verano and huge salads. Following lunch, we went back to the house to change clothes and head back to Gibraltar for a night out. We met Matt for a drink and then enjoyed dinner at Gaucho’s. This was the first time Matt met Christine in person, so I was delighted to introduce him to one of my best friends. Following a delicious dinner of Argentinian steak and sea bass, we met up with a group of friends at the casino for drinks and spent the rest of the evening playing in Gibraltar.
On Saturday we took it easy and I showed Christine what the neighborhood has to offer. We went to the Alcaidesa beach and set up our chairs close enough to put our feet in the water. Unfortunately, a bit of fog rolled in, but we decided it was okay because we were still getting sun and it kept the extreme heat at bay. Time flew by down at the beach and before you know it, it was late afternoon. We went back up to the house to hang by the pool for a little bit, then got ready for another night out. This time, it was the Spanish night life that we wanted to share. Dinner was at one of our favorite tapas restaurants, Pura Tapa. We feasted on our favorite dishes and a few new ones, then made our way to the Alcaidesa beach bar. It was a little too early for dancing, but we ran into some co-workers and joined them for drinks on the beach.
On Sunday, we took Christine sightseeing in Gibraltar. Who comes to Gibraltar without going to the top of the rock to see the apes? Luckily for us, there was no line going into Gibraltar, so we drove across and took her to Europa Point first. Europa Point is the closest point to Africa, and the views are phenomenal. Unfortunately, the wind was fierce that day, so we only spent enough time to take a couple of pictures before making our way to the cable car. At the top of the rock, the apes were out in full force doing their thing and as always, Matt ended up with an ape on him. During this visit, there was some sort of dissension among the pack and a group of apes ended up in a big fight. In the middle of the chaos, they all charged in my direction, one ape nearly taking me out as it collided with my leg. Needless to say, I was screeching and hopping around trying to get out of the action!
After a day in the sun on the rock, we decided to cool down with a drink at the Caleta Hotel, followed by dinner in Spain at our other favorite spot, La Finca. As always, the food, the drinks, and the service at La Finca were wonderful, making for a perfect end to the weekend. I was so sad to see Christine go on Monday. It’s not often that my American friends can make over to this part of the world, so I was thrilled to get to share my life with her. And, of course, it was so great getting to spend time with my old friend. We vowed to make this a tradition, but next time, we’ll take a trip to some place new!