BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Thursday, 7 February 2013

La Linea de la Concepcion to Gibraltar, and back again.

Monday 4/2/13

I had a bit of a dummy spit today. I couldn't find the sat nav. As much as I hate this frustrating piece of equipment, we need it. It was nowhere to be found in our hotel room, and I was sure I took it off the bike when I parked. I went down to the car park to check, and sure enough it wasn't on the bike either. I took the bike back to the hotel and we loaded up. The guys at the hotel were great, they even called the police on our behalf.

I went back to the car park hoping that the security cameras may have caught something. I went to the office and tried to ask the attendant, who spoke very little English. After a bit of pointing and feeble sign language, his face beamed recognition and he said "Tom Tom?", and I said "Si". I had left the Tom Tom on the bike and he saw it, so he removed it before someone stole it. It was sitting on the shelf in his office. Thanks Pablo.

OK, we're off to Gibraltar. There is a bit of conflict between Spain and Great Britain over Gibraltar again at the moment so the Spaniards are making it hard to get across the border. Delays of up to three hours are common. As we arrived at the crossing there was a queue of cars miles long. We pulled up and almost immediately a car driver motioned us to pull into the other lane and go. Turns out that motos and scooters don't have to wait, they just go to the front, so our crossing took all of about five minutes. A British immigration guy wanted to stop us and check our passport, but I'd ridden past him by the time I realised. It was too hard to back up, so he just waved us on. I don't know if the word casual quite covers it.

Now this is interesting. The main road in Gibraltar cuts straight across the middle of the runway for the Gibraltar International Airport! I'm not kidding.

Pedestrian and push bike lanes across the runway of an international airport. I only saw one Brit fighter on the runway, but I reckon it was ready to go.

Now we were into Gibraltar. There are 30,000 people living in this tiny little place, which is about one third the size of Rottenest Island back home. Can you imagine what the traffic was like with this many people driving in a 6.8 square kilometre space? Bedlam !! And parking? Forget it.

We trundled around for about an hour and covered pretty much everything. We didn't go up the rock. They want to charge twenty two pounds to go up there and I'm not sure it would be worth it.

A slightly different view of the rock.

The rock is full of tunnels. It's a fortress within a fortress.

A few of the roads go through tunnels like his. Traffic is one way at a time and traffic light controlled.

Look. There's Africa. Morocco in fact.

A little waterfall.

These guys were doing a little maintenance...

...up there. Can you see them?

I also encountered a new wild life threat here. Monkeys. They just run across the road right in front of you. They need to use the cross walks.

Our only monkey photo. They were too quick when they ran across the road.

We had stopped and were talking about getting some lunch when a scooter rider across road started tooting his horn and waving to us. He then turned and pointed to the top box on his scooter and I saw an Aussie flag. He came over and said hi. After a quick chat we decided to go and get lunch somewhere together and swap stories.

Drew is from South Australia and has been travelling the world on a Vespa PX200 scooter for almost two years, with the goal of ending up in the UK. He's a computer guru and has a very keen interest in F1, so he want's to score a job with one of the teams. After talking to him Suzanne and I believe he'll do it, very soon. Best of luck Drew.

Me, Drew, and Suzanne waiting for our sumptuous lunch.

Drew took a photo of our Koala on our bike...
(Note the mighty Vespa PX200 in front)

...while Suzanne took a photo of Drew's koala.

Drew was on the move so after a quick lunch we said our farewells. I'm sure we'll catch up again in the UK sometime. Who knows, maybe even for a wedding?

Suzanne and I hunted around trying to find a government department who might be able to give us some information on Suzanne's Great Grandfather, but didn't have any luck. We found the tourist information centre and they told us the archives are closed in the afternoon and we'd have to go tomorrow. Our window for our Morocco visit is getting smaller and smaller.

I thought it was worth staying in Gibraltar and pursuing Suzanne's history. It's not like we'll be here again any tine soon, if ever. So we broke out the computer and started looking at hotels. A cheap hotel in Gibraltar was $150 AUD per night. Eight minutes away in Spain, Hostal Carlos is about $40 AUD per night. Hostal Carlos, Winner.

We headed back to the border crossing and breezed past hundreds and hundreds of cars waiting to get through the border check. Then we rode into the moto only lane straight to the front where the guards just waved us through. 

Motos only lane. It was a little narrow at some points and we had to squeeze through.

We were back at our hotel in under ten minutes, and that included walking from the car park. The guy smiled as we walked in and even gave us the same room.

There was another small Hacienda Patagonica restaurant across the road from our hotel, and as we enjoyed it so much last time we decided to give it another try. Tapas filled the bill tonight and after a couple of drinks we called it an early night.

Tomorrow it's an early start back to Gibraltar to do battle with bureaucracy and see if we can discover any family history for Suzanne, then down to Tarifa and a ferry to Morocco. I cant wait.

1 comment:

  1. Sadly the queue for motorbikes getting out of Gibraltar has got a lot worse since you were here. Especially during peak times there can be waits of up to an hour or two. Not fun with all the fumes. Glad you enjoyed your trip to this little island place. There is a cable car to take you up the rock (or walk it for free!) but they do charge motorised vehicles a lot to go up there. Looks like you saw a lot anyway :)