Travel Website Logo
Travel Journal
Dan Walker’s Travel Website
Travel Photos

Travel Journal

Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Saturday, May 21, 2016 02:50:44

Spain 2016: 4. Gibratar, UK to Cadiz, Spain

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We were picked up at 9 AM and drove along the Costa del Sol through the city of Torremolinos, which is where tourism on this famous coast originated. It has a low season population of around 75,000, which soars to 200,000 in high season. This tripling of the population is usual all along Costa del Sol.

At Benalmadena we turned inland and climbed to the amazing Castle Monument Colmares, built by Dr. Stephen Martin in 1987 with the help of two bricklayers - it took him 7 years. It incorporates Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar styles of architecture and is dedicated to Christopher Columbus. It definitely worth a detour to see, and there are great views from there.

From there we went further into the hills to the beautiful ancient hill town of Mijas, where we walked through the winding streets between well kept old buildings. The town is famous for its donkey carts. as donkeys were used a lot in an old quarry. There is also a fascinating old cave church. Meike had a coffee and I a beer while Stephanie and Marilynn went on a donkey ride.

Further along the coast we came to Marbella where we walked to the beach and had a lunch of sardines cooked over a wood fire, anchovies and clams, for which this area is famous. All were superb. The shops were interesting and the prices reasonable, so when Stephanie spotted a dress she really liked Marilynn bought it for her as a birthday gift.

We finished the drive on 120 kph express highway, arriving at the Asur Hotel in La Linea by about 5:30 PM. The hotel is located a 15 minute walk from the Gibraltar border. Here we said goodbye to Meike and Luis. They did a great job, and would be highly recommended for travel to the Costa del Sol, Malaga and Grenada area. Her company is Malaga Especiales, telephone (0034) 616-359-990, email

We couldn't get a three bed room, but the Azur Hotel is not expensive, so we took two rooms - one for Stephanie. Once moved in we walked a short distance to the old city and found a restaurant for a good dinner. The old town is comparatively small, and not as interesting as the other cities we have visited. The economy here collapsed during the 20 years from 1978 when President Franco closed the border to try to force Britain to hand over Gibraltar. Today a lot of people from La Linea have jobs in Gibraltar and many other jobs are created in supplying the needs of Gibraltar businesses and residents.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

After the best breakfast of the trip, a large buffet with everything one could desire, we walked through the border into Gibraltar with no immigration problem - Carl Mesilio of Gibraltar Inside Out Rock Tours had given our names to immigration and we were expected. We had a bit of a mix up on the place to be picked up, but found one another in time to start the tour.

Gibraltar is near the place where the Moors first invaded in 711. A Moorish fort still survives, plus an Anglican Church that was once a mosque. Gibraltar became Spanish after the Moors were defeated, then was taken by a British & Dutch invasion force about 1704. It was official given to Britain forever by the treaty of Utrecht, but that didn't stop the Spanish and French from trying to take it - Gibraltar was under siege 14 times, once for over three years. We walked through the first of the siege tunnels, 482 meters long. built by hand in 1782, creating gun ports in the rock facing Spain. Construction of tunnels continued over the years, with the biggest project done on the orders of Winston Churchill when an entire city was built inside the rock during WWII.

Currently Gibraltar has a population of about 32,000, plus the workers who come daily from La Linea. The colony is only 4.5 km long by 2.5 km wide with 6 km of surface roads, however inside the rock itself there are 52 km of tunnels which vary from walking size to 2 lane roads large enough for trucks. There are also 140 caves. The land area has increased by 2 sq. km since Marilynn and I were last there, and more land is being created by filling ocean.

The first thing we did is cross the airport runway. Barriers lower when planes are on approach, otherwise pedestrians and vehicles cross freely. According to Carl there are only domestic flight from the UK landing at Gibraltar, making it a domestic flight. We visited the dramatic St. Michael's Cave, much improved since out last visit, the Moorish Castle and the massive 100 ton gun that could fire a 2,000 lb shell, powered by 450 lb of gun powder, 8 miles. There were lots of the monkeys for which Gibraltar is famous, climbing on the car and everywhere else up the rock to the top. Carl says they control the population to keep them around 200 by giving birth control pills to the females.

On the way down from the top along a road that hangs on the side of the cliff Carl was telling us about the two James Bond movies made in Gibraltar. One called "Living Daylights" had a chase scene on this stretch of road, where Bond was on the roof of an army jeep loaded with explosives. He cut a hole in the canvas top and was struggling with the bad guy who was trying to keep the vehicle on the twisty, steep road until he lost control, crashed through the stone guard rail and flew into the ocean. James, fortunately, had a parachute with him. Carl had multiple screens in his 9 passenger Mercedes van, and played this part of the movie as we went along so we could see the landmarks we were passing on screen.

We drove around the territory, sometimes through tunnels, to the beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean side, stopping at the southernmost point where there is a modern mosque. The mountains of Africa could be clearly seen across the straight. Carl dropped us at the end of the historic main street, where we walked to the recommended Clipper Pub for my 75th birthday lunch consisting of Gibraltar beer and pub food, including sticky toffee pudding for desert. Another taxi got us back to the border, where there was no one to check any documents. A Spanish taxi picked us up, took us to the hotel to get our luggage and a cash machine to get money before driving us the 165 km to Cadiz, the city from which Columbus sailed.

Our hotel, the Plaza de la luz Cadiz, is in the old city, so once more the narrow pedestrian streets. This apartment may have beat the last one - we have a three bedroom, 2 bathroom, living room & kitchen for the same price we paid for the one in Malaga. There are no tourists that we could see in this area, it was a refreshing change to be among only local residents. Everyone was very friendly.

As usual, once settled we headed out of foot. After a few blocks we sat at a bar located at the junction of five small streets under a couple of large palm trees to drink beer, wine and sangria. The sangria was particularly good, so several of those and a couple of tapas were dinner. Marilynn has taken to ordering white wine and sangria, and mixing them. The bar owner bought us a round of honey rum shooters for my birthday, which we all agreed were delicious. From the bar we walked to the ocean, only a couple of blocks away and followed the walkway beside the sea until we came to a road that led back to out apartment.