Week 44 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 11th January 2009


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Yet again we ascend the Rock on foot via the Secret Entrance which is within the grounds of the Rock Hotel. On the way up we spot the superstructure of the Fedra which has been dropped on the quayside.

This time we reach the top at 3.30pm which is before the "non cafe" (vending machines only), closes.

When I wrote a couple of days ago that "I am awaiting research that will reveal that a diet of bacon, eggs and ice cream will keep you very happy and being happy is half the battle to being healthy", I was not expecting vindication quite so soon, but according to the Sunday Express, I am right. This should be obvious - the body craves things it needs - very few people eat grass or soil because billions of years of evolution have tuned our bodies to like what is good for us. So tuck in ...

Monday 12th January 2009

Today is a Bank Holiday in Gibraltar because the State won a crucial case in the European Court relating to the ability to operate a tax regime different to that of the UK. We wander around in the glorious winter sunshine - the place is deserted.

In our wanderings we pass the police building just off John Mackintosh Square. Sadly, there are not many buildings in Gibraltar with any architectural merit but the police occupy one of them.

Tuesday 13th January 2009

Although it is cold there is a definite sense that summer is on the way. There are no swallows but more to the point there are no cruise ships! Who is going to buy all of the overpriced cameras on Main Street? There are twenty shops selling "tax free" cameras that can all be bought about 30% cheaper over the web and it is hard to see who buys them other than people on cruises who are in a profligate mood. Disaster looms, I fear.

Wednesday 14th January 2009

The mid afternoon finds us in Sacarellos in Irish Town, (200 70625), enjoying their excellent Victoria Sponge made with real cream. The fact that I have to make the point that they use real cream is a terrible indictment of the average cake purveyor, whether in the UK or in Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, the banks continue to fall apart on the world markets - that is because they are all hopelessly bankrupt, apart from Wells Fargo which is under the wing of Warren Buffett, the world's smartest (and nicest) businessman.

Thursday 15th January 2009

A few years ago I used to live on the fourth floor of a building which adjoined a scrap yard on one side and a truck repair operation on the other. The view was fascinating. An endless succession of interesting events - most of them comprehensible and fun - fires, minor explosions, thieves setting off alarms at night, police raids. But some of them slightly baffling. It was like living on the set of a soap opera.

Now, overlooking the harbour in Gibraltar, the view is conventionally "better" but still has that element of mystery that makes life so interesting.

So, what is this boat towing? And why?

Friday 16th January 2009

In the evening we have a small achievement to celebrate and decide to go out to a nice restaurant in Gibraltar. The best is probably the Rock Hotel (200 73513 ) but we are always there and need a change. Gauchos (200 59700) is equally good but it is fully booked with a waiting list. The next best is Cafe Rojo (200 51738) which is also full with a waiting list. The recession has not yet really arrived in Gibraltar.

It turns out that the recession has now arrived at the Caletta Hotel as the restaurant is totally empty when we arrive at 7.15pm. Or maybe the word has got out that the Christmas meal we had there was terrible and hideously expensive. Later two more couple arrive but it is still embarrassingly empty.

Tonight's meal is exquisite but a little on the small side and somewhat expensive but an experience well worth repeating. Maybe have a snack before you go?

When we get home there is nothing on the TV so I flick through the Spanish Channels and find something luridly fascinating. Quite what, I have no idea as neither of us speak Spanish.

Saturday 17th January 2009


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We set off for Ronda. There is not much traffic on the road - this is because most of it is in the ditch. Presumably it has been frosty overnight. This is hard to believe as it is like a nice Summer's day in England - bright sunshine and about 17 degrees centigrade. Having said that, it is January and we are quite high up. People are skiing in Granada which is about 100 miles away.

We end up in La Canada shopping centre where they are pushing a flat development called Albatros. Short of calling it "The White Elephant" it is hard to think of a less appropriate name. As Wikipedia puts it "The word Albatross is sometimes used to mean an encumbrance, or a wearisome burden." Like an unsaleable flat in Spain, for instance.


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