- Posted March 5, 2014 by
Corliss Group Online Financial Mag Hong Kong Between A Rock and Hard Place
Two-hour tours of the tunnel complex and cave are available and a combined ticket is £8 ($NZ16) per person.
My father-in-law, a Royal Navy signalman, was stationed on Gibraltar during World War 2 and described being left perched halfway up the Rock during an enemy attack, watching his ship sailing away without him.
Seeing the old signals station on an exposed site high up the Rock brought home to me how vulnerable he must have felt, but he survived and rejoined his ship some time later.
A ride on the cable car to the top of the Rock (£8.50 one way, or £10.50 return) is a must for any visitor.
I opted for the return but had the weather been better would have ridden up and walked down via the nature reserve, even though I wouldn't want too many close encounters with the Barbary apes with their formidable teeth.
Until 1984, when it closed its major dockyard, the British Ministry of Defence was the mainstay of Gibraltar's economy, accounting for more than a third of all spending.
Things perked up in 1985, when the reopening of the border with Spain at La Linea de la Concepcion enabled visitors to pop across for a day's bargain hunting.
These days, Main St resembles the high street of any bustling English town, with all the usual British chain stores such as Marks and Spencers, Dorothy Perkins and British Home Stores.
Because Gibraltar is duty free, there are great buys in more expensive cosmetics (I bought face cream at half the price I pay at home), perfumes, high-end jewellery, tobacco and alcohol, the latter at prices well below those anywhere else in Europe, or New Zealand, for that matter.
However, with the Spanish economy improving and cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia showcasing their beautiful buildings, old and new, to attract tourists, Gibraltar looks rather like the poor relation.
Away from the central hub, apart from newer apartment blocks things appear somewhat shabby.
Maybe handing Gibraltar back to Spain would inject some welcome EU dosh into the territory but no loyal royalist would ever dare untie the knot.
Corliss Group Online Financial Mag Hong Kong Between a rock and hard place