Sunday, 24th November 2019
As we left our hotel for the next leg of this trip, we told the gentleman on reception where we were going. “Ah, home from home,” he commented.
The ferry to Gibraltar leaves from Tanger Med, a new port which is benefitting from an extensive development programme and which is about an hour’s drive from Tanger Ville. Ferries leave Tanger Ville more regularly but serve mainland Spain, not Gibraltar. Robert’s original plan was that we would be able to catch a train to Tanger Med port, but this is part of the massive infrastructure project and the line is unfortunately not yet running. When we arrived at the port, we could see the tracks already laid, directly into the terminal building.
It was almost deserted although those few who were travelling seemed to have an inordinate amount of luggage in comparison to the two of us who like to travel light. Buses take passengers from the building to the dockside but the schedule seemed to be rather unpredictable and haphazard.
It was nearing sunset when we boarded the boat and Matilda, who had been feeling unwell all day managed to climb the steep stairs up from the lower of two car decks up to the passenger deck, only to have to vomit over the side. We could not identify the source of the food poisoning: it certainly could not be blamed on seasickness as the ship was moored in a sheltered harbour and the sea beyond was flat and calm.
The sun was setting as we left Tanger Med and we said farewell to Africa.
Matilda, in her fragile state, found it strangely comforting that our return to Europe was like coming home, albeit 1,480 miles away: all the signs were in English and “English” fish and chips were widely available.
Walking to the entrance to the port, the very friendly guard, with a south London accent [which she attributed to watching too much Eastenders] ordered us a taxi to our hotel. The route took us past festive decorations.
Robert went to sample the local ale on his own whilst Matilda retired to bed to recover. As it was now quite late on a Sunday night not many places were open but Robert found a pub selling Fullers London Pride where the Christmas decorations around the bar were exuberant and leaned towards enthusiastic quantity rather than minimalist quality. With a pint of Pride in his hand amongst the tinsel festoons, Robert felt Gibraltar was home from home indeed.
Robert was fascinated by the fact that HM Government seemed to have more ‘information’ about Brexit that the UK Government . . .