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Friday, July 15, 2011

Gibraltar............ where is the tour to Casablanca...

This morning we were up very early to see the sail into Gibraltar.  It should have been Casablanca but thanks to our engine woes our itinerary was changed.

As much as Gibraltar had to offer we decided to go back into Spain and visit a historic town in the mountains called, can you believe, Rhonda...... how unspanish is that!!

Now you need to remember that our itinerary change was announced way back at Dubai...

Whilst sitting in the disabled section of the Wheelhouse Bar with John and Anne, a little old couple walked up to one of the tour staff with their tickets.... She took one look at the tickets and said ....” We  are not in Casablanca we are in Gibraltar.  This tour was cancelled. Did you book another one?”

A bewildered look came over their faces and the little lady said “But isn’t today supposed to be Casablanca .... What day are we going there....”   Your heart just went out to them.... after being told that we weren’t going to Casablanca anymore and that all the Gibraltar tours were sold out, but they could hire a taxi.... the little man turned to his wife and said “ oh well, looks like we are staying home today “ LOL...................  They obviously don’t read the Patter or listen to announcements....

Having a friend with a bad knee got us onto the shuttle bus first...... felt a bit guilty as we rushed past all the hobblers to get a good seat.  The shuttle bus then drove us to the Gibraltar and Spanish border where we jumped off and with passports in hand we walked over the border to the waiting Coaches.

It was a lovely drive through the country up to Rhonda.... We went through some lovely “rich” looking  country side with their palatial homes and golf courses.  The drive was around an hour and half with the mandatory Princess toilet stop at the souvenir shop for 20 minutes.  Then it was into Rhonda....  The town is mixture of Old and new with a 500 deep gorge that separates the two.  Here we disembarked the bus and continued on a walking tour of the town.

We first visited the Plaza Del Toros, the largest and oldest bull fighting ring in Spain.  We walked out into the arena for some great photo opportunities and the 16 sided building that it sits in also houses a museum...  Then it  was the across “The Puente Nuevo” ... the new bridge which was built in 1793.  We walked around the cobbled streets and peered into any open doors for a glimpse of the lovely courtyards some of these homes have.  Being up so high the views over the valley were just beautiful.

We also visited the San Maria del Mayor Church built in the 13th Century and rebuilt after an earthquake had demolished part of it.... It was very ornate and breath taking inside...... these cathedrals have so much attention to detail.

We were then left to our own devices with around an hour of free time. We ducked in and out a few of the shops and then decided we needed lunch... hoping to be able to pick up an easy baguette  to walk with was impossible and after finding Anne and John at a little restaurant we decided to join them... We only had half an hour so paella was out of the question.....We went with Tapas.... not a simple Tapas but a seafood Tapas.... not only did we have to wait for it cook but we had to wait for it be cooled down.... I knew we were going to be in trouble when they brought out the Shell crackers.... So there we are with only 5 minutes left,  we finally got our plate..... down went the prawns, down went the mussles..... struggled with the scampi and fought with the crab.... the crab won.... all washed down with Sangria and Beer (might I say I have had 3 sangrias and each one has been Better and Better).

We raced back to the meeting point to see our group starting to wander off towards the bus.. Anne and John said that they will walk slow if we weren’t there so we could catch up....

We dozed on and off on the way back to the boat.... This time the large coaches took us straight into Gibraltar.  As we drove into port we saw our little Dawn Princess overshadowed by the Independence of the Seas.... Both boats were due to leave at 4pm so everyone was up on both decks...  as we arrived at 3.55 pm we missed most of the banter going on between both deck parties.... People brought out there Australian flags and with lots of cheering and waving the Independence sailed first.  They sailed out of the bay and turned left into the Mediterranean and we sailed out and turned right into the straight heading for the Atlantic.... This was another one of those moments we were surrounded by Spain Gibraltar and Africa.... Does it get better than this....


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