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You want sunshine — even deep into October — but aren't keen to go too far to find it

Spam Spam Spam (2020-09-13)


You want sunshine — even deep into October — but aren't keen to go too far to find it.
In fact, you've ruled out anything much more than three hours away, especially with young children in tow.

You're looking for friendly people, a lively night scene, beaches, wildlife, spectacular scenery, and if a language barrier can be avoided, then so much the better.
Oh, and a decent cuppa would be wonderful.

Well, wave those Union Flags, raise those glasses of warm ale and get down to Gibraltar, where you'll be doing your bit to support a self-governing British Overseas Territory, which Spain would love to get its hands on. What's more, there have been no coronavirus-based deaths on the peninsula and we are now free to come and go without any need for quarantine.

Big deal: Gibraltar is only 2.6 sq miles so you can walk everywhere, though you need to be fit to manage some of the near-vertical trails on the western face

Still, it's a funny old place.

The chip shop in Casement Square is called Al Fresco's and I'm not sure if irony is being served here along with the battered cod and mushy peas; Winston Churchill Avenue cuts across the airport runway; the resident 200 or so macaque monkeys pose politely for selfies as if they've been trained to do so and there was great excitement at the opening of the first Starbucks.

Throw in Main Street, with Debenhams and Dorothy Perkins taking pride of place, double decker buses and a bingo hall, and you've got an easy target for jokes at Gib's expense.

‘It's like Littlehampton but with the weather,' says a man at the hotel where I'm staying.

It's nothing of the kind, of course. No disrespect to Littlehampton but you can see Africa from Gibraltar, which explains why there are 311 sunny days a year; you're never much more than ten minutes from the airport; Gorham's Cave (site of the last Neanderthal Man) has been given UNESCO World Heritage status; dolphins play in the bay; the 11th century Moorish Castle stands proudly above various battlements and it's here that Lord Nelson's body (pickled in a barrel of rum) was brought ashore after the Battle of Trafalgar.

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Gibraltar is only 2.6 sq miles so you can walk everywhere, though you need to be fit to manage some of the near-vertical trails on the western face.

There are 34,000 permanent residents with — in normal times — as many as 10,000 people coming over each day to work, many of them employed in the bars and restaurants on reclaimed land now known as Ocean Village.

This is where I'm staying on a cruise ship called Sunborn that doesn't cruise anywhere.

Instead, it sits in the marina, the sun bouncing off its shiny finish and with an excellent spa on one deck and a casino on another.

Floating hotel: Mark Palmer enjoyed a stay aboard Sunborn, 안전한놀이터 a luxury floating hotel



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