The day began early with a drive to the start point. Packing the van has become something of an art form with each of the 20 something bags having its own place. Everyone has sat in the same seat throughout in what would make an interesting social experiment.
The drive was through the mountainous coastal region of Southern Spain and we Sat in silence absorbing the views and the atmosphere.
We played music as we travelled, some of our favourite songs.
Heather Small ‘Proud’ was the crowning moment and most looked out of the windows of the bus reflecting in the past 2 weeks.
We arrived at our start point and disembarked Today would be slightly different in that the next meeting will be with the bus before we ventured over the border and into Gibraltar.
A beautiful 20 mile ride ensued with 2 fabulous climbs. A great warm up for what was to come.
It wasn’t long before we met the van 5k from the border where passports were collected and final arrangements agreed.
We had been warned how difficult it was to enter Gibraltar from the Spanish side with Long delays at passport control. We have allowed two hours before our meeting with the mayor at 1 PM
As we cycled we crested a small rise in the road and there in front of us we could see our final destination.
We soon approached the line of traffic that was preparing to cross the border at this point we realised we may have a problem as the queue seem to be endless. The van passed and joined the back of the queue whilst we cycled weaving through traffic to get to the control point.
We crossed with ease and were soon crossing the famous runway before the main city. The atmosphere was electric a bustling community so very different to that that we experienced over the last few days. We found a cafe and ordered coffee whilst we waited for the bus to cross the border.
It was clear at this point that the bus was not going to make the meeting point with the mayor. Mike and Barry were dispatched to collect the mayoral gifts from the bus.
They returned with the gifts we knew that the bus was still someway short of border control and with heavy hearts we set about walking with our bikes along the main street towards City Hall.
The main street was not unlike any that you would see in a UK city with a familiar blend of shops and people and even Bobbies patrolling the streets. The main difference probably be the 30° heat.
We approached the end of the Main Street and Turned right into the city Hall Square. What immediately hit us was the roped off area with severalhundred seats and the large podium. A film crew waved at us as we approached.
I think it’s fair to say at this point that we were all slightly shocked and The group looked at each other in disbelief. Not only was their a reception committee of journalists and the mayors assistant but there parked right outside City Hall was the bus with Bob already inside the building having refreshments.
The next 30 minutes was something of a blur interviews and photographs presentations to the mayor and presentations to us. They had really pushed the boat out and made us feel so welcome.
It transpired that the podium and the large seating area was not for us but for the Queen’s birthday parade later that afternoon. This was huge relief as I didn’t have enough detail to pad out speech of more than five minutes!
Formalities over we sort permissions to cycle to the top of the rock. permission was granted with a smile and a shake of the head.
We headed to the top in small groups enjoying the views and taking photos along the way.
We were cheered by taxi drivers and members of the public alike. Tourists looked on in disbelief as we passed them on our way to the top. Many shouted encouragement as we went as some even shouted muppet!
We rounded the final climb to the highest point exhausted and exhilarated.
No one could take this moment away from us we were on top of the world.
Photos taken we left the rock and headed back to the border. We cycled in a sea of vehicles, mopeds and bikes towards the boarder. We soon realised that we would need our passport to leave Gibraltar unfortunately all our passports were on the bus which had already crossed!
As we approached at speed we noticed that the one lane with mopeds and cyclist were slowing and showing ID badges. We decided to go for it all waving as we reached the control point not stopping or even slowing. They just stood and watched as 8 muppets flew passed and over the border back into Spain!
We have all been touched by the messages of support over the last 2 weeks it has meant so much to us.
From all of us A heart felt thank you.