Friday 23 November 2012

Gibraltar – The home of International Grocery Shopping

November 23, 2012

Time seems to be absolutely flying by. We’ve been here in Gibraltar over three weeks already yet it hardly seems anywhere near that long. We’ve settled in reasonably quickly though and have sorted out all the mundane details that are very important to cruisers. What the best phone/internet deal is, where the Laundromat is, what and where is the best supermarket, bakery, ships chandlery and of course, which bar do we make our new ‘Local’.

Queensway Quay is lined with ritzy restaurants and one small sports bar, The Lounge, which has quite reasonable prices. It’s not surprising that cruisers being cruisers avoid the expensive restaurants like a dangerous reef and all navigate their way to The Lounge as their watering hole. We have met a few of the other live-aboards there and this has certainly helped us get some advice on what’s around. It also provides a good social hub, not to mention F1 Grand Prix coverage on screen for us poor addicts. Marc has ventured off into town a few evenings in search of some nightlife but has so far found Gibraltar to be a ghost town after 8.00pm.
Gib is just the rock with everything else being Spain

While the off season rates at the marina are quite reasonable, we have found the cost of living certainly a lot more expensive than Spain. Morrision's, the only real supermarket here, has prices higher than London which is pretty frightening.  Fortunately there is a reasonably simple solution. We walk across the border back into Spain to the town of La Linea and do our supermarket shopping there. Going to another country just to do the grocery bag drag is certainly a new experience for us. Sounds cool being international shoppers but it is a bit of a pain lugging everything the four kilometres or so back. However, when prices are well less than half, it certainly makes the walk worthwhile.
To reach Spain everything, including pedestrians, has to cross the runway. Our marina is located near the gap in the breakwaters top right.
There's not too many places you'll see a traffic jam like this

 It’s hard for us to get our head around the fact that there’s 21% tax on everything in Spain yet it’s still that much cheaper than Gibraltar. Karen slipped up to the bakery here last week to grab some croissants to have with Sunday breakfast and almost choked when they were a Pound each ( $1.55). At La Linea we bought a packet of nine for 1.30 Euro ($1.60). In Gib, which promotes it has no tax on alcohol as a tourist draw, a bottle of wine from the supermarket was just under three times the price of the exact same bottle in Spain. Looks like we’ll be doing a lot of border hopping this winter.
La Linea is a nice place to wander around so our shopping trips have side benefits such as a great Tapas lunch - cheap.

We have the boat to ourselves for a while as Marc has headed back to London today for a wedding and catch up with friends and family. We'd love to do likewise and fly home to see everyone for a bit but Marc's Gib to London discount airfare was twenty quid. Our fares to Australia and back would be well over $4,000 so that will have to wait. Hopefully we’ll make it home next Christmas.

At the moment it's overcast here but at least not too cold. We're hoping to get some nice weather soon to head out for a day on the water. We just like to go sailing for sailing's sake and go where ever the wind takes us instead of having a need to get somewhere specific. It will make a nice change.

For more about our travels and lots more photos check out and 'like' our Dreamtime Sail facebook page at

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