What is it like to commute into Gibraltar?


This is an article written about what it is like living in Gibraltar


The sound of my alarm awakens me into a new working day and my eyes slowly open. Birds are tweeting outside the window and the sun beams through a crack in curtains.  So it is another Tuesday in June and another beautiful morning on the Spanish coast. As I wait for my toast to pop up I can see the sea, from the balcony of my 2 bedroom flat and the early morning joggers in their daily routine. The temperature is already 18 degrees so no need for a jacket but certainly for deodorant, it is going to be a hot one!


Time to get ready for my 25 minute drive to Gibraltar, in my Spanish car complete with the obligatory scratches and dents. I choose the coast road today, as I am in no real rush and I like the reminder than instead of driving in looking out over the sea, I used to sit on the grubby train with 100s of unhappy looking commuters.


Traffic never seems to hit until you get closer to Gibraltar, where you can feel daily work reality kicking in. The closer I get to Gibraltar I choose my entry options. There is no queue to drive into Gibraltar since the Spanish opened 2 entry lanes in August, but should I risk it? Who knows if there will be a border queue coming out, plus I do not need my weekly Morrisons shop for all that lovely English food that you cannot get in Spain.


So I decide to park the car up and take the stroll over the border. It is always good to have some parking options, especially if I decide to come into work at different times. It is 8:30 and the majority of the side road parking is for 2 Euros a day, have been taken, so I park slightly further away for free. That reminds me I need to sort out my monthly subscription with the marina port parking, where payment is deducted at the beginning of the month, so I can just insert a card and I am hassle free.


Car parked, now for my 20 minute stroll into work. I make my way from the car to the border where everyone from school kids, labourers and office workers make their way in. Cars and motorbikes join the queue and relevant lanes, suited men and women can be found on bicycles and scooters, even a new motor scooter whizzes past! Skateboards seem to be picking up, whilst all the rest happily walk in, which seem to look like a group of ants following the one in front.


Here we are at the border so do not forget your passport! First check point, Spanish customs, the officer stares at me; I flick my passport up, not even recognition, so just continue on my way. Next check point, Gibraltar passport control and customs, a slightly more welcoming grin, I nod and smile and make my way out of the customs building into Gibraltar, where the hustle and bustle is clear, just as you step in.


There are chatty workers at the entrance, waiting for the company van to pick them up, a long taxi queue where some franticly look at their watches, whereas others just can not be bothered to queue so just walk in. It is a beautiful day, why would you not want to walk in? I treat myself to a taxi ride now and again, but today I will save my 3.60 pounds fare and stroll in, not even using the red double decker buses. I see a few friends and colleagues so I dash to catch them up and we join each other on our morning walk.


I do not even blink anymore at the thought of crossing the runway, where 4 or more flights come in daily. Just the usual barrier comes down when a plane needs to cross, it just seems normal now! I am just happy I have not been caught up in the runway morning clean up, which takes from 2 to 5 mins for the crew to take their machines through.


As I grab a takeout coffee to help me wake up, I realise that in many ways I could be in any town in Europe with the mix of cars, commuters and high rise flats and offices. The coffee tastes good and the pastry was unnecessary but sometimes you just have to treat yourself!


I get to work and enter the big glass entrance, which seems more like the lobby to a 5 star hotel. The pleasant security guard chirps away, Good morning! At last someone has a smile on their face!


A complete different world from the outside, I have already heard 3 different languages as I walk into the open plan office with great views of the rock and sea. A real mix of skills, languages, religions, it does not matter as everyone gets a long like one big family.


Now time to settle down to work, seems like half the day has already gone, but considering the commute I used to do, I would not want it any other way.



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