That many people bring their dogs along in their camper van is a given, but a dog and a 90kg Vietnamese pot-bellied pig?! I must admit that when I first saw her, I thought I might have to give the Tapas Trails a miss for a while. A pig. In a camper van. Yeah, and pigs can fly.
Naomi Campbell is her name, although everyone says that even though she is as beautiful as her namesake, she behaves a lot better than the top model. Naomi must be the most photographed creature on the planet earth. I personally have at least 100 photos and a video or two of her, um, eating like a pig (sorry, couldn't resist it). She actually eats very delicately, but she makes these sweet, happy, grunting noises. I totally understand, Naomi, and would do the same if it were possible.
Her owners are French and English, and her mommy, Anais, told me that she has been on a diet as she was even fatter... That pig and I have loads in common – I too have been on a diet, but you'd never notice it unless I told you. I think she's perfect as she is and a sheer joy to watch ever so carefully walking around the parked camper vans looking for fresh grass to graze.
We parked our camper van on the Spanish / Gibraltar border and spent a couple of days there this year and last year. Last year we were able to take our bikes into Gib and cycle the whole way round, about 20km. It's amazingly beautiful and well worth a visit. We'd been up the mountain when we sailed in some 20 years ago, so didn't go up to view the apes this time. Apparently there's a “rule” that as long as there are apes on the mountain, Gib belongs to England. (And anyway, who needs apes when you have Naomi to admire.)
I must admit that I had no idea how “strained “ relations are between Spain and Gibraltar. Yes, I'd heard that Spain would like to have The Rock back (understatement), but the nasty little tricks that get used were unfamiliar to me. For instance, holding up the traffic trying to exit Gib for hours is a favorite. We had intended to drive in (diesel is much cheaper in Gib), but spending 6 hours in a queue trying to leave increases my blood pressure to unhealthy levels, so we walked in to do any shopping we wanted to do.
The old town is beautiful and interesting as is the botanical garden. The views around The Rock are spectacular and next year we'll cycle round again. This year we had gale force winds so cycling was a tad difficult, but we were able to spend time with the lovely Dutch couple we met, Ron and Trees, who you'll hear more about later. They had been told that Gib wasn't worth a visit, but we convinced them it was and they are now also Gib converts.
La Linea de la Concepcion has a lovely promenade and we walked along it and the beach for hours. There's a lovely bay on the other side and more opportunities to walk, cycle and shop. The spot where the camper vans are allowed to stay (most of the time) is on the old army base site and is directly next to the Gib landing strip – not a problem as there are only about 5 flights a day (the Spanish don't allow any more planes to use their air space) and it is quite fun to see them land with The Rock in the background.
Whether in a camper van or hotel, I highly recommend visiting The Rock. It's interesting and beautiful and if you're lucky enough to see Naomi Campbell, give her a scratch from me!