ONCE you have crossed the runway and reach the Compass Roundabout, you can turn right for Ocean Village with its many bars and restaurants and then Morrisons supermarket.
It is said that this is one of the most profitable supermarkets in the Morrisons group attracting coach trips from the coast and large numbers of Spanish as well as expatriate visitors.
To be completely truthful, it actually isn’t that big or that impressive but does stock a large number of British brands, some of which are actually cheaper in Spain than they are in Gibraltar.
Special K cereals, toothpaste, Spanish wine, some British chocolate, coffee capsules and several other items can be purchased for less in Spain but there are also many brands which are almost impossible to obtain except in Gibraltar especially the range of cheese and cooked meats.
Those who are smokers and spirit drinkers will also find plenty to spend their money on but remember that there are strict limits on what you can purchase and how much you can take over the border and if stopped after 9pm with alcohol or cigarettes, even if within the approved limits they can be confiscated by the Guardia Civil.
Gibraltar is a melting pot of different religions and nationalities and when you reach Main Street with its range of popular stores such as Debenhams, Swarovski and Marks and Spencer mixed with local jewellery, perfume, electrical goods and off licences you will be served by a wide range of different people.
As you walk around the town, you will see locals speaking a speedy mixture of English and Spanish, Moroccans, Indians, Jews and Brits as well as a large number of Spanish visitors and workers as well as passengers from the many cruise ships who call into the port.
There are some bargains to be had if you choose carefully but these are often in last year’s models of designer sunglasses and electrical goods but in a number of the smaller shops, it is understood that you will haggle over high priced items depending on the shop and the salesperson.
It is said that there is a bar for every day of the year and there are also plenty of restaurants but eating tends to be more expensive than in Spain and for some reason the quality isn’t often as good unless you decide to visit one of the larger chains or specialist eateries such as La Sala on board the Sunborn Yacht Hotel in Ocean Village.
Many of the roads leading into Main Street are incredibly narrow and if you are travelling by car you would be advised to park in a public car park and then walk the length of the shopping road which is pedestrian only in many parts.
There is a large area known as Casemates at the bottom of the road which has an open plaza surrounded by bars, cafés and restaurants and there is often entertainment in the Plaza of various types and most weekends you will be able to catch sight of the Gibraltar Regiment re-enactment parade with volunteers dressed in colourful red tunics and antique firearms parading along Main Street.
In the next article, we will consider places of interest to visit as well as an overview of entertainment and beaches.