The Red Arrows flew into Gibraltar yesterday to put on a display this morning for the first time in years.
For once, my timing went well. Breakfast eaten, showered, and nicely ready to wander out and catch the 10.30 bus to Europa Point.
At the bus stop the traffic was stationary/moving very slowly. One woman said to her daughter, perhaps you had better go, or you might miss it. The daughter shot off at a fast pace pushing the kiddy in a chair. I followed her - but when I got to Trafalgar Cemetary, the traffic was clear.
I had visions of shooting around Rosia, Camp Bay and Little Bay, and entering the tunnel to get to Europa just as the Red Arrows flew past. I decided to go back and wait for the bus, I figured it would arrive on time.
A few minutes later it turned up. Full. Damn, damn, damn. I was going to have to walk anyway. 10.37 now.
I started legging it up the hill. As I passed the next bus stop, the same bus I had been waiting for arrived, still full. At least ten people immediately started the trudge uphill behind me. Onwards and upwards, past the Rock Hotel, past the cable car, focusing on getting to the old naval hospital before 11am - after that it's all downhill.
And although it's a hillier route, it's actually shorter than going around Rosia. Well, I think it is anyway. And maybe an empty bus would arrive for me to jump on - but it didn't.
At spot-on 1100 I was approaching the corner to descend to Europa and the Red Arrows zoomed into sight in perfect formation (it looked perfect to me). Red, white and blue smoke in perfect lines behind them.
I felt a slight shiver and a huge thrill of anticipation at seeing such incredible skill and precision. At this point, pedestrians were winning out, the traffic had ground to a halt and people were marooned in cars as those of us on foot gaily marched on to find a good viewing spot.
Nothing more to say really. Just brilliant and awe-inspiring.
Links to Red Arrows site (and Wiki) after the photos.
And the traffic was still horrific all the way back. I thought Gib might have tipped into the sea this morning, Europa Point end first - it felt like the whole of Gibraltar was going there. But worth it.
against all odds
1 week ago