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What is it like to actually live in Gibraltar?

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

So beyond the thoughts of job hunting, what about all that precious weekend and evening time? What is it like to actually live in Gibraltar?

To add some perspective, this is a collection of thoughts from someone (me!) who grew up in London, lived in Spain and now has a family (3 kids,  crazy I know!) living in Gibraltar, to maybe give you an insight into what life is like here.

English is widely spoken and arguably the main language, although you will certainly hear a lot of Spanish. Its own unofficial language (Llanito) which mixes Spanish and English is certainly here but if you speak in English then most people can help you. It is amazing the number of situations, when you compare Spain to Gibraltar, where is just easier to speak English, to get things done.

Gib is a small place which means you can walk everywhere safely but if you need to catch a bus, then most are free, if you own a residency card. So on a Friday or Saturday night if you fancy a drink or 2 then you can do so and not have to drive. This sounds like a small thing but if you have ever waited around for 30 minutes trying to get a taxi you know this makes life easier. As it is a small place, the run to drop one kid to football practice then take another to swimming, is certainly easier. Only parents will understand this hassle obviously!

Restaurants are abundant but as in any town, there are a few little gems, once you get away from the main tourist areas. All standard cuisine is catered for such as Indian, Chinese with the bonus of having great Mediterranean food with fresh seafood almost second to none. Spanish wine is pretty cheap too, which is certainly no bad thing!

Pubs are everywhere! If you want a certain type of drinking hole then it is here, from sports bars to wine bars through to comfy sofa hang outs to places only large enough for 5 people to fit in, having a quiet drink, looking out over the sea or having a dance in a club, are certainly many peoples idea of different ways to relax and both are easily achievable here.

Almost full Sky subscription (sports channels, movies etc) for less than 100 pounds a year. Yes a year! So when you want to put your feet up and catch up on Corrie or the footy, then you need not miss out.

Broadband speed is great, with the installation of fibre optic getting more widespread throughout the town so Netflix is a real option and those Skype calls back to the UK, need not stop or freeze.

There are almost every main stream sports you can think of to participate in, of an evening or weekend, from football, swimming and rugby to netball, dance and martial arts. In my experience many are financially subsidised, so fairly cheap and are staffed by genuinely community minded individuals. The weather has a great bearing on many sports for obvious reasons and in winter, the ski slopes in Spain are only about 3 hours away so a real weekend possibility. You can even ice skate, in the rink then come out and go to the beach, where it is 30 degrees. The sports facilities tend to be of a decent standard with quality equipment and experienced coaches / staff.

There are a few good gyms with aerobic classes featuring all the newest trends and free weights galore. They have swimming pools, both indoors and out so if this is your choice of exercise then you can splash around to your hearts content.

If your chosen sport is shopping then many of the UK High Streets main brands are here, from Next to Topshop, designer labels galore and Spanish brands, such as Mango. The main supermarket is Morrissions so if you want many of the UK creature comforts (such as Marmite!) then you can easily buy them. Electrical shops are well stocked with all the latest gadgets and games so you need not miss out on anything here.

Over the last 3 or 4 years the number of Music Festivals has exploded and cater to all tastes from Heavy Rock, to Dance through to Chart Music. This years Gibraltar Music Festival featured bands such as Kings of Leon, Duran Duran, Madness and Little Mix, to mention only a few.

Dolphin watching. Need I say more, apart from, if you have not done this, then you have to.

The cinema is pretty new and gets all the main films, sometimes earlier than the UK release date so you need not miss out on the newest releases.

The beach is free, as is the parking so you can amuse yourself or the kids, for hours, at no cost. In the summer the sunset can be as late at 10pm so to go to the beach, after work is a real option. Playing with the kids on the beach until 8pm on a Wednesday night certainly makes a change from hiding indoors from the rain. The sea water is warm so water sports, most of the year round, is possible and the chance to hire canoes etc is easy.

It is obviously a small community but with that comes and a real sense of protection and warmth, once you have been accepted. The last words are added because initially you are seen as an outsider but once you have shown up to football practice more than 4 times then people start to talk to you.  I have found people happy to help you in most situations and give over a warmth that you rarely get in London, that is for sure!

 

So in summary Gibraltar is great for many reasons and a place I am happy to call home so why not give it some serious thought as to why it could not be great for you too?

If you have any questions about living here please contact me directly and I would be happy to my help or share my experiences.

 


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