Article by 10C

Taking the Plunge in Gibraltar

By 10C 
 
 

To begin with, I want to thank dating4disabled for not only asking for our story, but for making our lives together possible to begin with.  Special thanks to Merryl, Daniel, and Yuval for giving us a chance to meet and chat on your incredible website. 

Martyn and I came into contact while on the dating4disabled website last July, even though we were on separate continents.  I was living in San Francisco in the US at the time, and he was at home in Birmingham, United Kingdom. 

After original contacts on the site, we decided to start e-mailing each other directly.  Eventually, after we started speaking on the phone long distance.  I got a Skype account so that we could have longer conversations, but we were soon exhausting that as well.

I remember telling him that the likelihood of us ever meeting in person was slim to none. 

I was drawn to him by his openness to people of all different cultures and his love of travel.  He really could understand my life experiences and values.  I feel like we could relate to each other on many levels.   

Several trips later, I realized that I had fallen in love with him.  We wanted to live together and found ourselves looking for places to get married by the end of March of this year.  Gibraltar caught our eye because of the intimate and romantic surroundings and a very simple ceremony.   

Before we arrived to Gibraltar, we sent an e-mail to Peter Sarde?a, a true Gibraltarian and owner and operator of the only Mobility Care Center ([email protected]  Gibraltar telephone country code 350 tel.: 561757000).  I called him as well, and he was so kind as to arrange that our scooters would be there at the Bristol Hotel upon our arrival.  He said we could call him and he would be there to show us the operational details once we settled in. 

Gibraltar’s town center is very scooter friendly, but the other areas have a bit of a way to go, so be sure to check things out in advance.  We were content in the main area around the Bristol Hotel and Marina.  We were told that some beaches are also scooter friendly.  There is also a Casino that also provides rainy day entertainment. 

Peter, who has been a great advocate for the disabled in Gibraltar, soon became our good friend.  We met Peter’s lovely wife and family during our stay and will always be thankful for their hospitality. 

He took us to the sites atop of the Rock that are not as accessible as we would have thought.  We were really blessed to have his guidance and can’t thank him enough.

He was really our “Rock in Gibraltar” and made our wedding experience a great one. 

For example, although there is a cable car to the top of the rock, once you arrive to the center there, there are only stairwells.  As in many engineering projects there is an oversight in the construction of the center and unfortunately, the disabled facilities are at the very top with only stairwells to get there!  So be sure that you plan ahead if you decide to go there. 

Getting married there for us, entailed sending in our documents via e-mail and £107.50 pounds fee, and getting there a working day in advance early to bring in the document originals for verification and £12.50 pounds for final approval of the Gibraltar Registry and Government ([email protected]gov.gi), once the ceremony was scheduled. 

We were also fortunate to have Peter and his dear friend, Don Luis serve as the required two English speaking witnesses.

   

You can also make it more of an elaborate occasion with the help of other Gibraltar hotels and service groups online, but we wanted something sweet and simple. 

Weddings in the mainland of the UK could be over 2000 British Pounds just for the ceremony, and we really were on a budget.  We were able to spend the same as that with flights, lodging, dining, scooter rental, and the wedding ceremony at the Gibraltar Registry. It was a wedding and honeymoon all in one! 

Martyn and I both are challenged when it comes to getting around and very dependent on canes and scooters, so we needed to take the mobility logistics into account as well.  

Fortunately the Registry in Gibraltar at 3 Secretary’s Lane was only blocks away from the Bristol Hotel (10 Cathedral Square, telephone country code 350 tel.: 20076800) situated in a lovely Main Street promenade area that is very scooter friendly.  The hotel staff was incredibly helpful and even provided a ramp at the exit and indoor parking for our scooters, as well as recharging of the scooter batteries every evening at no extra charge.   

The Bristol Hotel has a main building with lobby and outside around the corner the entrance to the Bar, breakfast buffet, and adjoining pool.  Vending machines have snacks, sodas, and cocktails to take to the room in case you arrive late. 

The entire Main Street extends for miles and ends up in an open Colonial plaza shopping square.  From there through the tunnel entrance side and several blocks more to the Marina boardwalk and lovely shops and scenic restaurants.  You can find the schedules for all the buses and ferries to Spain and Morocco at the Tourist Information Office at the plaza.  On Saturdays the ceremony of the Keys also takes place at this same plaza. 

Gibraltar is a great location with so many possibilities.  You can easily get to the border of Spain or take a ferry to Morocco on an additional day or overnight tour.  There are plenty of activities like historical and panoramic sites to visit.  The area is steeped in Colonial architecture and the restaurants offer up a mosaic of international cuisines. 

I have to admit that Gibraltar stole our hearts.  As a British territory, Gibraltar utilizes the English language and UK pounds and British pounds are interchangeable.  Euros are also accepted in many locals.  The population is equally diverse with many religious groups and cultures and live in harmony in this Utopian gem.  You will meet Italian, Jews, Moroccans, Spanish, British, Irish, Thai, and Indian that reside in the area.  Additionally, visitors from all over the world find this place a safe haven with very little crime.  The only ones you may have to keep an eye for are the native caramel-colored apes that come down into the city on occasion from atop the Rock and are rather attracted to any snack food you may have on hand. 

We loved to have dinner at The Royal Calpe, 176 Main Street tel: 20075890 where there is live music on Fridays, and outdoor and indoor seating.  The Chicken and Mushroom pie are wonderful and the Fish and Chips up to British satisfaction.  

For those with healthy conscious palates, we also found the Mr. Richard Clark’s Organics Fine Foods at 256 Main Street, a short scoot from the Bristol a great place to have takeaway delights. 

If you get a chance to go to Gibraltar, you may want to check edreams.co.uk for great bargains and try to reserve in advance, since the high time for visitors is usually June to August.  Please also give a big hello for us to Peter and enjoy your stay! 
 
 
 

10C is also the author of the children’s bedtime story “Once Upon A Galaxy” and Martyn Tupper is a retired concert photographer.  The Tuppers now hope to move to Gibraltar.  

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