Monday, February 15, 2016

Gibraltar - the planning

I recently attended the 2016 Gibraltar Chess Congress, and will write about my experience there in future posts. But I thought I would start with discussing my interest in Gibraltar and the planning involved in getting there.

I started following the Congress online starting sometime around 2012 or 2013. The tournament, side events, and locale all made it look like an attractive option for a chess vacation,.

So time to rough-cost the adventure,  My first stab at it for the 2014 Congress indicated that I could fly to London and then to Gibraltar for a total of around $ 1,200.  Accommodation at the host hotel, the Caleta, would run about  825 Pounds (or about $1,500 Canadian at the time), if I shared it with someone.  Well, that seemed a bit expensive for a chess vacation, and for various other reasons, I didn't get too serious about any further planning,

Come summer of 2015, I started thinking about it again, Checking the website, I noted that the organizers offered a charter bus from Malaga, Spain to Gibraltar. I don't think I had ever heard of Malaga before. A quick search of flight options indicated that the flights to Malaga were less expensive than going through London.

I also started looking for less expensive accommodation. I noted from one timely article that some players stayed in La Linea, Spain, near the Gibraltar border.  I almost booked something there for around $ 50 CDN per night, but decided my schedule would make staying in Spain a bit impractical.
I thought I would try taking a look at  AirBNB options. I was successful in booking a room off Main St. in Gibraltar for about $ 75 CDN per night,

I watched the flight costs for a couple of months, until I noticed  a significant price drop and booked a return flight Winnipeg-Montreal-Paris-Malaga for less than $ 900 CDN. The itinerary I prepared for myself included 2 nights in Malaga, followed by 12 nights in Gibraltar, and then one night back in Malaga.

A day or two before departure, I bought some Euros and British pounds.

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