Tag Archives: disney

When dog poop spoils your sightseeing

Has this happened to you before? You find yourself in this beautiful medieval town with narrow cobblestone streets, terracotta tiles on the houses, church bells ringing in the square – and right in front of you on the path dog poop. Yuck.

Some cities get a bad name for this. Paris for example became known for the dog poop in the streets – not to mention cigarette butts and more. But back in 2017 the authorities realised that this was doing nothing to encourage tourists and in fact made life pretty miserable for the locals too. They set up a board (some call it the “incivility brigadeā€ ) to look into this and charge hefty fines.

There are some cities in Europe that have found a way to deal with dog poop and I think that this has also been adopted by some cities in North America. Nerja, Spain is a good example.

Once a sleepy fishing village, Nerja is one of the few places to have kept its traditional charm, with whitewashed houses, narrow streets and all the modern amenities you could hope for.    WikiTravel describes it well –

It is a quiet town with a central historical area that still feels like a village, and the tourist mix is not exclusively northern European as many Spanish people use this resort for holidays, together with French and Italians.

“The town is built on a hillside with a not too steep gradient and the sprawling centre itself consists of an older part with white streets partly pedestrianized mainly to the east of the Balcon de Europa, the natural focus of the town and the venue for fiestas, but beyond the 17th century church and the Plaza Cavana more modern development takes over and it is in these areas that the town seems like any other recently developed Spanish Costa resort.”

So this beautiful little town started to have a problem not only with stray dogs but also with dog owners not cleaning up the poop. Now in order to get a dog licence you need to register your dog’s dna and if they find a dog poop on the street and identify the dna then you, the owner, are in for a hefty fine. Apparently this has worked quite well so far and dog poop sightings are down.

Which is a good thing…. because we, as tourists, like to visit these medieval cities and want it to look just like it was in medieval times – as if we were on a film set of Game of Thrones. We don’t want to see McDonalds or Starbucks or ATMS or anything else that might spoil the illusion. Mmmm…isn’t that why Disney is so successful???

The kids made me do it

We just had to go to Disney. For kids who where born and grew up in a small kingdom in Africa the idea of a trip to Disneyworld was so incredible we just had to make it happen. It was a long trip – a four hour drive from our home in Mbabane Swaziland to Johannesburg International airport.

Then 11.5 hours flying time to London – and then another 9.5 hours to Orlando. Boy this Mickey Mouse better be worth it. And he was, as well as the Ninja Turtles and Goofy …. just the look on the kids’ faces was enough reward for me.

Having said that I did have to laugh when I came across this British comedy skit of a travel agent booking a Disney trip …. if you have time check this out. (“It’s just a man in a suit!”)

The mom’s face says it all

So I did Disney (twice) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the kids had more fun looking at me being terrified of the rides. And we did pace ourselves. Disney can be pretty exhausting if you are determined to get your money’s worth. I had to laugh the last time I was down there for a travel function. I have honestly never seen so many crying children and so many moms with strollers where the beverage holder had a beer! Well maybe it was a Coke!

Are we having fun yet?

Family holidays can be a challenge at the best of times but they do create some wonderful memories and some good stories to share over dinner.

Fishing trips were a big one in our family and the kids were taught at an early stage to fly fish. We took many camping trips while we lived in Africa. We would hitch up the trailer and drive down to the coast. The beach was miles long and almost deserted and we had to take the 4×4 to drive along it. Lunch in the cooler box, a fishing rod and not a life guard to be seen. Alas when we got back to the camp we found the monkeys had cleverly broken into the trailer and opened every Tupperware container they could find. What a mess!

No – I am not having fun – so there!

Or the time we took a cruise from Durban stopping off at a small port on Madagascar island. We took a taxi from the port to a nearby beach. Imagine the look on the boys’ faces when they saw that there was no floor in the car at the back – it had completely rusted away – so they had to keep their feet up away from the axle. And you wonder why they call that port Hellville!

Or our first cruise in North America – out of LAX along the Mexican Riviera. Our first sea day sitting up on deck I could not find the youngest one anywhere. I started to panic until I saw him leading the conga line – having the time of his life! That’s what you have to do on a family vacation – just roll with the punches and make sure you get a photo!