Travelers beware: The authorities in Europe are really cracking down. Italy recently made headlines due to all the strict new regulations across the country, from a law prohibiting anyone from sitting on Rome’s Spanish Steps to fines for wearing flip-flops in Cinque Terre. Now, you can add stealing sand from a beach. You read that right: Two French tourists are facing up to six years of jail time for taking sand from a beach on the island of Sardinia.
And it’s not just Italy: Countries across the Continent are fining tourists for the most unlikely offenses. Last year, two tourists got fined €25 (about $27) for getting lost in a Metro station in Paris. This summer, a surprised traveler in Mallorca was fined €100 ($111) for buying goods from an illegal street vendor. Meanwhile, in the Mallorcan town of Magaluf, lawmakers have published a list of 64 banned actions with penalties ranging from €100 ($111) to €3,000 ($3,335) for everything from damaging flowers to climbing trees. The island city of Hvar, Croatia will fine you for a lengthy list of inappropriate public behavior, including walking around in a swimsuit—a €600 ($667) fine. And in Amsterdam, which is known for its brothels and marijuana cafés, the city recently launched the Enjoy and Respect campaign, with fines for drinking in public, making noise, littering and more.
Supporters say it’s all an attempt to keep unruly tourists in line. “Young tourists are welcome, but they will have to learn how to behave here,” Hvar’s fed-up mayor Rikardo Novak told local media when he instated those fines.
Critics say all these rules are way too punitive. The move has sparked debates online with some saying it’s a sure-fire way to turn off tourists. But maybe that’s the point? Stephen Hodes, the founder of an independent think tank called Amsterdam in Progress, says he thinks Amsterdam hasn’t been strict enough. ”There are too many tourists,” he says. “The only thing to do is to take radical measures, otherwise it’s a consumption ghetto, not a city where people live.”
Whatever the case, these rules aren’t going anywhere. So before you plan a trip to Europe, check out these 17 regulations that just might get you in big trouble and turn that dream European vacation into a nightmare.
1. Stealing Sand: As those French travelers discovered, Sardinia wants people to keep their hands off its sand. A 2017 law made it illegal to remove sand, pebbles and shells, with fines of up to €3,000 (about $3,330). Last year, a tourist from the UK got fined €1,000 ($1,100) for stealing sand.
2. Traveling with Designer Rip-Offs: Leave that fake Rolex at home. In France, tourists can get fined up to €300,000 ($334,000) for bringing counterfeit goods into the country. Other countries like Austria, Ireland and Croatia are similarly strict.
3. Ripping Your Currency: Be careful how you handle your money in Turkey: Defacing or tearing up the local currency can carry a prison sentence of between six months to three years.
4. Wearing a Bikini… and Nothing Else: In many parts of Europe, including the Spanish island of Mallorca and the Croatian towns of Split and Hvar, it’s against the law to wear only a bikini or swimming shorts in the street. Authorities may impose fines if people are caught wearing swimwear away from the beach; in Mallorca that even extends to the seafront promenade.
5. Peeing in the Ocean: Really? Portugal has a bizarre law on the books saying that you can get busted for using the ocean as your toilet. Here’s the thing: Who will ever know?
6. Wearing a baggy swimsuit: Sorry guys, but if you’re headed to a public pool in France, you’ll need to learn those trunks at home and don a tight-fitting Speedo-type swimsuit instead.
7. Behaving Badly: Signs reading “Save Your Money and Enjoy Hvar” greet tourists at the entrances to the center of the town in Croatia, graphically detailing offenses and the corresponding penalties. The highest fine, €700 ($778), is for public alcohol-drinking, eating or sleeping.
8. Taking Selfies: Better to just ask a fellow tourist to snap a photo for you. In the center of Milan, selfie sticks were recently banned—in addition to glass bottles and food trucks—as authorities try to limit littering and anti-social behavior.
9. Wearing Heels at Historic Sites: Save your fancy outfits for dinner. Heels are banned at certain Greek archaeological sites, including the Acropolis.
10. Driving in Sandals: Proper footwear required! Driving while wearing flip-flops or sandals is a criminal offense in Spain, and comes with a fine of €200 ($222).
11. Hiking in the Buff: In 2011, a Swiss court made it illegal to hike naked. The case came about after a German man strode nude past a family picnicking near the Swiss Alps. Naked hiking had become increasingly popular in the years before the court ruling.
12. Running out of Fuel: Cruising on Germany’s Autobahn? Make sure your fuel tank is topped off. It’s illegal to run out of fuel while driving on the famed road.
13. Kissing on a Train Platform: Lips off! Couples have been banned from kissing on train stations in Manchester, England (a more recent law) and France (on the books since 1910). The reason? It holds up commuters and rail delays.
14. Driving Without a Breathalyzer: It’s illegal in France to drive without a breathalyzer in the car. Although the on-the-spot fine of €11 ($12) is no longer carried out by the government, it remains against the law.
15. Jaywalking: Germany takes its road safety very seriously. It’s a common social rule not to cross a pedestrian crossing before the light turns green. If you make a run for it, you could be fined €5-€10 ($5-$11).
16. Public Drinking: Holiday resorts across the Spanish island of Mallorca stepping up sanctions against rowdy tourists with a range of new penalties. Tourists and locals could face fines of up to €600 ($667) if caught drinking on the street.
17. Hailing a Cab if You’re Sick: The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act of 1984 makes it illegal to flag down a taxi in England if you have a “notifiable” disease without telling the driver. Then the driver can decide whether he/she wants to take you where you need to go. Our guess? You’re not going anywhere.
Ologburo hails Gov. Makinde for securing sole ownership of LAUTECH
Construction magnate and businessman, Omoba Tunde Ologburo has congratulated the Seyi Makinde -led Oyo State government for the recent sole ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) as announced by the National University Commission (NUC).
Ologburo, in a statement signed on Wednesday, in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, noted that the ease with which the state acquired ownership of the institution is yet another testimonial to the resourcefulness of Governor Seyi Makinde in getting results, even when the task is a tough one.
The merchant prince lauded both governments of Oyo and Osun State for letting reason prevail on the contentious issue of ownership and administration of the institution saying, “the problem-solving disposition of the two governors, and their private sector experiences came to bear in the outcome that we are celebrating today.”
According to him, “more especially, Governor Makinde has shown that with the mechanism of dialogue and mutual understanding a lot of achievements can be attained.
“This development has placed additional responsibilities on the shoulders of the Oyo State government. In the light of this, it is imperative to encourage teaching and non-teaching staff of the university, as well as the students to cooperate with the state government on the steps the government might be proposing in moving the university forward. Already, the Governor has said that the university would be run in a multi-campus system, which is a good development.”
The statement added that the public policy of qualitative education by the state government would receive further boost by this development, as it would ensure an increase in number of university admission for Oyo State indigenes.
How popular gospel singer, Dare Melody, band members narrowly escaped death
Nigerian gospel singer, Damilare Odunuga, popularly known as Dare Melody and his band members have many blessings to count besides their achievements and fortune as they narrowly cheated death on Saturday.
Mega Icon Magazine reliably gathered that Dare Melody left Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital where he had successful outings at Celestial Church, Goshenland Parish and the New Seraph All White Concert.
The gospel artist explained, “the journey was smooth until around 4.15am when mh band’s vehicles were moving in convoy until they sighted the traffic at Mowe. As it became imperative, the vehicles’ normal speeds were reduced to barest minimum.
“At this point, I suddenly heard a loud, nasty noise, a 40 feet heavily loaded truck struggled with brake failure and hit my car from the rear.
“I’m simply bereft of words to explain how it happened, but it was in the wee hours of Saturday November 21, 2020.
“My band members and I left for Lagos from Ibadan where we just had successful outings at Celestial Church, Goshenland Parish and the New Seraph All White Concert”.
He narrated further, “ the situation left me unconscious, for sometime I never knew what happened and where I was. My car had been tumbled and squeezed.
“I later heard voices, particularly the ones shouting he’s our Chairman. That must be voices of my band members.
Still trapped in an obnoxious enclosure, Dare Melody added that certain negative thoughts ran across his mind until rescue came from passersby who joined his band members to prise open one of the doors and pulled out the four of them in his car.
“It was like watching a movie with lots of stunts. We were all healthy, safe but this story is not sound.
“It was only one of the truck boys that fell off It, during the accident that got severely injured.
“Everyone at the scene blamed and even threatened to beat up the truck driver, claiming that truck drivers had caused deaths serially on that road, but for quick intervention of officers from Mowe Police station”.
Presently, the singer and music producer iis with grateful heart to God who spared his and others’ lives, especially during the dreaded “ember months.
Both his vehicle and the truck were taken to the Mowe Police station.
“Our plan was to get to Lagos early on that Saturday, settle at a relaxation apartment in Ilupeju before moving to Baptist Academy, Obanikoro where we later performed at a wedding ceremony.
“I give God the glory that I’m alive to tell this agonising tale. However, I passionately appeal to the government to quickly fix this road and ensure that its agencies thoroughly examine worthiness of vehicles on our roads. We have had enough of avoidable road accidents, our lives matter, please”, he submitted.
Argentine football ‘lord’, Maradona is dead
Argentine football legend, Diego Maradona has died of cardiac arrest at the age of 60.
Maradona’s spokesman confirmed the tragic story on Wednesday.
It will be recalled that the Gimnasia coach had been hospitalised at the start of November, days after celebrating the landmark birthday, after complaining of low spirits and fatigue.
Tests at the La Plata clinic revealed a blood clot on the brain, which doctors later revealed was operated on successfully.
Maradona was subsequently released from hospital as an outpatient to continue his convalescence, which he carried out in his dwelling in a private neighbourhood near Tigre, northern Buenos Aires.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday morning he suffered cardiac arrest, and paramedics at the scene failed to revive him.
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