We’ve all heard about those weird laws and bye-laws from around the world like it being illegal to forget your wife’s birthday in Samoa or to sing loudly in Hawaii after sunset but there are some rules and regulations that just don’t seem to make any sense for the countries that impose them.
So here, without further ado, are six of the most counterintuitive laws in the world.
In France you can’t name your pig after the head of state
The French have always been known for their irreverence as well as a disdain for hierarchy and privilege – you only have to look at the French Revolution to see that. But when it comes to naming the family pig it’s a very different matter. So if you really did want to call your beloved porker Emmanuel Macron it just wouldn’t be a good idea.
In Venice you mustn’t encourage the pigeons
It’s one of the world’s most iconic images – Venice’s magnificent St Mark’s Square with its Basilica, Campanile and Doges Place with thousands of pigeons mingling with the tourists. But, over the years, those feathered friends have come to be both a health hazard and a major cause of damage to the ancient buildings. So if you’re caught feeding them even a scrap of your panini you face a fine of up to 700 euros.
There’s no gambling in China
Although the Chinese have always loved to gamble, and may even have invented a primitive form of poker thousands of years ago, all kinds of wagering is illegal. So if you’re feeling lucky then you’d better head to Macau for a game of poker. Luckily, it’s home to some of the world’s best casinos including the huge Venetian which claims to be the world’s largest at 540,000 sq. ft. However, the Wynn is the place to be for serious poker players, unfortunately, this isn’t for your average traveller. The staff are friendly and approachable but the majority of the tables are high-stakes and you’ll find the smallest buy-in for HK$500.
There are no stilettos in the Parthenon
If you’re planning to go sightseeing in Greece then you’d better make sure that you pack a flat pair of shoes or two. That’s because high heels are banned from many of the country’s most famous monuments because of the damage that it’s feared they could do to the centuries-old stone work.
No driving in sandals in Spain
We’re sticking with footwear here with a strange but sensible rule from a country that you might think would be a bit more laid back about such matters. But the truth is that if you’re behind the wheel in Spain you’d better be wearing a proper pair of shoes if you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the Guardia Civil.
Make sure you’ve got a full tank in Germany
Finally, it’s another car-based law from the country famous for its automotive excellence. If you’re heading off on the autobahn make sure there’s enough in the tank to get you to your destination. Because if you run out of juice and end up on the hard shoulder there’s a fine on its way to you.
So, do enjoy your travels but also keep an eye out for any laws that might trip you up on the way. Above all, remember the expression “when in Rome . . . it’s illegal to keep a fish in goldfish bowl or even eat in public”!