What can we learn from our European cousins?

After a relaxing family holiday to the Andalusian region of Spain last week I found myself comparing the region to things back home.

As we toured the area the contrast in the aesthetics of local buildings and general cleanliness was highly noticeable.

Each area we visited was immaculately presented with scores of workman sweeping, cleaning and collecting litter every single day.

Main commercial streets had hidden underground recycling bins with refuse bins visible above ground. In residential areas, large wheelie bins could be seen inside secure concrete structures dotted around for residents to leave their refuge for collection. No seagulls ripping bags apart here.

Much of the region displayed white-washed walls with neat pavements and I noticed how buildings were constantly being painted by their owners.

I even watched how local businesses employed maintenance workers to keep on top of any small blemishes on their walls.

The main roundabouts were well kept and designed with varying themes. One had a display of full-size and lifelike elephants and another a collection of windmills.

On the beachfront numerous statues stood proudly commemorating the local history and it was clear the simple attitude of the Spanish was pride.

Such respect for their history, homes, businesses and how they present themselves to visitors and to each other, along with continuous re-investment in the area reflects positively on both the community and tourists. With everything feeling clean, neat and tidy it seemed to help promote a healthy attitude to life.

In stark contrast, strolling around Helston can be a depressing experience with a mish-mash of half-hearted road repairs, run down buildings, overgrown hedges and litter blowing through the streets.

I have to admit would feel embarrassed if someone living in Fuengirola spent a day walking around our town. When did we stop caring?

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