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Justin's Life

Welcome to my new blog. I plan to write about all sorts of things here, my life in Spain, ineresting things and ideas I've come across, places I've visited and so much more. Hope you enjoy it and please leave comments as your input is always appreciated.

Juzcar - The Smurf village in Spain; a missed business opportunity?
06 March 2012 @ 20:54

I know, everyone's probably been to see this by now but we only got round to seeing it last weekend.  If you don't know about this it's the small village near Ronda that was painted blue as part of the promotion for the new Smurfs movie last year.

Most people had never heard of Juzcar (I for one) and so this publicity stunt really put this little village on the map.  People started flocking to see the typical Andalucian village painted Smurf blue instead of the normal white.

And when you drive down the narrow road to get the village, when you see the first few houses it is quite funny and odd to see them painted blue.  Sadly, the novelty factor pretty much begins and ends there.

Juzgar smurf village in Spain

You pull up to the entrance to the village, expecting to find someone dressed as a Smurf telling you where to park, but no.  Just a guy in a reflective jacket who doesn't direct any cars anywhere.  Maybe it was a Smurf holiday?

So you park up and start walking into the village.  There are a few Smurf paintings on some walls and you do eventually come across a shop selling smurfy stuff (pitufo is Spanish for smurf by the way).

Juzgar smurf village in Spain

You also come across a bit of cardboard stuck to a lampost pointing you to "El bar de Gargamel" where you'll find the owner of the bar dressed as the evil one from the film.  He actually does look like Gargamel too!

But apart from the shop and the bar, after walking around the village for half an hour that's about it.  There's really nothing else to see or do.  It's just a normal sleepy village but blue instead of white.

Have they missed an opportunity?

Spain is in a terrible state at the moment with massive unemployment.  I can't be the only one who thinks that there is money to be made in the little village.  I spoke to the owner of the B&B there and he said that he's fully booked every weekend., so obviously people have been and are still going to see the village.

Why were there no Smurfs walking around that you could have your picture taken with for a small fee?  My kids would have loved that and I would therefore have willingly coughed up the readies.

Imagine a photo with Smurfette?  Even the men would have gone for that 

What about some Smurf rides for kids?  Or a Smurf train to take people around the village?

Or a Smurf cake stall?  Or Smurf blue slush puppies (the Spanish love their "granizadas")?  Smurf face painting?

Surely there must be a hundred ways that people could get creative and get money out of the thousands of people visiting the village every week.

We left the village on Saturday after 30 minutes and we hadn't spent a single cent.  And that, believe it or not, makes me a bit sad.  I was more than happy to pay a few Euros for the kids to be entertained yet the opportunity just wasn't there.

Come on, in such tough times people need to grasp opportunities whilst they are there.  The Smurf village novelty will eventually wear off and probably never return but some people could have made a mint if they'd been a bit creative and got themselves down to the village in their homemade Smurf outfits.

If I'd been unemployed or desperate for money, you know where you would have been able to find me 

Like 0


Gary said:
07 March 2012 @ 21:14

Justin for Mayor of Juzcar!!

All great points Justin....kinda what I felt when we went there...

LindsayinSpain said:
08 March 2012 @ 22:21

Well said Justin, we went mid-summer and I was happy to share on my blog how we found it to be a great place to visit with the kids, but my enjoyment was more about the whole experience of escaping the coast in general and having a dose of inland Andalucia. There were "smurfs" walking up & down and would have a pic taken if you were fast enough, as well as waiters dutifully donning smurt hats and joining in... but even then I felt they were missing a trick with making a buck out of the visitors. I suspect the villagers are just bored with it now, or just lack a bit of entrepreneurial spirit as a collective whole - I do see some businesses really trying but it seems a bit of a losing battle, which makes me sad too

Diana said:
10 March 2012 @ 17:48

We went to Malta a few years ago and they are making good use of The fact that The Popeye film was made there they have a Popeye Village complete with Popeye Olive and all the other characters. So the Smurfs would certainly work in Spain

Keith said:
11 March 2012 @ 18:31

Why am i not surprised that the Spanish have not capitalised on the commercial side of this and made some dinero?

My experience with most of the Spanish people is that they are too laid back & havent got a clue about customer service.

I lived in Spain for four years and came to the conclusion that the Spanish people are their worst enemies!

Reinier said:
13 March 2012 @ 09:56

Good points you are making. I guess many people in the village do not have the feeling to walk around dressed as a smurf whole day (somehow understandable) but I think you are right in saying i is an opportunity missed.

They could built some mushroom houses as well for the little ones to stay in haha.

Mizzfixit said:
13 March 2012 @ 15:54

I absolutely agree with all the above. I chose to visit the village for a romantic Valentine's night. It was midweek and to say that the village was sleepy is an understatement. It's neglected, shabby and there was nobody around. We did find a bar for a cup of coffee but seriously - what a missed opportunity to create a great tourist attraction. Allegedly income into the village has increased, but clearly they're satisfied with very little! We certainly won't be going back!

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