Monday, September 27, 2004
Today is the day the kids have been waiting for (or they would have been waiting for if they knew what to expect)–Gardaland! This is Italy’s biggest amusement parks and is located on the shores of Lake Garda about 45 minutes away, and their licensed character is a dinosaur critter called Prezzemolo and his sidekick Prit who looked a lot like a cigarette but turned out to be a gluestick. It’s interesting going to an Italian amusement park–there are virtually no height restrictions, nobody checks your restraints, and some of the tamer kids’ rides have missing buckles, etc. Everything was also pretty spread out–I think in the US they make sure the entrances to the rides all face each other but at Gardaland sometimes you had to walk around a ride to get to another, and there were lots of hills so it made for a quite a bit of walking. The kids’ area was great–a bunch of rides all built around this giant tree thing. Genevieve got to go on all kinds of things they’d never let her in the US, including this whirling boat ride that went super fast and teacups. Speaking of the teacups, she lost “B” on the teacup and trying to communicate a lost “B” to a ride attendant when you don’t speak the language is a challenge! But between hand gestures and pointing at Genevieve I did manage to recover the blanket. Charlotte loved, absolutely loved, this really cute farm ride with singing animals called Do Re Mi Farm, and the talking trees. We also saw a puppet show of Romeo and Juliet where we didn’t understand a single word, but the kids liked it anyway. Lunch was pretty bad, Italian cafeteria food which I don’t recommend, but what are you going to do?
The differences between the way Italians and Americans dress was very clear at Gardaland. For one thing, in the fall they dress in winter clothes regardless of the weather. So people were wearing long pants and long sleeves and even in some cases jackets even though I swear it was about 80 degrees. Then too, all the women were wearing insensible shoes. Now I know the mantra “fashion before comfort” but if you can’t even load your kids onto a ride because of your choice of footwear perhaps you’ve taken it a bit far. I know I got quite a few looks when I gave Genevieve a piggy-back ride–women just don’t do things like that there I guess.
The park closed at 6:00 and we managed to squeeze in one last carousel ridebefore it was time to go. I got Genevieve some Prezzemolo hair ties and some candy (a trick I learned from a playgroup mom, get a few pieces of candy or a lollipop when you leave someplace fun and you’ll get no whining about leaving). Back to the apartment through “rush-hour” traffic (tractors slowing down the traffic circles), and dinner/bath/bed.