A playground even the locals don’t know about

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Every time I’m abroad or dealing with people from other countries I notice how the way people treat their children can vary depending on culture, values, ideas and habits and also through time. I can vividly remember what it was like as a Dutch child on holiday in France. Lying in my sleeping bag in our tent I used to listen to the French children playing outside.  We were the same age, but in France it’s normal that children go to bed late. I was jealous.

Later on in life I went to Birthday parties organized by South American friends. Everyone was dancing and it was a joyful happening. The children, however small, danced along and partied until they got tired and fell asleep on one of the couches.

These days I have a child of my own. Even though we do not stick to the bed times some Dutch parents use (6.15 pm) I must admit that I’m more Dutch than I sometimes like to think.

An Italian meal.

In the summer of 2016 our family went on holiday to Italy. It was always my ‘thing’ to book our stays and in the past we always stuck to hotels or B&B’s. Now that we had a child I thought it might be a nice idea to stay at places where they had children. The first place we went to was a B&B in the north-east of Italy. The owner was a good cook, who had a huge kitchen downstairs where he threw dinner parties. He also used it to cook a nice real Italian meal for his guests, the way only Italians can make it. Because he had a young son of his own, we thought it might be nice to have dinner at his place.

Until food was ready we sat at a large table while our daughter and his son watched Paws Patrol on a large screen. Even though it was in Italian Eryn was very interested. For a while that is. This was the first time we paid attention to the fact that in Italy people don’t eat until 7.30/8.00 pm. Starting time, that is. By that time our daughter was sleepy, moody and behaving like a normal Dutch toddler whose parents had forgotten to put her to bed. The entree was the most delicious pasta, so we ate a lot. We then realised this was not the main course. When we finally did arrive at the main course, Eryn refused to eat the risotto our host had prepared so carefully and we felt a bit embarrassed about the situation.

A playground.

The next day at breakfast Eryn kept on asking the owner about the ‘dog’. Unfortunately his English was as bad as our Italian. It took us a while until we understood she was not interested in the pet that was walking around behind the kitchen. She wanted to see Paws Patrol again. He laughed and switched it on. When his wife entered the room, we asked her whether there was a playground nearby. The holiday was as much our holiday as it was Eryn’s, so a bit of fun for her was in order. The woman – who had a four-year-old of her own – started thinking and thinking. She finally came up with an indoor playground that was quite far away. By the looks of it you could only go there to celebrate children’s Birthday parties. Could it be that her child never went to a playground?

We decided to give up on the playground and go to Arqua Petrarca. That turned out an excellent idea. By coincidence we came upon a playground that apparently the owner of the B&B as well as his wife did not know existed. A not just a playground, a great one! It had swings, a seesaw shaped like a horse, a big seesaw and a little house with a slide. It was a bit windy but the mountains in the back made the playground look extra joyful. Eryn had a great time in her little ‘secret’ playground.

Cultural differences.

A couple of days later we entered the dining room. The host’s little boy was resting on one of the chairs. He was very pale. They had had a dinner party the day before and he went to bed at about 2 a.m. We asked why he did not go to bed sooner and found out that the boy was allowed to choose his own bed time. We were shocked. In the Netherlands that would be a sign of poor parenting. In Italy bringing a child to bed at a time we did (before 7.30) would be a sign of bad parenting. It’s funny how people from different backgrounds can look at things differently.

More info.

For those who are in the area: you can find the playground at the Provinciale 21, close to the Farmacia Doardo.

Also on Travelharts.com.

We also have a photo site. On it we have an album about the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet: Verona.

The UNESCO city of Verona, situated in Italy near Venice and Padua, is best known for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. These photos show more than a balcony.

Near Arqua Petrarca you will find a National Park that is great for hiking. Check out my story about Colli Euganei Regional Park.

Colli Euganei Regional Park in Italy is an interesting place for both geologists and archeologists. It is also a gorgeous place to go hiking.


One Response

  1. Erin
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    Love your blog:)

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