Thursday, November 19, 2009


Light-flashing, pop music-blasting merry-go-rounds with none of the charm of the 'traditional' rides I remember fondly from my childhood can be found all over the Catania area, conveniently placed in just the spot where your little one will be sure to not miss it. Well, my negative take on these eye sores has slowly developed into tolerant acceptance, but I have never purposely sought one out to this day. My son recognizes certain merry-go-rounds that can be spotted from the car on our more well-traveled routes, and of course, this little boy wants to ride on the merry-go-rounds. He doesn't find the music annoying (but does the volume have to be so loud?). And he loves the little race cars, jeeps, and flying dragons that whirl him around and around and around. His level of passion for these rides seems to be only increasing with age. So, when convenient, I succumb to this whimsy. I dole out the 3, 4 or 5 Euros for 4 or 5 rides, sit back, and try not to feel dizzy with my waving from the sidelines. And as my resigned self has come to accept, most of these merry-go-rounds are in much better shape than the shabby playground you will find across the street. In fact, I can't help but wonder if these privately owned, modern contraptions make a fortune on the fact that the public, free facilities are often in such poor condition. Sigh. One more compromise that no longer irks but has merely become part of the reality of mama life in Sicily.


  1. We came across one in Sperlonga a couple of weeks ago, but were lucky because it wasn't running at the time, so no blaring music. Pata did still want to climb up onto each and every garishly painted motorcycle, jeep, truck, what have you, but without the noise and motion it wasn't too bad. There's no comparison though with the beautiful carousels of the past, which is sad.

  2. I agree, the merry-go-rounds here are annoying. But if you're ever heading out my way (near Mineo) let me know. Our neighborhood has an abundance of really nice playgrounds, which I'm sure your little one would enjoy.

  3. Somehow we haven't done that yet...did plenty of annoying ones in Japan but somehow haven't experienced the Sicilian versions, but I am sure it will happen soon.

  4. Lucky you KC that the one in Sperlonga wasn't 'on'. But beware, come spring (or a warm weekend) I am sure you will have the full package!

    Thank you so much Emily, I will keep that in mind the next time we are looking for a driving adventure!

    Hi Lucia, avoid strolling on Catania's lungomare where all the merrygorounds are...(but I am sure your kids would love them!).

  5. Same reality in Lomellina too, I will drive out of the way to avoid him seeing the latest one.

    Costs a fortune, if all the parents clubbed together half of what we were forking out on these rides our town would have a superb playground with enough left over for somebody to police and maintain it.

    Home Educating British mum of a mini Italian in Lombardia

  6. Hi Sarah, nice to 'meet' you. I hoped the situation up north was better than down here. At least in Trentino the public facilities were amazing, but that is like another country altogether. By the way, I love your blog and am definitely inspired by your tales of HE.

  7. Amazing how children do no recognize eye sores, or the annoyance of noisy loud music! You sound like a sweet, patient mama...

  8. Hi love, problem with Italy is it's like lots of little countries all squished under one umbrella, hard to tell from one bit what the other bits are going to be like.

    Hopefully this year with the freedom to do some visiting of other places under the heading of "school trip for one" I'll get to find out how the eighteen nineteenths live LOL.

    And TY BTW, if you become one let me know...I'm so looooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnlyyyyyyyyyyyyy. ( :

  9. Oh dear. They do have rather garish, loud roundabouts. But your little one looks contented....


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