With a surname like mine and an adventurous spirit – Jane has forever been on the look out for Tarzan!? On that note I accepted a rather unusual invite to go to the Adventure park in the nearby hills of Florence, and was not disappointed! Bundled in amongst oodles of kids raring to go as soon as the Park opened, we joined the queue to be equipped with the necessary harness and helmet.
While anxious parents looked on as their children were being given instructions we stood at the back but with a keen ear to catch all the info so we could do the test run without making a fool of ourselves.
The most encouraging part is that you remain locked onto the cable for the entire time, so in the case of any mishap the worst that can happen is you’re left dangling like a dummy…not very Tarzan like!
There was a buzz of excitement amongst the kids, a few apprehensive looks and reassuring glances from parents and grandparents and we were off on the test run.
Nimble bodies clambered up the tree trunks, tangling and disentangling their harnesses, in their eagerness to get going, while the rest of us learnt from their mistakes. Such fun to be part of their giggles and chatter, and the continuous shouting of ‘Geronimo’ as they clicked onto the flying fox and swooped to the base line.
And then it was us Tarzan and Jane! Not to be outdone, we followed the kids trail, slowly working our way up to higher and more difficult trails – meaning we started with the Sloth trail, commandeered the Dormouse and Ladybird trail and last conquered, in a rather wobbly fashion, the Cricket trail! That still leaves the Squirrel, Bat, Gecko and awesome Monkey trails to do next time round!?
It was encouraging to see that most of the youngsters were looking pretty fit as I had just read an OECD report on childhood obesity and was staggered to find out that while Italy has a low rate amongst adults, it was now rating SECOND behind Greece amongst children!. An incredible 36% against a 30% rate in the USA which I had presumed would be first on the list!
Perhaps a result of the move away from the healthy Mediterranean diet, the influx of takeaway food stores, and the sedentary nature of computer games. The report also suggested that the financial crisis “is providing incentives for consumers to switch to lower-priced and less healthy foods,” and Italians are spending less on fruit and vegetables. Oh my!
I was heartened to see that Italy was toward the bottom of the list of the 40 countries in adult overweight and obesity. Let’s hope that’s because some common sense prevails after the teen years and Italians go back to the good old Mediterranean diet and get more exercise. Since Italians love to be ‘peacocks’ and preen and parade in their best gear, the pressure is on to be in shape.
In recent months there has been a lot of discussion with the opening of Milan Expo – whose theme is ‘Feeding the Planet.’ Michelle Obama has been over more than once and fighting the battle in the USA against obesity together with an old time favourite of mine, chef Jamie Oliver. His call for practical food education to be on school curriculums and regular exercise programs has been a global campaign with already some successful outcomes. He forced MacDonald’s to eliminate the use of “pink slime’ beef filler in hamburgers in the USA and continues to push for healthier food and home or communal vegetable gardens.
But this is not a blog about Jamie, just an awareness of what fun it can be for all ages to be outdoors, getting some exercise. The Adventure Park is a test of concentration, stamina, determination and coordination skills. Exhilaration and satisfaction on finishing each course ‘Geronimo‘ like.The badgering parents below, shouting “go on you can do it, it’s easy..” need to get up and amongst it.
So as Jane wobbled and wavered amongst the trees hunting for Tarzan ( the proof is here ) Tarzan had his feet firmly on the ground doing the video!