One of my running goals for 2015 is to “include the family in more adventures.” So I was delighted when my coach prescribed a scavenger hunt during our recent vacation in Spain. I’m not sure that we executed it exactly how he envisioned, but it turned out to provide hours and hours of fun and precious memories.
First stop: atop the metal monkey bars in the rain. It was our second-to-last day in Madrid and dumping rain. I climbed the kids’ favorite monkey bars (tall ones at that!) and barely steadied myself on the wet metal bar to take the photo with my phone.
We had one more stop before heading down to the pirate ship playground. This one didn’t require quite so much climbing, for which I was grateful. It was hectic matching the prepared photos in the rain.
Earlier in the week, I had spent an entire day touring the local playgrounds with our kids, Clara (10) and Alex (8). We were staying at Abuela’s flat in Madrid, so we went into it with plenty of familiarity. The kids snapped one or two photos at each spot, usually from awkward or high locations. This was a fun new context for them to experience old favorites as well as less-exciting spots.
The next day on my solo run, I snapped some photos of the pirate ship playground. It’s about 2 miles from the others, and the kids hadn’t made it that far. I returned to the flat and tried to explain the project to my Spanish husband. I wanted to know the Spanish translation for “scavenger hunt.” After some deep brain-probing, he landed on gincana (said heen-cana).
With our collection of some 30 playground photos, the kids and I did some mixing and re-organizing. I strategically placed the pirate ship park so that we’d get a good 2 mile stretch without stopping. We deleted some photos where there were several from the same playground. Then the kids did some more re-ordering, and the game was ready for Mommy and Daddy to play.
Last stop: By the time we made it back to the last stop (back at the monkey bars, per the kids’ plan), my phone was no longer protected by the rain in its plastic bag. Instead, the water drops inside the bag rendered the touchscreen skittish at best.
At the completion of the gincana, we had run over 7 miles together in the dumping rain and compiled over 20 matching photos. It turns out that matching the orientation of the photos was quite important to Alex, and he pointed out that we failed on at least one count.
With a year of family travel ahead, I’m looking forward to more variations on this theme!