How to entertain a 5-year-old when visiting an historic monument

Question: you have a 5-year-old, you’re in Grenada in Spain, and you want to wander round some churches; how do you keep the child entertained?

Turns out the answer is simpler than I’d have thought:

Give them their own audio guide!

Bimbling round Grenada on our first full day, we’d barely left the apartment before Little Miss complained she was too tired to walk.

Given that the buggy was recently taped up with drill-head braces to stop a cracked support bar from collapsing entirely:

(and thus rendering the buggy completely useless), and that Little Master was already in the baby carrier, happily noshing away on free milk from the, as my father, given the current situation, so aptly christened her, Mobile Catering Division (AKA Mama), it meant that we were indeed in for a long afternoon.

Nonetheless, through a process of encouragement, distraction, cajoling and sheer-faced bribery, we managed to coax Little Miss a kilometre or so into town to visit our first stop on an improvised itinerary; the Capilla Real.

According to the Lonely Planet app’s Grenada city guide, the Capilla Real is the final resting place of “Spain’s notorious Catholic monarchs” and boasts a “stunning gilded wrought-iron screen”.

I’d loved to corroberated that claim for you with pictorial evidence, but there was no photography allowed.

My belief is because, had you been allowed to photograph the interior, your friends would probably bypass the Capilla Real due to it being both pretty small and pretty boring.

(and that would really make their €5 entrance fee that much harder to extort…sorry, I meant “enforce” 😉 )

Nonetheless, in we were and by golly I wanted to get my money’s worth, so I started listening to the audio guide, via the 80’s style field-radio handset I had to clumsily press into the side of my face.

It didn’t take more than 15 words of audio guidance before my eyeballs rolled so far back into my head I could see my own brain entering hibernation:

What’s more, I had Little Miss persistently buzzing up into my free ear lavishing me with alternating laments of boredom, hunger, tiredness and an overwhelming need to have my audio guide.

After a pretty minimal internal debate I relented on the latter and passed her over the audio boot-fit shoe horn, expecting to have it returned, with a heavy dose of scorn, shortly thereafter.

No dice.

Astonishing, Little Miss proceeded to indulge the machine to it’s full capacity, diligently working through each Play Point on the tour whilst instantly forgetting about the near-cripling tiredness that had so agonisingly presented itself in complaint form just moments previously.

And that was it, not just for our first stop at the Capilla Real (not so worth it), but again in the Catedral de Grenada afterwards:

(impressive, and worth its €5 entrance fee -with photos allowed) and at our final stop of the day; the Basilica San Juan de Dios (which is absolutely stunning and a bargain at €4, with photos AND flash allowed!).

So enthralled by the prospect of another “phone” (as she called the audio guides) at each subsequent stop, the tiredness evaporated for the remainder of the day, until our 30-min return journey home, by which time Little Miss had racked up an impressive 5k on her little 5-year-old legs.

Of course, whether this novelty distraction works again on our next big walking tour – of the world-famous Alhambra on Tuesday – remains to be seen, but you can bet your guidebooks we’ll be ponying up for an audio guide for Little Miss, and seeing if the miracle of a talking handset can work it’s charms on keeping a 5-year-old girl entertained, and on her feet, long enough for Mama and Daddy to enjoy another of mankind’s cultural masterpieces.

Now, let’s see if it works on a 9-month-old too…