For those readers who may have young children, or who are thinking of having young children, know that travel is not an impossibility. If you pack smart and prepare accordingly, I don’t believe children really care where they are in the world. They want their parents, food, milk, a warm bed, and a space to engage with the world. And that space does not need to be large. And it doesn’t have to be a nightmare for the parents either, as long as you know when to fold your hand and not force a square peg into a round hole. Museums? Probably not gonna happen on this trip. Ada doesn’t give two figs about culture or art or famous musicians or landmarks. She does have an appreciation for a good Krapfen (custard-filled donut) and seems to appreciate sausage and sauerkraut. And so far she hasn’t seemed to mind wandering around in the cold admiring the lights of the Christmas markets. Most of the time.
It is amazing to me how many times Sal and I were told leading up to this trip that Ada would not remember any of it, and the trip was essentially a waste. She won’t remember virtually any of her life so far, but that doesn’t stop me from bathing her, soothing her when she cries, or buying her crap that will eventually be discarded. Sal and I will remember it. And it will be part of her story as she grows, and perhaps if we are consistent, become part of her identity.
For those who might be interested in how we packed, I’ll say that Sal and I each carry a 70L pack (the Osprey Farpoint and Fairview respectively), a car seat (we picked up a Cosco Scenera NEXT because it is cheap, lightweight, and really easy to install), a lightweight travel stroller (Summer Infant 3D Lite) which is especially helpful on travel days, and an LL.Bean 40L pack that we use for Ada. We are happy with all of the gear. We brought along a few of her favorite toys and books, which she gravitates toward as we wrap each night. She showers with me every couple of days. She sleeps in bed with us (although a number of the accommodations have been good enough to supply play pens, we haven’t used them). I brought dishes and spoons and bibs that we have at home in case we did any cooking in the apartment, but we haven’t really used any of it. Most restaurants have highchairs, but for those that don’t we brought a fabric harness that ties to the chair, and fits in our daypack. Either Ada is the easiest kid in the world, or if you teach them what to do they will learn.
In Vienna we are staying in an Airbnb, a nice little flat that is comprised of a bedroom, a galley kitchen, bathroom, and (small) second bedroom. Its nice, and very well decorated, but doesn’t have the ease of access that the hotel in Munich had (we were staying in an Aloft hotel, part of the Starwood chain). Ada is thrilled as there is lots to touch and explore. Childproofing…not so much. Still, it makes her happy and it’s good to break up the day with allowing her to run around and open drawers. We try to hit parks as often as possible for that same reason. Although I curse Michael Kors for the boots we bought her…absolute garbage, (thank you Mom & Dad for the slippers you got her though, those have been a lifesaver).
In other news, Vienna is a beautiful city and though most of the food has been crap due to poor restaurant choices, their Christmas Market sausage right now is winning out of all three countries. And the mulled wine still works. I just wish indoor smoking was a thing of the past.