The last three days, we’ve been exploring Munich and now Salzburg along with Kaia. It’s definitely a much different trip, all the way from packing and checking a bag (and now having it delayed) to how we start and end our days, to how quickly we go from place to place. Today, we annoyingly got told when we reached Mozart’s birthplace and home that while the site has been set up to accommodate wheelchair access, strollers are not permitted, and therefore, we either had to ditch the stroller or just not go in. The person at the front was very nonchalant about it: “I don’t make up the rules! This isn’t just for you; this is for anyone with a stroller!” Was it a huge loss to not see Mozart’s birthplace? No, but it was just a little frustrating since I did want to see it. Plus, why would you be happy to accommodate wheelchairs but not strollers…? Aren’t they basically the same thing — wheeled devices that get people around who cannot otherwise get around themselves…?
At all the Christmas markets we’ve ever been to, we’ve always seen lots of children and strollers, so I didn’t think it could be that big of a deal to bring our baby with us to these markets. Now, we just cannot stay as late since Kaia needs to eat, plus I still need to pump and space my three pumps out throughout the day. We’re still enjoying gluhwein and food, just a little earlier. We’ve also tried to avoid areas that get too cramped since accidents with mulled wine and babies could potentially get a little ugly and messy. And Kaia at her age now, well, she can’t quite appreciate things like the handmade German Christmas houses that I obsess over. She got a little feisty when I was trying to choose one, and Chris had to move her around in the stroller a bit.
I have been pleasantly surprised to see that most of the bathrooms we’ve been in accommodate babies and changing them quite well. I’d always heard that European countries in general were more accommodating of babies and children, but actually experiencing it has been quite heartening. There is oftentimes a dedicated room for changing stations, and even without a dedicated room, the changing table is quite large and ample, even complete with a fluffy pillowed pad that literally creates a cushiony experience for the baby while having her diaper changed. One changing station at a beer hall bathroom even had “white noise” like music for the baby that you could hear only if you were directly standing at the changing table. It was the sound of birds chirping and singing. That was a really cute touch.
I also noticed that in general, baby items just seemed a lot less expensive in Germany — everything from diapers, diaper wipes, and diaper cream to the food jars and pouches, which were all supposed to be organic, with no added sugar or salt. The pouches I got for Kaia were all around 70 to 99 Euro cents per 100-125g packet; when you see these in the U.S. according to a friend of mine who buys them for her toddler, they’re anywhere from $2.99-5 each. That’s quite a difference in cost! Chris says it’s likely because they are viewed as actual essential items in Europe, whereas in the U.S., literally everything has a markup once you say it’s for maternity or a baby. It just makes the U.S. seem even more unfriendly towards babies and families…. it’s a wonder why so many people still choose to procreate in the U.S. given the dismal treatment and circumstances for families.