Between Christmas and New Year. Myself, Mr Caroline and the baby went on a three night city break to Prague. This destination was chosen mainly because the Christmas markets were still on, and we weren’t able to get away before the big day itself.
Now, travelling with a nearly 11 month old is interesting! At that point she had been walking for about six weeks and – naturally - that is all she wanted to do. Of course, when you are on a plane the need to be safely strapped in doesn’t really resonate with a miniature human, so we had a small battle of wills to get her to sit nicely, but got there eventually (food and milk may have been used as bribery). As we plan to take her and the next baby, who will make his or her grand arrival in just a few short months, on a much longer haul trip later this year, we felt we needed to survive this trip to prove that travelling with a baby is easy and fine and completely doable etc etc. And you know what? It actually was fine. We haven’t run away screaming from the idea of travelling with children, resigning ourselves to holidays in Skegness and Cleethorpes (not that there is anything wrong with these destinations). The only real difficulty we had - other than the crowds and navigating the pushchair through masses of people - was a distinct lack of baby friendly facilities. Restaurants just didn’t seem to have baby changing areas, and when out in public spaces, we struggled to find suitable places to get our little pride and joy cleaned up.
Prague itself really is a beautiful city. Gothic structures and cobbled streets are in abundance. The Old Town Square was one of the main focal points for us as not only was it beautiful, it also held one of the biggest Christmas markets in Prague where stalls were lined up with gifts, festive food and warming drinks. While the bars and restaurants around the square were relatively pricey compared to other areas of the city, the street stalls enabled us to top up our energy levels for minimal cost while engaging in festive cheer. And of course there were other markets set up around the city, equally beautiful but perhaps not on such a grand scale.
The main highlight of the trip for us was a lunchtime river cruise. What better way to see sights of the city from the Vltava River itself on the Grand Bohemia, a long, glass roofed vessel? The cruise took in sights such as the Prague Castle, the National Theatre, the uniquely shaped Dancing House and the infamous Charles Bridge. All whilst dining on a fine selection of local foodstuffs accompanied by a musician playing gentle melodies. The baby even managed to find her sea legs and was quite happy toddling round the upper viewing deck while us grown ups took in the sights.
When it came to eating, there was plenty of choice. One gem we stumbled upon was the Imperial Café in the New Town, decorated with its original 1914 tiling and mosaic ceiling. We were extremely lucky to get a table – it is actually recommended to book a week in advance and while we were dining we did notice several groups being turned away. I guess they must have liked to look of us! Or, probably more likely, we happened to just turn up at the right time. Either way, we were not disappointed. The food was delicious, from a very tasty French onion soup for starters, to wild boar with almond dumplings as the main, and the most delectable warmed chocolate pudding for desert, my mouth is watering now as I think about it!
As city breaks go, it was lovely to get away, especially as a taster of what travelling with a baby is like. Prague has a lot to offer, and I know we only really scratched the surface while we were there. It would be interesting to visit in summer months when there will be a completely different feel to the city. Looks like we may just need to go back…