Thu 20 Oct 2016
Having survived the first 7 months since Bean’s arrival we decided to try and take a few days off and we booked an apartment to go and see Rome for a week in October.
The idea was to go away somewhere sunny where we can easily do or not do anything, somewhere relatively flat as we did not want to carry Bean around.
After a long debate with myself and my purse we purchased a Babyzen Yoyo 6+ for our trip and as it turns out it was a brilliant investment. As we bought the Yoyo we were able to take Bean straight to the plane in it, which meant we did not have to carry him across the airport and he was very happy being pushed around. We took a midday flight and as you can take the Yoyo on the plane as a hang luggage, we did not need to wait around once we landed in Italy. Bean was very easy both on the way out and back and he is still in the age where he sits on your lap but he does not move too much around and he isn’t heavy to hold for a couple of hours.
Some things to consider about Rome:
the weather is lovely but the odd random showers suggest it is best if you take a raincoat with you
Italians love babies (Bean had become a God during our trip:)), but they are not prepared for having babies in restaurants and cafes. Very few have changing units or high chairs.
We stayed in an apartment as in my research I could not really find any reasonable priced hotels with a creche or babysitting service.
The transport is chaotic and unreliable - during our 6 day stay there was one day tube strike, one day replacement service and everything happens randomly, so you might wait 45 minutes for the bus and then give in and go home.
As I said the Babyzen was fantastic. Just so you know I wasn't paid or anything to advertise them, but I really think it is money well spent. (It is not cheap - we bought ours new for £340) It is small and compact, very lightweight, fits under the seat on the plane. During our 6 day of cobbles and broken pavement the Babyzen did not let us down, it is very sturdy and extremely easy to maneuver. The basket below the seat fitted our daily kit of: two jumpers for us adults, two small bottles of water and a whole nappy changing bag with food, nappies, wipes and spare clothes for Bean.
The cost of having a baby on holiday in Rome: other than paying 10% of a flight ticket, the most expensive part was grocery and nappy shopping for Bean. I have found in the fruit section of a few shops some organic fruit smoothies and some other ones had a very narrow selection of puréed food at extortionate prices. Finger foods are unheard of. And so are hand sanitisers. Nappies are quite pricey - we paid over 15 euros for a packet of size 4 nappies (50) and over 15 euros for the follow on milk. As Bean now eats solids most of the time we gave him some of our food - other than the Annabel Karmel pouches we took with us.
Public transport in Rome: the bus is a no go. It hardly ever comes and when it does it is full of people and it is very slow due to general traffic. The tram is similar. Some are very old and difficult to get on with a buggy (people love babies but they do not help or offer their seats in general), whilst other trams just stop running for whatever reason. The metro is fast and easily accessible, but rather grubby (coming from London we were both surprised to see how manky the lifts are!)
The Vatican city: superb and very easily accessible with a toddler. There is a changing facility, the Vatican is step free and if you go on the ground tour the steps are manageable.
The city centre: again, thanks to the Babyzen it was very easy, the cobbled road had very little effect on Bean who was very happy taking in all the sights Rome has to offer. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum can both be accessed with the pushchair and a great majority of the city centre is pedestrian only. Having said that we have learnt a very important lesson: if you want to get across the street (even when the lights are green for you) you have to be very determined and take a leap of faith and hope no one is going to hit you or you will never cross the road. It seems the order is as follows: cars, scooters, pedestrians and cyclists (we have seen very few cyclists).
There are many wonderful churches, monuments and sights to see and it is pretty easy with a toddler, so if you are looking for a sunny weekend get away with a baby Rome might be suitable for you too!