The last and only other time we were in Prague, we were just married, childless, and incredibly taken with the city. Every street and every corner seemed magical. Our hotel, a charming old house turned B&B, was right in the heart of the old city, only a short walk away from Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square. Better still, it provided us with a fourth story room that let out unto a tiny rooftop terrace overlooking the red shingled roofs and gargoyle adornments of the buildings around us.
On our first day there, we came back to our room after a morning of walking and settled in for a quiet nap before going back out for the night. We fell asleep as only the childless do: content, without worry, and without any thoughts to being needed or requested for the next hour. Afterwards, I climbed out unto the rooftop space just outside our window and breathed in the city and contemplated how wonderful it was to be there, in that moment, on that tiny balcony, in the heart of Prague.
This summer, my husband and I will be returning to Prague. We’re finishing graduate school this spring and are rewarding ourselves with a trip to Europe that will take us from seeing my family in Romania, to meeting up with friends in Munich, Germany and Vienna, Austria, to finally, visiting the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic. We will be taking our not-quite-one year old with us to introduce her to my family in Romania and to enjoy a summer of food, sight-seeing, museum touring, and train travel. But before we set off for Europe, we’ll be joining the grandparents on a trip to the Smoky Mountains, followed by a week-long sojourn to San Francisco; just the thing to get our feet wet as newbie traveling parents before we head out across the ocean.
Although I have no idea how the trip will shape up, I’m fairly certain that impromptu naps (for us) are out of the question as will be stolen moments on rooftop balconies, drinks at night overlooking the town square, and days spent walking wherever our whims take us. I imagine that we’ll be flexible as well as pragmatic and we’ll aim to adapt to local customs and cultures as much as we’ll try to honor our parenting practices from home.
As it is, I don’t really know what to expect but I do know this: it’s going to be an adventure. We’re visiting some of the most beautiful cities in the world and we’re doing it as a little family of three. We’ll be staying with friends, family, and in hotel rooms, traveling by car, train, taxi, and on foot, and making do with only as much as we can carry with us from one city to another.
I hope you’ll join us on this journey as we navigate international travel with a baby. I welcome your thoughts, tips, and suggestions, especially from those seasoned traveling parents out there. Thank you for reading and bon voyage!
About Ruxandra Looft
Ruxandra Looft is a writer and editor based in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally from Romania, she's called Germany, Austria, and Canada her home before settling in the Midwest. She holds a PhD in German and Comparative Literature and writes about parenthood, academia, and life on two wheels on her blog Simply Bike. Find more of her writing on her website and on Twitter @Simply Bike.