In preparing for our upcoming trip to Paris (which is actually happening, because my passport came today!) we’re learning that getting around with a stroller will probably not be trivial. Several of the major sights don’t permit strollers (while, interestingly, others require them for little ones) and they also neither provide an officially sanctioned place to leave them temporarily, nor do they allow you to just leave them around (probably not a good idea, anyway, given how common theft seems to be at the big tourist places). The Metro, which we’ve heard is the “best in Europe” — so theoretically superior to Vienna’s U-bahns (although that’s hard for me to imagine) is small and difficult to maneuver with a stroller and, unbelievably, most stations are not accessible by elevator. Many don’t even have escalators, so we’d be left to carry the stroller up and down the stairs. (Doesn’t sound like fun.)
I don’t want to judge Paris unfairly before we go, but we aren’t used to any of this. Vienna is so stroller friendly, we’ve been spoiled.
In our entire time here, there have only been a handful of places that have been challenging to access with the stroller (other than a few private residences, I can actually only think of one — our favorite pizza place). Everywhere in Vienna is wheelchair accessible, which means everywhere is stroller accessible. All of the palaces (including the grounds), cathedrals, trains . . . plus nearly all shops and restaurants. There are a few places without convenient stroller “parking”, so you end up having to stash the stroller around the corner or out of the way, but it hasn’t ever really been an issue. Not once.
And the few places where it’s a bit of a challenge (on the non-street-level trains and strassenbhans, for example) there’s an easy solution — someone will ALWAYS help you get on or off. (In the case of the trains, the conductor will actually get out of the train to help you if there isn’t anyone else around to do it.)
Planning ahead to Paris, we’re working on some creative strategies to get around (because we’d been counting on the Metro). We’ll walk a lot of places (which still lets us use the stroller) and we’ll use the Moby and/or the Ergo where walking isn’t practical. But I’m realizing how much we’ve taken Vienna, and the pleasant stroller situations, for granted. It’s truly lovely how easy it is to get around here with a stroller. We take ours everywhere, without a worry or thought. I am so grateful to have that luxury — and I’m not too worried about Paris. It’s only a week — we’ll be fine. But I do suspect there will be a lot of impromptu nap times spent with our little ones sleeping in our laps while we hang out in cafes.