We did the seemingly impossible. We took an 8-hour transatlantic flight and spent a week in Europe with a crawling, active, chatty 13-month-old.
And it was fine!
It was more than fine, it was fun. I spent a lot of time in the weeks and months leading up to the trip worrying about whether or not this was the Worst Idea Ever. I’d heard plenty of horror stories about babies/toddlers who’d spent the entire flight screaming or needing to be walked up and down the aisle of the plane. I’d worried about sickness and jetlag and whether or not it’d all just be too overwhelming.
What I learned is I should trust my baby. And also, everything is more fun with a laughing, giggling, wide-eyed little girl.
There were hard bits. I couldn’t sleep on the flight over, even though we had a whole row to ourselves and got to put the carseat between us. Lady Jr conked for a good 3, 4 hours, but there were other babies who had a harder time and, well, airplane seats just aren’t very comfortable.
Coffee saw me through until we could nap at the Air BnB, but it was touch-and-go. But after that nap, well, life was a lot better.
That first night was hard on us all because of the time change. Lady Jr slept for a few hours and then kept waking and crying every few minutes. Eventually, I just got up with her at 11pm and we watched German-dubbed X-Files until past 1am – which would’ve been 7pm our time, aka her bedtime. She went right to sleep after that. She pulled the same routine a day later and by then we’d figured out it was her Circadian rhythm and just went with it.
Naps were almost all on the go, in the ergo carrier, and that worked just fine.
We stayed in Air BnBs for this trip, which I’d A++ recommend. It was great having a kitchen and lots of room for her to crawl around and play. Also great: both had a place for her to sleep. Not so great: both were outside the cities we were visiting, so we ended up doing a fair amount of driving. Lady Jr is not a fan of cars and sometimes we were out for a while, so this was not ideal. Next time, I’ll try harder to find a place to stay *in* the city, even if it means finding novel places for Lady Jr to sleep.
Why did we visit Europe in late November of all times?? For the Christmas markets, of course! 😀 My mother and I had been talking about visiting Germany and their markets together for years and yeas, and I realized that if we didn’t go now, we’d have to wait a few more years and I was worried about how much older my mother would be. Also because of Thanksgiving, I could actually take a whole week off and not miss much work. Hence the timing.
We visited Darmstadt and Aachen, since their Christmas markets opened early enough. I’d never been to either, so that was fun. Aachen is gorgeous and located on the edge of a rolling, wonderful national park and now I want to live there.
I drank all the Gluhwein and sniffed all the things and ate all the baked goods. Dr Lady got to see her first Weihnachtsmarkt. Lady Jr charmed everyone.
Also: dude they’re not kidding around with baby changing rooms in Germany. When they’re there, they’re fancy and nice and clean. One even had warming lamps for newborns. So good. ;.;
Anyway, have some pictures.
Lady Jr playing peek-a-boo at the first Air BnB.
Lady Jr learned how to pull up on the trip and is now unstoppable.
We went for a walk by the Rhein.
Lady Jr was enamored with a toy in the second air BnB and also kept pushing a step stool around and around and around the house.
The countryside outside of Aachen.
A cute little town we discovered nestled in the hills.
Mmm, Apfel strudel.
And then it snowed as we were leaving.
Everything is Just Fine.
Gluhweing – the Reason for the Season.