Buggy Access or not by Claire

Can I come in?

You know, we take things for granted in this country regarding things like buggy access and it’s not until you go visit some place else and struggle that you realise just how easy we get it here.

[advert:mpu]Take our recent trip to Rome. Of course, Rome is a beautiful, very archaeological city with lots of ruins and inaccessible places to visit with a buggy and you kind of expect that if you’re travelling but what stumped me was the lack of information for parents with babe-in–buggy in tow. On one particular excursion to Pompeii, I was struck by the poster at the ticket desk informing visitors that high-heeled shoes were not recommended footwear for the visit. Also the information kindly pointed out that the tour around Pompeii takes about 3 hours and can be tiring for the very young, or very old. Not a mention about the appropriateness of buggy use, which left me to assume (wrongly) that it would be suitable to take young Freddie around in his stroller.

The reality was that we struggled with the massively uneven cobble stones for about 10 minutes before the tyre came off the buggy and I limped it back to the ticket office and demanded my money back. After about an hour of haggling, I finally saw the Director and he gave us a full refund. The sticking point was of course that if they could go to the trouble of telling the public that high heels were not suitable on the site, then why couldn’t they do the same for buggies?

The same point was made at the Shelly and Keats museum at the Piazza de Spagna. Couldn’t even get the buggy in thru the door! I pointed out that information on the door would have been useful to parents. Yes, parents with small children in tow CAN still share a love of early classic literature with the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not suggesting for one minute that doorways are widened, walls knocked down or the powers that be in the Vatican immediately put ramps in leading up to the famous St Peter’s Basilica. All I’m saying is that a little information about the accessibility of sites to babies in prams would be infinitely useful. Maybe someone could research all the main European cities and write a book. I’m sure it would be a parent’s best seller!

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