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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The great nappy-change mystery

The Lago Maggiore tourist season is in full swing. On every Cannobio street corner, German or Dutch is being spoken. The bouncy castle wobbles with exuberant children. The lake is dotted with the flotsam and jetsam of pedaloes, canoes and novice water-skiers. Families take an evening stroll along the lungolago, and (only) when it's dark, board the Disneyland-style trenino for a quick ride around town, bells ringing, headlights flashing.

Having guests to entertain, we spill out of our mostly silent hilltop citadel to the Albergo-Ristorante-Pizzeria Giardino. The large restaurant is at this time of year crammed with families baying for pizza. Here, you will get one of the best pizzas in town, but without the lungolago view - it's situated on the main drag, and with all the windows open it can get a bit noisy. But the place is great for kids - and for parents. There's a clean baby-changing unit, high-chairs are available and the pizzaiolo is happy to serve half pizzas if you ask nicely.

I like this place for all these reasons. Also, because the Albergo-Ristorante-Pizzeria Giardino is the only place in Cannobio I've found with a baby-changing unit. For the last four years I've grappled with this problem. What do I do when AJ drops a bomb half-way through my shopping trip, or when B makes me a fragrant present while waiting for my hairdressing appointment? I've changed nappies on unisex-toilet floors (yuk), on park benches, on the back seat of the car, and in all seasons. I've done it on scanty bits of grass in car parks, and down on the lawn at the lido. Even the doctor's very smart surgery doesn't have a dedicated baby-changing area, and the overworked receptionist has on occasions been prevailed upon to do something makeshift with a consulting-room couch.

And yet, particularly at this time of year, there are babies everywhere you look.

Do they not do what my babies do? Do other mothers have some secret Super-Mama system for changing nappies hygienically and invisibly without need for facilities? Do they sprout wings and transport themselves and their babies back to their tents, apartments, hotel rooms for a speed-of-light wash and brush-up?

Strikes me there is a marketing opportunity here, Signor Assessore responsible for tourism.

How about a scheme to increase the family-friendly credentials of the various bars and restaurants around town? Those with the features families need (baby-changing unit, children's portions and high chairs) get a nice big colourful 'Family-Friendly' sticker for the window.

Some may even be encouraged to upgrade their facilities. And at the very least, the not-so-super Mamas will know at a glance where to go for pizza and a quick nappy-change...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
What a brilliant blog. I am sure that there must be money in the nappy changing facility even if its only drawing mums in to a particular establishment. Strange that the local shopkeepers dont see it as an opportunity.

Vanessa said...

What about a gold star for the best facilities each year?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The great nappy-change mystery

The Lago Maggiore tourist season is in full swing. On every Cannobio street corner, German or Dutch is being spoken. The bouncy castle wobbles with exuberant children. The lake is dotted with the flotsam and jetsam of pedaloes, canoes and novice water-skiers. Families take an evening stroll along the lungolago, and (only) when it's dark, board the Disneyland-style trenino for a quick ride around town, bells ringing, headlights flashing.

Having guests to entertain, we spill out of our mostly silent hilltop citadel to the Albergo-Ristorante-Pizzeria Giardino. The large restaurant is at this time of year crammed with families baying for pizza. Here, you will get one of the best pizzas in town, but without the lungolago view - it's situated on the main drag, and with all the windows open it can get a bit noisy. But the place is great for kids - and for parents. There's a clean baby-changing unit, high-chairs are available and the pizzaiolo is happy to serve half pizzas if you ask nicely.

I like this place for all these reasons. Also, because the Albergo-Ristorante-Pizzeria Giardino is the only place in Cannobio I've found with a baby-changing unit. For the last four years I've grappled with this problem. What do I do when AJ drops a bomb half-way through my shopping trip, or when B makes me a fragrant present while waiting for my hairdressing appointment? I've changed nappies on unisex-toilet floors (yuk), on park benches, on the back seat of the car, and in all seasons. I've done it on scanty bits of grass in car parks, and down on the lawn at the lido. Even the doctor's very smart surgery doesn't have a dedicated baby-changing area, and the overworked receptionist has on occasions been prevailed upon to do something makeshift with a consulting-room couch.

And yet, particularly at this time of year, there are babies everywhere you look.

Do they not do what my babies do? Do other mothers have some secret Super-Mama system for changing nappies hygienically and invisibly without need for facilities? Do they sprout wings and transport themselves and their babies back to their tents, apartments, hotel rooms for a speed-of-light wash and brush-up?

Strikes me there is a marketing opportunity here, Signor Assessore responsible for tourism.

How about a scheme to increase the family-friendly credentials of the various bars and restaurants around town? Those with the features families need (baby-changing unit, children's portions and high chairs) get a nice big colourful 'Family-Friendly' sticker for the window.

Some may even be encouraged to upgrade their facilities. And at the very least, the not-so-super Mamas will know at a glance where to go for pizza and a quick nappy-change...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
What a brilliant blog. I am sure that there must be money in the nappy changing facility even if its only drawing mums in to a particular establishment. Strange that the local shopkeepers dont see it as an opportunity.

Vanessa said...

What about a gold star for the best facilities each year?