Category Archives: Travel

Good news – London to Amsterdam direct by train.

Helen and I have taken the Eurostar to from London to Paris several times. We love it. Train travel is so vastly superior to flying for those of us in wheelchairs that I cannot even begin to describe the difference. We have also taken the train from London to Amsterdam on several occasions, and although it is still much better than getting there by plane, the trip involves a change in Brussels that adds a lot of stress (and rolling; Brussels Midi is a very big station) to the trip.

Good news, everyone!

http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2016/10/eurostar-will-go-direct-to-amsterdam-next-year-in-just-4-hours/


This Is a Good Article By Another Wheelchair Traveler

And yeah, it takes courage.


It’s one step-free step in the right direction.

Thanks, guys (not sarcastic)


Paris Access

Helen and I recently took a trip to Paris. Getting there from London is a very pleasant two hour fifteen minute train ride on the Eurostar from St Pancras International, to Gare du Norde. Eurostar personnel are always very friendly and efficient (it helps if you remind them throughout check-in that you’ll need a ramp) and train travel means I don’t have to transfer in and out of my chair and I am able to roll around the carriage and use the loo if I want. I prefer this over plane travel by far.

Access in Paris is very good. Most of the sidewalks/pavements are easy and free of cobbles, or even seams, as they tend to be made of one solid paving of concrete. The metro system is not accessible, but the buses are, and the #38 takes us straight from Gare du Norde to Place St Michel on the Left Bank (our favorite part of the city).

A good portion of the shops are on the ground level, with an easy ramp. Here’s a photo of the entrance to a “Carrefour” (a chain of convenience and supermarkets found throughout France)…

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The curbs are very well ramped at most intersections. here is an example…

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and another one…

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Outdoor seating is a wonderful way to avoid the dilemma of finding a restaurant with step-free access (although most have an accessible entrance if one wants to eat indoors), and there are few of Life’s Great Pleasures that can beat sitting in an outdoor cafe and having a plate of bread and cheese and a bottle of French wine, watching Paris walk by.

There are also several places where access to the banks of the Seine can be had down ramped roads, although they can be a little steep, and there are cobbles at the bottom. I just took it slow, and it went well, and we had a lovely picnic of (you guessed it), bread and cheese and wine in the sun, near Notre Dame. This is what the cobbled bit looks like…
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Looking the other way, you get a view of Notre Dame.

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Cafe with outdoor seating, at night.

le st andrecropped
W
e had a wonderful time. We’ll be back.


Adapted minibus transport in Ireland

We have just returned from a trip to Ireland and had a great experience with this hire company for transport from Dublin to Donegal and back: Smiths Minibus Hire Dublin.

We used a 10 seater van with a good ramp and space for the wheelchair.  Our driver Gary was fantastic – safe, very friendly and helpful, way above and beyond the call of duty!

Delighted with the service we received and we’d definitely use this company again.


I wish this were a freak incident.

But it’s not. I cannot count how many times I have had to tell the person on the phone that I am disabled (WCHC, which means i cannot walk or stand), only to have to tell the ground crew at check in that I am WCHC disabled, and then to have to tell the ground crew at the gate that I am WCHC and will need an aisle chair, only to have them act as though this is the first time that they have heard of it, and the personnel and aisle chair arrive late, meaning I get to board in front of a plane load of passengers.

“We’ve researched the details of this Denver customer’s travel and can verify that she checked in at her flight at Newark Liberty International Airport two hours prior to her scheduled departure. but a processing error in that check-in process did not alert our employees at the gate to her special need (wheelchair) in boarding the aircraft.”

This needs to be fixed, and it isn’t specific to any one airline.


This is really discouraging,

Helen and I were in Denver a couple of years ago, and since I’m rather fond of old train stations, we went down to see Union Station. It was being renovated; surrounded by scaffolding and rubble, so we couldn’t go in.

Well they’ve finished it, according to this article, but also according to this article, “The station’s Great Hall features a public area with seating and shuffleboard tables, but the area is elevated and unreachable by people who can’t climb stairs, according to the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.”

And, “The Coalition says RTD has offered to set up a temporary ramp when someone needs it. The group’s attorney, Andrew Montoya, says that’s not enough.

That’s absolutely not the same experience, basically to have to go around, see that there is no ramp, and then make your way around, trying to find someone who maybe can get a ramp out for you,” Montoya said.

I know exactly what Mr Montoya is talking about. Equal access doesn’t mean that an able bodied person gets to walk up a flight of stairs while their disabled counterpart has to go find someone and ask them, “Excuse me sir/madam, could you please put up the ramp?”

How is this even possible? I could understand if the station were in its original condition, but they just renovated it and the ADA has been in force since 1990. How hard is it to install a permanent ramp?

Thank you to the Facebook group, “Representing Disability in an Ableist World” for this information.


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