“He was so keen to help, he ended up breaking the wheelchair ramp at 2am…”

Scope's Blog

Guest post by Martyn Sibley, blogger, campaigner and co-founder of Disability Horizons magazine. Martyn has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a motorised wheelchair. He spends much of his time travelling the globe and is currently spending three months in Spain.

I find awkwardness comes in a few different forms. Some people are very wary around disabled people, and often people don’t engage with you at all because they’re afraid they might do or saMartyn next to the seay the wrong thing.

In social settings, however – especially where there’s a bit of alcohol involved – people tend to become over-helpful, and you get a lot of unwanted attention. One (rather drunk) guy was so keen to help me onto the bus at the end of a night that he ended up breaking the wheelchair ramp at 2am. Everyone on the bus had to get off and wait half an hour for the…

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The first family holiday…how many suitcases?!

This week, here at Tripility, we are bringing you another guest blogger! So far we have covered a few areas of access and gluten free holidaying (or just general waffle if it was written by me), so this week, we are looking at holidaying with children. Our lovely blogger Jackie, became a Mum in December of last year, at the beginning of this month, she and her husband had their first family holiday with the delicious Freddie. They stayed in Cornwall, at the Retallack Resort and Spa; she has given her thoughts on this below…enjoy!

Debs

Written by Jackie: an honorary member of the Tripility team!

I came across the Retallack resort whilst on the hunt for a baby friendly UK based holiday for my husband, myself and our 5 month old son. The website was great and they offered baby friendly packages, which consisted of the accommodation, alongside other activities such as baby swimming, baby sensory and a meal in the restaurant (although you had to pay extra for the babysitting service which was available). I was impressed by the packages but we decided against buying into this as we didn’t want to utilise all of the activies (we weren’t ready to leave our son with strangers!).  So we just booked a baby friendly lodge.

The lodge itself was over two levels and was considered baby friendly as the following equipment was provided: a highchair, a baby bath, a travel cot, a small steriliser and a potty. Whilst these were all useful, we didn’t use any of the equipment, mainly down to our newness to parenthood (we wanted to use our own mattress and travel cot etc). However, we would have used the baby bath but this had been placed under the boiler and was filthy. Thankfully, this did not reflect the rest of the lodge, which was on the whole very clean.; again, because of being new parents this was very important to us. The floorboards downstairs in the lodge were very creaky and made a whole load of noise…not so good when your baby’s just going off to sleep. We had a lodge with a hot tub which was lovely to use on an evening when the baby was asleep. On the whole, the lodge provided us with a great space and base for the holiday.

However, we couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed with the resort itself after viewing it on the website. The website suggested that it was much bigger with ‘baby friendly walks’, we struggled to find these walks. There were not many tarmac footpaths, nor many paths at all, thus making it difficult to maneuver with a pram.

On the other hand, the facilities were good, we used the pool a few times and the changing rooms were very baby friendly. There were baby change facilities in both male and female changing rooms, as well as a small family changing room. A nice touch was that the floor of the pool and the few steps going into the pool were padded. The changing rooms were always clean and there was also a Bumbo chair and a playpen for babies, in the female changing rooms .

There was a restaurant with adjacent lounge which was very child friendly, we had lunch with a friend and her 2 and a half year old and there were toys and plenty of space for small children to play. Other facilities for children include a small soft play area and an outdoor playground for older children. All of these areas were accessible with pushchairs, but we usually just carried our son as the lodge was close to all of the facilities.

The resort also runs baby sensory classes for local people, which people staying at the resort can take part in. We took advantage of this and we all loved it, it was great to do a class like this as a family, rather than just me and our son. There was a charge of £3.00 for the class but this was a bargain.

I also took the opportunity to use the spa and had a massage and my husband used the gym. The massage was lovely, but the gym is limited with respect to equipment.

From a baby friendly perspective, the resort was good, but we were expecting a little more from a 5 star resort. We had hoped there would be much more with respect to baby friendly walks and some of the touches to the lodge could have been better, for example the balcony was covered in spider’s webs…but overall a decent base with some good facilities for our first family holiday.

Jackie

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Gluten free in Australia? A match made in heaven!

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Written by Victoria; an honorary member of team tripility!

I am very excited, as this week as we are able to bring you Victoria’s experiences of gluten free eating, whilst on a whistle stop tour of Australia. Enjoy!

Debs

Having booked flights to Australia, it soon dawned on me that I would be traveling half way across the world and had yet to consider whether gluten free options would be available. As any coeliac no doubt has done when preparing for any holiday, I arrived at Sainsbury’s checkout with rice crispie squares, nakd bars, freefrom shortbread and probably enough food to feed a small army. As a result, my food consumed around 50% of my suitcase (and a good proportion of my hand luggage)!  As it turned out, the food would also be travelling half way across the world and back with me. Gluten free in Australia is not a problem.; it seems to be a lifestyle. Gluten free food is available everywhere and it is amazing…

I flew with Emirates and having had previous experience of either an inedible gluten free meal, or no gluten free meal, I was prepared for the worst. However, the meals on board were fantastic. The gluten free bread rolls (produced in Australia) were some of the best I have tasted and the little raspberry muffins were simply divine. When I asked for a snack during the night, I was presented with a gluten free sandwich which was on edible bread! A very surprising start to the holiday as no food products within my hand luggage had been eaten.

I arrived in Melbourne at 6am and was met by my Auntie, who told me that she had been gluten free shopping and had “loads”. “Loads” was a slight understatement. The supermarkets in Australia which I visited (Coles and Aldi) both had huge gluten free aisles and gluten free freezer sections. The range of cereals was fantastic, a large selection of breads, hot cross buns, cakes and biscuits, my joy at the sheer choice was akin to visiting Disney Land. Furthermore, Coles stocked gluten free gnocchi (which I had never had before), ravioli (also never tasted) and gluten free puff pastry. It was a shame I could not have brought them back with me on the flight…

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Gluten free gnocchi

In Melbourne, most cafes seem to have at least one gluten free cake selection – I have never in my life eaten so much delicious cake. I soon learnt, after reciting the usual “are you sure it will be gluten free?” spiel, that it is a legal requirement that menus are marked gluten free in Australia and food is prepared in a safe environment. I soon discovered the best place to eat (cake and ‘real food’) in Melbourne was the Lanes.  Whilst in the lanes with my cousins, I was introduced to Melbourne Spiders (coke with vanilla ice-cream floating on top) and iced coffees (cold coffee with either vanilla or espresso ice cream floating on top). Heaven! The Lanes in Melbourne are bustling, creative laneways with covert boutiques, famed restaurants, hole in the wall cafes and astonishing bars. It did not disappoint for the choice in gluten free. As I became more adventurous, I crossed the river onto the South Bank, which has many bars, restaurants and Melbourne’s impressive casino. Whilst meeting friends on there, we discovered a little restaurant named ‘Left Bank’ which did amazing gluten free pizza and an gorgeous trio of mini chocolate puddings. After being used to having to skip dessert, or opt for a crème brule, this was a real treat – the first of many! 

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An iced coffee…zero calories I’m sure!

Moving on from Melbourne, my journey took me along the Great Ocean Road, where I discovered what I can only describe as the best pizza in the world. After a long day of driving, feeling very hungry and losing hope that we would ever find food to eat again, my uncle stopped in Lorne where he found PizzaPizza. Obviously the thought of pizza was making me feel dubious, especially as it was made in a small shack, however, the menu stated gluten free and it was the best pizza ever. As we waited outside, many locals were obviously coming to collect their orders and lots of them were gluten free! When my pizza arrived, it was gorgeous and my uncle had to agree that it didn’t taste at all gluten free! Always a good sign! Next stop along the Great Ocean Road took us to Ocean Grove, where we had breakfast at The Dunes Cafe, which overlooks the beach. Once again, the menu had gluten free options and offered gluten free bread with the breakfast, I never usually eat bread as I don’t like the taste, but the bread was both light and fluffy! Yet another gluten free win.

One of many delicious pizza's.
One of many delicious pizza’s.

My adventure then took me to Sydney, where some more gluten free firsts were to occur. I always wondered why my friends loved calamari, but as I had never tried it, I thought they were slightly mad.  Novotel at Darling Harbour proved me wrong. Their calamari was gorgeous – so good I asked the waiter to triple check it was gluten free – they had used a polenta batter. I soon realised that calamari was, as my cousin put it, “gooood”!  This was then followed by gluten free pizza (again) at Olivo in Darling Harbour, which offers views overlooking the harbour and a range of gluten free desserts. While In Sydney, I met a family friend who suggested we go for tapas. I explained that tapas might be a bit tricky for me; how wrong I was. He booked at table at Vue bar, which overlooks Bondi Beach, where I experience the most amazing seafood, all gluten free! Still the food in my suitcase remained untouched.

Brisbane was the final destination on a whistle stop tour of Australia, where the gluten free food continued to be a hit. Due to the Easter weekend, quite a lot of the restaurants were busy, however, I was lucky to get a table at CharCharChar where my gluten free options were explained to me by the waiter and I experienced an incredibly tasty meal. My friend also had the gluten free option and couldn’t believe it could taste so good. The following night, we dined in Brisbane city at Milano, which also offered an extensive gluten free menu including both pizza and pasta options. I settled for a risotto, requiring a break from pizza! In Brisbane, I stayed at the Pullman hotel which was a gluten free heaven. Breakfast was clearly labelled where the gluten free items where. There was both gluten free bread and cereal options available. Even the sausages at breakfast were gluten free. Being able to have a choice at breakfast, instead of asking every two minutes if an item is gluten free, was definitely a luxury I haven’t experienced in the UK.

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CharCharChar did not let me down!

Although gluten free in Australia is much better than in the UK (it is more widely available, there is plenty of choice and every cafe and restaurant understands the needs of a coeliac when it comes to cross contamination), there were some disappointments. The majority of Australian chocolate is not gluten free due to them using glucose syrup made from wheat, although gluten free chocolate is available. Additionally, cold rock ice creams (where you can design your own ice cream flavour) are not gluten free either, needless to say, the majority of other ice cream shops are gluten free and clearly labelled.

If you are coeliac, or prefer to follow a gluten free diet, then Australia definitely has it covered. Now I just need the UK to catch up…

Victoria

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Back to saving for a return trip!

 

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Whoa, we’re going to Ibiza!

Written by Debs, part of the tripility team.

Firstly, let me apologise for putting that song in your head…lets face it, if you are going on holiday to Ibiza, that song is a must.

We recently booked our 2014 holiday and I for one can’t bloomin wait! In a weeks time, I will be jetting off (sadly not on Venga airways) with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and my boyfriend, we have never before been on holiday together; this could be interesting!

It was a bit of a rushed process booking this holiday, my sister had suggested we all go away together as her husband, Junior and my boyfriend (and fellow tripility creator), Mark, are both celebrating BIG birthdays this year. This idea had been thought about for weeks without us actually doing anything about it, until it came to a few weeks before the proposed holiday and we still had nothing booked. In the end, it was down to my lovely Mum to find us something that we could, a) all afford, b)  fly on the dates we wanted and c) travel from two different airports to land in Ibiza at roughly the same time. No mean feat. Eventually, we settled on Cala Llonga, staying in three self catering studio apartments next to the beach (full info at the bottom). In order to get us all flying at the same time, my sister and brother-in-law are doing a ludicrous journey up north so we can all fly together from Leeds-Bradford airport (trust me, there is method in our madness…primarily money saving!). So, that was us sorted, or so we thought. As it took so long to find a holiday that suited all six of us, my Mum went ahead and booked it, without much thought of access, in her own words “we will manage”.  As you may have read before, I do have a degree of mobility, but stairs and walking long distances are my real nemesis, so I could find myself only able to stare longingly at the beautiful beach below, whilst everyone else trots off down the legions of stairs, rubber dinghy in tow. Watch this space!

The only disappointing thing we have come across in our booking process, was trying to book our transfers. We went though Travel Republic and we were quoted £120 for all six of us both to and from the airport. However, when the wheelchair was mentioned, we were told that we would have to pay extra just for having a wheelchair in the luggage compartment of the bus. Now, I’m not sure if you have ever come across this before (let us know if you have), but I have never been charged extra to place a collapsible, lightweight, manual wheelchair into a coach before. To me, this sounds a tad discriminatory. When we questioned this further, we were put through to a very helpful Travel Republic employee who told us that certain bus companies charge you for travelling with a wheelchair, as if I have any other choice. We explained that we would only have 3 suitcases between the 6 of us, therefore leaving ample room for said wheelchair, but apparently this makes no difference. However, as I mentioned, she was very helpful and went away and sorted this for us, as she also agreed that this ridiculous rule was just that, ridiculous. We are now all sorted with our transfers, at no extra cost for taking a wheelchair. Phew.

I am pretty excited to be able to get myself on this holiday and not just for obvious reasons, but  also so we can bring you all some great reviews about Cala Llonga; expect useful photos and videos galore, what more could you want?!

 

Flights: Leeds-Bradford to Ibiza Airport with Jet2  booked through Jet2.com 

Transfers: Coach transfer booked through Travel Republic

Accommodation: El Pinar Apartments, Cala Llonga, also booked through Travel Republic

 

Main Picture:

Ibiza Rocks Tour Bus

Navigating Paris Museums in a Wheelchair

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My dad came to visit.  He traveled all the way to Europe and was bound and determined to see things.  Unfortunately, dad’s knee is bone on bone.  He can walk, but needs knee surgery soon and can’t spend much time on his feet or move too quickly.  The only way to get him around museums was renting a folding wheelchair (chaise roulette).  Museums often have ones you can borrow for free.    It was lightweight and made it possible for him to see a lot.  The highlight of being in a wheelchair was a front row seat to the Mona Lisa at Paris’Louvre Museum.

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Unfortunately, the Louvre museum was once a palace and is not as handicapped friendly as we’d hoped.  Wheelchair ramps were sorely lacking.  It was pretty obvious that it is hard to retrofit museums with elevators/lifts at convenient spots.  The Musée d’Orsay (a bit…

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