Category Archives: Deborah’s step free travel

A different take on student life

Our blog is now on our main site, here is an excerpt from our latest post. Please go to tripility to read the rest!

Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

This week a very useful article was pointed out to me about being a disabled student. It has been published on the BBC’s disability website OUCH and is full of handy hints for surviving your degree with the added organisation involved when you are a disabled student. Before I began my degree in 2008, I had absolutely no idea how I would manage at university, or what help there was out there to get my through my degree. Being an assisted wheelchair user, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to go to university as I wouldn’t be able to get myself to my lectures. About a year before I was due to go to university, I visited a couple of places to ask about how completing a degree would be feasible and to get an idea of where I wanted to study. In the end, I decided upon the University of Hull as I loved the friendly feel of the campus, it has a brilliant Psychology department and I was very familiar with the city. Read more...

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First Hull Trains, we salute you!

Our blog is now on our main site, here is an excerpt from our latest post. Please go to tripility to read the rest!

Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

Recently, I made the (not so) long and arduous journey to London. As we were pootling down on the train, sipping a leisurely glass of wine, it got me to thinking about the times I have traveled by train. As a wheelchair user, I find this mode of transport a bit stressful, especially when I am traveling alone. If possible, I avoid taking my wheelchair on the train, but this is only possible if someone can pick me up from a station where there isn’t far to walk, and if I am not going to need my wheelchair after that. The reasons I am not a major fan of rail travel with a wheelchair is; firstly, there is often very limited space for the wheelchair to be placed folded down, even if you find somewhere, passengers tend to pile their stuff on it/around it making it very difficult to get to it when you want to depart. Two, I am not a huge fan of the booking assistance 24 hours before, often, I don’t book my train travel till the last minute, spontaneity anyone?! Thirdly, getting the wheelchair on and off the train, when passengers are impatiently trying to board, is a mite stressful. Often, a friend/family member puts me on the train with the wheelchair and then someone helps me off the train at the other end to try and make things easier. Read more on our main site…

Throwing ice water on your head, but why?

Our blog has now moved to our main site. Here is an excerpt, to read the full thing please click the link at the bottom of the post!

Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

We can’t have failed to notice the recent craze that swept the world of social media, the Ice Bucket Challenges. For anyone that doesn’t know about them (ludicrous suggestions, I know), this is something that began in America. Essentially, some lovely generous person throws a bucket of ice water over your head, you have to stand (or sit) there and take it, then nominate others to partake in this challenge as well; once icy cold, you donate money, if you don’t complete the challenge within 24 hours, you have to donate even more money (in theory). Money donated goes to either the ALS Association (www.alsa.org) or the MND Association (www.mndassociation.org). In the few weeks that this challenge has circulated, it has raised millions for both charities. Read more on our main site……

Who thought ice water would be that cold?
Who thought ice water would be that cold?

 

 

An adventure into South America

Written by Mark; part of the Tripility team.

Next year, we are becoming a bit brave here at Tripility, as two of us are off on our travels. To all you nomadic people out there, our trip is pretty tame, but someone has wafted the word hostel about, so I am classing this as travelling! The reason we have decided to do this (apart from the obvious), is that, apart from the odd holiday here and there, we have both never really explored anywhere before. The thought of a full backpacking adventure has Debs quaking in her flip flops, so we are going to do our own version of travelling (one that mainly involves hot showers and proper beds…for the most part). We are both quite nervous about the trip, mainly as we have the added factor of our access needs. However, this is the reason we started Tripility, so people can find out access information about destinations that may have been written off before. So, (luckily for you), we plan on reviewing and blogging our way around our chosen destinations!

The first part of our trip has us landing in Brazil and staying with our extended family in Porto Alegre, after a few days there, our accessible adventure (as it will now be known as) begins! Our first leg has us heading down the coast into Uruguay, so far we don’t know much about access here, a few guides have listed it as being non existent so this could be a challenge! Lucky for us, we will be traveling with family around these parts, so if we find ourselves in inaccessible places, there is someone else to do the piggybacking…! We’ll be passing through into Argentina and heading to Buenos Aires, which again is said to be difficult with a wheelchair, but doable! After starting to plan this trip at the start of the year we decided to visit Iguassu Falls, which borders both Argentina and Brazil. Now, visiting a waterfall in two countries that aren’t world renowned for access may seem a bit of a push, but here a lot of money has been ploughed into making the area as accessible as possible, so much so that this part of the trip should be relatively pain free (compared to the rest of our South American trip). We finish this part of the journey in Rio de Janeiro, where we’ll spend a few days, before flying into the West Coast of America.

Our plans for North America as of yet, havent been fully decided, but we know we would like to visit; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite’s and Las Vegas. We will most likely hire a car for this part of the trip and stay in hotels, hostels and even airbnb. Debs has requested a stop in Nashville, so the plan is to either hire a camper-van or fly into Nashville and spend a few days there. After this we are heading towards New York with a few other destinations in mind, such as; Chicago, Toronto, Niagra Falls, Maine and a few more in between. We plan on being away for 11 weeks, arriving home just in time to de-sand in time for my sister’s wedding. We are just at the start of organising this trip and the helpful folks at Flight Centre are putting an itinerary together for us. Before we can go, I have to finish my PhD (no pressure) and we both have a bit more saving to do. We’ll keep you posted about the trip, from the organising of it through to when we are actually there. If any of you have done something similar or even have useful information, please share!

The brain, what a funny old thing.

Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

Earlier this year, I completed a sponsored walk. Anyone that knows me will know that this was a big deal for me, as when I was 14, I became disabled though an illness. The reason I decided to complete this walk was that in March, it had been 11 years since this happened and instead of feeling upset about everything that has happened, I wanted to celebrate the progress I had made by doing something positive. Now, when someone says sponsored walk, it tends to put ideas in your head of striding great distances, often through tricky conditions. This was not the case for me, nope, my walk was a small jaunt on the seafront in the town where I live; but for me, this minuscule distance, was a massive milestone. In my head, I would pop down to the seafront, struggle through the walk (probably grumbling my way along) with my good friend Sarah and then flop back at home. However, my friends and family had other ideas! I am surrounded by a great bunch of people, who through the last 11 years have always been able to put a smile on my face, give me hand when I have needed it and generally kept me smiling through some tricky times. When they heard about my walk, they were all on board to both generously sponsor me and, be by my side for the event.

Debs walk-52

Through my excitement of seeing everyone there with me, I almost forgot that I had to actually walk with people watching me, something I am NOT a big fan of. Due to the difficulties I have with walking, I am very self conscious about the way I walk, it often causes strangers to stare or even to directly ask me, “what’s wrong with you then?”. So, the thought of people being there with the purpose of watching me walk…nightmare! What I had appeared to have forgotten is that all of these lovely people are in fact my friends, all there to continue supporting me as they always had. It turned out to be a great afternoon, the walking was not a doddle, but with everyone there it spurred me on (as did the thought of a big fat cake at the end of it!). I was pretty chuffed with my little self.

A BIG fat cake!
A BIG fat cake!

One of the big reasons I decided to do this walk (apart from the cake), was to raise money for The National Brain Appeal. This is a charity that raises money for The National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, which is based in Queens Square in London. It is a truly amazing hospital filled with the clever-ist (yes that’s a word) of people. I became a patient at this hospital nearly two years ago and I can not praise them highly enough. This month, the charity are celebrating 30 years of amazing-ness (my words not theirs), by looking back at the fundraising events people have held and where the money has been spent. If you, or anyone you know of, has been affected by a neurological illness, this charity is well worth giving to. If you have had any experience of the incredible work that The National Hospital do, or you have raised money for this charity, then let them know. Throughout August, you can share your stories of both the hospital and The National Brain Appeal on Facebook (search for The National Brain Appeal) #30years30days.

My lovely bunch of friends helped me to raise over £900, seen as though my aim was £100, I was pretty blooming chuffed with that!

walk
I think everyone thought it was a race…they were just showing off.

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A little guide to London…plus a mini festival no less!

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 Written by Debs and Mark; most of the Tripility team!

As the sun is shinning (hoorah), I have been thinking back to the things Mark and I got up to last summer (enough to cheer me right up), so I thought I would share our experiences of our first music festival. Now, let me just put you on the right track straight away, this was a one day music festival; no tent, no lack of showering and no over-flowing portaloos, I am not that brave!  This was a very civilised one day affair at the Olympic Park, to see Mumford and Sons. We decided to turn this into a mini holiday to London and (because we are so kind), we have jotted down our access views from our trip, hope you enjoy… Continue reading A little guide to London…plus a mini festival no less!

Javea- an ideal spot for an accessible beach holiday

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Written by Mark. Part of the tripility team.

Javea is a popular tourist spot in the Costa Blanca, we visited last year on our holidays and we were impressed by its accessibility but also as a holiday destination. Here we will give you the low down with what we found.

This review is being done from the point of view of a companion, I was pushing Debs who was using manual wheelchair.

Xàbia/Jávea

Xàbia/Jávea is located in the Costa Blanca in the Alicante region of Spain. Javea is made up of the old town, the picturesque port and the sandy El Arenal beach. It is approximately 40 miles away from Benidorm which means transport links are pretty good. It is in easy reach from Valencia or Alicante airports. To travel to Javea from the airport car hire is recommended, although travelling by coach and bus is also a possibility. Javea is mostly serviced by apartments and villas rather than hotels, the largest hotel being Hotel Parador situated at the northern end of the promenade at El Arenal beach.

El Arenal

El Arinal prominade
El Arenal prominade

We stayed in the El Arenal area at the Golden Beach apartments which were 5 minutes walk away from the beach. The El Arenal area was well suited to wheelchair users due to the wide and flat promenade which gives great access to bars and restaurants. Playa El Arenal is a long sandy beach with wheelchair access via a boardwalk. In the summer months wheelchair accessible toilets are available on the beach.  

Accessible beach boardwalk and disabled toilets on the beach
Accessible beach boardwalk and disabled toilets on the beach

El Arenal was well serviced with a great variety of bars and restaurants which we used throughout the holidays; the majority of these had ramps into the facilities and the hosts were always helpful. Access to seating was quite straight forward but we had the flexibility of Debs being able to walk small distances if necessary, there was seating directly off the promenade so powered wheelchairs should manage. It was noted on a few occasions how many wheelchair users there were so it wasn’t only us who had heard good things about the place! There were plenty of bars and restaurants at night to keep us entertained and there was always a lively and friendly atmosphere, even visitors not looking for good access would find this a good holiday destination. Those requiring a gluten free diet may struggle, Hotel Parador offers gluten free food on the menu but we didn’t see other restaurants displaying this information. Often restaurants can be quite helpful in this respect so it is always a good idea to take a gluten free travel card to inform them of your requirements.

The easy access in this location makes Javea a great location for anyone looking for a hassle free holiday without worrying too much about access to the facilities.  Walking away from the the beach we found that in most parts footpaths were in good order although some of the dropped kerbs could be improved.

We headed on to the beach on a couple of occasions to sun ourselves (the vampires from Twilight have nothing on our white pasty skin), there was always plenty of space and the boardwalk made it easier to get to the parasols when required. The accessible toilets were generally in good order and pretty clean. The sea was shallow and steadily increased in depth so bathing was never difficult.

Debs enjoying Arinal beach
Debs enjoying Arenal beach

Port

We visited the port on a couple of nights which had a more relaxed atmosphere, it did get slightly more crowded on the promenade here as it was narrower. There was a good choice of bars and restaurants here too, we only stayed for drinks but access was again very easy and we had plenty of room for maneuver with the wheelchair.  Powered wheelchair users may have more difficulty here, so if you have been here please give us your feedback.

Old Town

Javea also has an Old Town, now I have to say, we didn’t actually visit the Old Town mainly down to the fear of cobbles and narrow and most likely crowded streets. This may not actually be the case so please tell us about your experiences via the community pages or with a review when the site is up and running.

Apartment

Golden Beach apartments garden and pool
Golden Beach apartments garden and pool

We stayed at the Golden Beach apartments, this was a relatively modern block set approximately 5 minutes walk from the beach. We organised the trip via holidaylettings.co.uk and collected the keys from a lettings agent close to Arenal beach. Underground parking was provided and there was a lift up to the apartment, lighting wasn’t especially good in the car park and those with poor sight may struggle to see. The lift up to the apartment was also quite small and would not allow a wheelchair turn to be completed in it, there was a mirror to aid with reversing out.

Underground car park
Underground car park

Inside the apartment were two bedrooms, one with an on-suite bathroom and a second with a shared bathroom.  There was a living/dining area and a separate kitchen, outside to the rear was a patio area and to the front a set of five steps led from the kitchen into a small garden which joined onto the communal pool area.  The apartment we stayed in did not have ramped access to the garden and pool but apartments to the opposite side did. The apartment was not adapted for wheelchairs so it was mainly suited for those who can walk small distances without use of a chair. One note of caution was the pedestrian entrance to the complex, there was a steep slope from the gated entrance that required some effort being pushed up, other people may struggle unless there is a companion to help.

Steep slope from the gated entrance into the complex
Steep slope from the gated entrance into the complex
Five steps from the kitchen to the garden and pool
Steps from the kitchen

We’d love to hear your experiences from here or any other holiday destination so please get involved with the community or write a review of the destination and accommodation you stayed in when the site is up and running!

Thanks,

Mark

Tripility team

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Electric bikes – a chance at more freedom? Part one

Our blog is now on our main site, here is an excerpt from this post. Please go to tripility to read the rest!

Written by Debs; part of the tripility team.

DSC07983~2~2~2

So, what do you do if you have a disability, do not possess the amazing arm strength of a paralympian and want to ride a bike??? You buy an electric bike of course!

The world of electric bikes has only recently become one that I have paid any sort of attention to. It all started a few weeks ago, when my lovely sister came to stay. Living on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, the only obvious thing to do on the first (and maybe only) day of sunshine of the year, is to brush the rust off the bikes and head out into the countryside.  Given that I haven’t quite mastered walking yet, bike riding was definitely not an option for me. So I was left feeling slightly depressed painting my nails at home. On their return, all  muddy and in a state of collapse, I mentioned my desire to be able to join in with these activities (I say mention, let’s face it, it was more like I bemoaned my lot) and Mark hit upon an ingenious  plan; thus, the world of electric bikes was opened up to me. Read the rest at our main site tripility!

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