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…
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!
Written by Debs and Victoria; part of Team Tripility.
This weekend two members of team Tripility are going off to Leeds to celebrate a (future) family members 30th birthday. Whilst perusing the menu (yes, I actually do this before eating out…), I got to thinking about how little thought I have to put into what and where I eat. As long as I can actually access the restaurant, I have the freedom to choose whichever cuisine I fancy. These thoughts popped into my head as I was thinking about my lovely friend Victoria, she has coeliac disease which means that every aspect of her diet (and even what shampoo she uses) has to be thought about. Whenever we go out for something to eat together, she stresses to the waiter that every bit of food she is served, has to be gluten free. This is something that I am so used to hearing her say, that I think I have taken for granted how much she must have to blindly trust that her food doesn’t contain a trace of gluten; otherwise she could be very poorly. Victoria recently went to a new gluten free restaurant in Leeds and she told me that for the first time, she had eaten a scotch egg. Now, anyone that knows me well, knows about my absolute LOVE of scotch eggs (simple things…). So, hearing that Victoria had never before tried this delight, was quite astounding to me. Once I had got over my shock at this admission, I started to realise that developing a food intolerance changes every aspect of your food life; something that perhaps those with such a thing, take for granted.
On this note, Victoria helpfully wrote up her experiences of this new restaurant, so all you gluten free Yorkshire people (and hopefully those from further a field), could be inspired to check it out. If anyone else has had some brilliant (or terrible) experiences of dining out, when you have specific dietary requirements, let us know! We will very soon be adding a restaurant section of tripility.com, where you will be able to review your hearts out about every aspect of your dining experiences, from dietary and family requirements, to all manner of access issues; so register and stay tuned! Enough from me, over to the delightful Victoria!
Santa Eulalia is the third largest resort in Ibiza, there is plenty to do with lots of bars, restaurants, museums and shops and is perfect for families as well as those looking for good access. There are two beaches, one of these has a disabled platform with a beach boardwalk and the other has a boardwalk without extra facilities. Santa Eulalia is in a great location just down the coast from Ibiza Town and it is only 21 km from the airport.
We visited Santa Eulalia whilst on holiday in Cala Llonga, Ibiza. A lot of effort had been made to make the seafront promenade and beach area incredibly accessible for wheelchairs. Much thought had been put into the access, especially for getting down to and using the beach. There was a special platform just for wheelchair users; this platform included a wheelchair accessible toilet, covered shelter and a beach wheelchair. The whole of the promenade was flat with plenty of cafe’s and restaurants with easy access.
We arrived by bus into Santa Eulalia, not sure what to expect. The bus from in Cala Llonga had a wheelchair lift, although we didn’t need to use it. The bus stop was on a narrow stretch of pavement, ideally this area could be a little bit larger so we could easily move the wheelchair around other visitors.
We waited until the other passengers had dispersed and then ventured onto the beach front in Santa Eulalia. What we found was wide promenades, step free access and fantastic wheelchair provisions right down to the beach, with the beach boardwalk and other accessible facilities. There was a slope down to this area but the gradient was never more than 5 degrees, measured on my handy angle metre app on my phone (what more could one want?).
The resort of Santa Eulalia was fantastically equipped for disabled travelers in terms of wheelchair access. It was very notable when a place is well equipped for disabled travelers when you see numerous other wheelchair users in the same resort.
Our stay in Santa Eulalia was rather short, only a couple of hours to see what it had to offer. We certainly would consider staying here in the future, compared to Cala Llonga there were a lot more restaurants and bars, which may entice people looking for a slightly more lively holiday compared to the quieter resort down the road.
Our visit ended with a return journey back to Cala Llonga on the ferry. Access to the ferry was in the port, this area was flat and had a good selection of restaurants, all which seemed accessible from the pavement.
The only part of the journey not suited to wheelchair users was getting onto the ferry itself, unless you are able to walk short distances and fold up the chair. The access onto the boat was up a narrow walkway and then down a couple of steps once on the boat, help was provided by the staff which made things a little easier.
I hope you enjoyed our rather brief guide to Santa Eulalia.
Do you know of any other resorts that are equally as accessible?
If you are looking for an accessible city destination, New York is definitely the place. Having experienced this city as a wheelchair user, I found it to be incredibly easy to get around. The people I came into contact with were very friendly and helpful, if anyone saw you struggling to navigate a non-automatic door (although this was quite a rare find), they would stop what they were doing in order to help you. Buildings had lifts and automatic doors, even old buildings were made accessible, often by connecting through to the building next to it and using their lifts. Attractions were made easy by staff being on hand to navigate any small steps, or provide access on and off boat tours and there is no need to think about queuing. Every attraction I approached, I was encouraged to the front of the queue to avoid any hanging around, or having to navigate through any difficult barriers. Below is a mini guide to the attractions I visited and an outline of services that can be accessed as a disabled person in New York City. More information about the services can be gained through NYC Go website: http://www.nycgo.com/accessibility Continue reading New York City…what more do I need to say?→
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!→
All of us here are excited to announce that www.tripility.com has gone live! The website is aimed at providing disabled, dietary and family travel reviews. We would love it if you could check it out and provide us with some reviews from your previous holidays (along with some feedback, good and bad).
All you need to do is sign up, add any companions and travel concerns and off you go! It is just the start, we will be adding destination and restaurant reviews soon. The more reviews, the better the site will get, so if you know of anyone who can share their latest holiday experience, then please share the information with them too.
Nestled between Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia, Cala Llonga is a small and beautiful resort perfect for those wanting to escape the busier parts of Ibiza. Great for families and couples, Cala Llonga is dominated by a large sandy beach enclosed in a pretty bay. Here we will give you an in depth guide to the town in terms of accessibility. Please click on the map for videos of each location – recorded on our wheelchair cam!
So, the holiday is over (why does time only whip by when you are on holiday?!) and it was brilliant. I would highly recommend anyone to visit Cala Llonga if they are after a relaxing beach holiday, it is a beautiful place. Anyway, enough of that general holiday review stuff, what you clearly want to know about (don’t deny it), is how accessible is this place? Luckily for you, over the next few weeks, you not only get to read my generalised waffle about the holiday but, here at Tripility, we are going to be bringing you a completely in depth guide to Cala Llonga (and a little bit about Santa Eulalia too), including a cheeky bit of wheelchair cam footage…contain yourselves!
From a wheelchair access point of view, my verdict on our accommodation was not good, however, I must point out that the apartments where we stayed do specifically say that they are not suitable for wheelchair users. As I previously mentioned, this holiday was booked by my Mum, by the time she had been taken in by the beautiful views and the reasonable priced apartments, disabled access had pretty much gone out of the window…However, the whole point of Tripility is to be able to bring you the information on access, regardless of what the brochures say. I, like many other people, am not a permanent wheelchair user, so sometimes what is written in the official blurb, is not applicable to me. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Having said that, after reaching the resort at 11am, having only had three hours sleep and arriving in a torrential downpour (which I am happy to report was only momentary), I was not feeling too positive about how we would find a way around this lack of easy access!
The hotel itself was up a relatively steep hill, even though the hotel was right on the beach, there was around 10 steps (or the steep hill) to access this. Our apartments were based across a small road from the main hotel, so to access the pool, it was down a ramp, across the road, down around 15 steps or alternatively; through the hotel, down two floors in the lift and then another small walk through to the pool area. It is also worth mentioning that the ramp to the entrance of the apartments was steep; short, but very steep! Depending on who was pushing me, the majority of the times I had to get out of the wheelchair and climb up the ramp. As for going down the ramp in the chair, we attempted this once (stupidly when the ramp was wet) and never again. I nearly ended up at the bottom of the ramp in a heap…not a great start!
Once down at the pool however, everything was relatively easy. There was an easy ramp from the hotel, an accessible (and very clean) WC and drinks could be bought from the bar near the toilets; meaning we didn’t have to navigate back to the room for the essentials. Another great thing about the area was that there was a boardwalk onto the beach, at the entrance to this was an accessible WC and disabled parking (although there were issues with this…). The boardwalk enabled you to get most of the way to the sea, although not quite there and had a handy sheltered area near the sunbeds. So, you could either transfer to a bed and leave you wheelchair in the shade, or stay in your wheelchair in a reasonably sheltered area. Most of the restaurants had ramps, or alternative step free access into them and the staff were always very helpful and offered to move tables and chairs so the wheelchair could get though and I could transfer to a chair.
The inaccessible parts of the holiday were a little overwhelming when we first arrived, however, we soon got into our stride and found a way around things. Luckily Mark is exceptionally strong (might be a slight exaggeration…) and never once had a problem pushing me up the steep hill to the apartments, which was a relief! We spent our week measuring the steepness of hills (because who doesn’t have an angle-o-meter on their phone?!) and filming the area, so that we can bring you all the information (instead of just my banter) about the Cala Llonga. We will be posting this in the next week, so if you are looking at visiting this beautiful part of the world, this should bring you all the access information that you need!
One thing that I would avoid, is using Ibiza Tours for any transfers you book. Initially they tried to charge us extra just for having a wheelchair with us, then, they forgot to pick us up on our return journey to the airport. Luckily my sister speaks fluent Spanish, so she was able to ring up and sort this, but by the time we got to the airport, we were rushed through security so we could board the plane. Not an ideal end to the holiday. Anyone that has ever boarded a plane using an ambilift will know that the usual protocol is to board people needing assistance first, thus giving them the time to get to their seat without a plane full of passengers; this was not the case at Ibiza airport. Having been rushed through security (and told I didn’t even have time to go to the toilet), we then sat in the ambilift on the tarmac for an hour (not great when you are busting for a wee…!) whilst they took the bags off the plane from the previous flight. We then watched them load all 250 passengers, before we were taken up to the plane, meaning we had to struggle down a busy plane to get to our seats. This was a bit of a letdown at the end of the holiday, especially as the assistance at Leeds airport on the way out had been excellent. So, if you are heading to Ibiza airport and you use assistance, be prepared that things run far from smoothly.
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!
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 Iasked 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 ofbreads, 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…
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!
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.
My adventure then took me to Sydney, where some more gluten free firsts were to occur. I always wondered why my friends lovedcalamari, 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 breakfastwere 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.
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…