Disabled Traveller

Nov 8th, 2007, 06:59 PM
  #1  
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Disabled Traveller

Hi, everybody. I'm hoping to visit Europe in early January for 7-10 days. I have about US$2000 to spend, and I've learned much on know how to find deals (thanks much to posts on Fodor's!). I want to visit 2-3 different countries, but I'm concerned about 2 things: bad weather and convenience of public transportation.

I have a pretty limiting physical disability. I can walk, but with difficulty (I was badly injured in an auto accident when I was in my teens), and I have considerable trouble with climbing (steps, on/off trains, etc.). I can't stand for long periods of time, I can't ride a bike, and walking great distances is out of the question. What's the best way for a girl like me to get around? Eurail? Rental car?

Anything else I should know? For those that have gone before and have wisdom to share, thanks in advance.

Sue
showgirl626 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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Sue,

I just wanted to say that I am really happy you are going and if you are generally comfortable driving in unfamiliar places, I would opt for a car rental with the exception of big cities where it is usually a hindrance. In your case though, if you are willing to put up with parking hassles or can obtain a disabled parking sign, it may be worth it.

Another alternative is a guided tour all the way, but I am afraid your budget may be too low for that. BTW does that include air fare?

Best,

-e
enroute is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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I think Rick Steve's has a book called Accessible Europe. Which countries are you considering?
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:21 PM
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Here's a link for a trip report about Rome.
http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/accessible/rome/index.htm
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:37 PM
  #5  
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The 2k doesn't have to include my airfare, but that would be preferable. I actually travel alone a lot (I've travelled with friends, family both, and I've decided that going solo is the best way for me), but I haven't been to Europe since I was in school. I don't mind driving around strange places at all, and I know NOT to rent a car if I'm staying in a city like London or Paris. I'm still researching and deciding if I want to stay in a city, region (like southern Spain) or do 2-3 countries, that's why I'm hoping you all can help me.
showgirl626 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:38 PM
  #6  
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Oh, P.S. - I'm looking at Italy, Spain or France if snow and ice are going to be real issues. I'll take suggestions for anyplace else.

I've ruled out guided tours because of the expense, but also because I would slow down my fellow travellers. I like going at my own pace.
showgirl626 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:47 PM
  #7  
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Oh, yeah...in addition, I've looked at Brazil, China and the Caribbean. But I'm in love with Europe, her languages and her culture. I speak a fair amount of French, a little Spanish, and I have phrase books for everything from Basque to Greek. Also, the more I'm looking around, the more I'm realizing that I can afford Europe just as easily as I can afford to spend the same amount of time in my back-up US travel plan - the San Francisco Bay area.

showgirl626 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:53 PM
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I would suggest picking one or two cities only (not 3 countries!). Amsterdam & Paris, for example.

Sure it's winter so the weather will not be that great anywhere up north.

But plenty of public transportation in both cities. Pick a centrally located hotel and you'll be able to explore without having to do a lot of hiking around. Plan to drop a little money using taxis plus bus, tram, metro, whatever depending where you end up.

Believe me, I've never rented a bike, had a Eurail pass, or a rental car and have done a number of nice trips solo in Europe.
suze is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:25 PM
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Congratulation on having the spunk for going on your own. You will love where ever you choose.

However - I do have to insert a bit of a reality check here. $2000 for 7-10 days is not enough to even consider renting a car, having a private guide, or traveling around too much. You can have a very nice vacation for that much though.

I would forget about trying to see 2 or 3 countries. I'd stay in one city (or 2 at the very most). Settle in and use it as a base for one or two day trips out of town.

You could choose Paris or London. Neither subway system (Metro or Underground) are very useful since they often require quite long walks w/ stairs and looooong escalators. But both cities have extensive bus systems that are very easy to use w/o climbing/walking.
janisj is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:28 PM
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Hi, Suze...

Paris and Amsterdam were exactly the 2 cities I had in mind if I was going to visit 2 countries. But I was hoping a day or 2 in Brussels would be possible if I gave myself a full 10 days for my trip. I figure Paris would take at least 5 days for someone that can't pack in too much sightseeing in one day.

I also considered Paris and Nice, or just staying in Nice and utilizing the public transportation that I've heard many good things about for day trips up and down the French Riviera, into Monaco and Italy.

Or, Cordoba, Seville and Granada, with perhaps a day trip over to Morocco.

Thanks for the support, Suze. I'm grateful, and I'll take any information you can provide for any spots that you've visited that you would recommend.
showgirl626 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:13 PM
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Hello showgirl, I just had a thought I wanted to share with you.

So many people rush through cities and areas to see as much as they can and consequently miss seeing and observing the day to day life of where they are visiting.

In that you will be travelling slower so to speak I truly believe that your trip will enable you to really soak in and and enjoy whereever you are. Quality time which really makes for a lot of enjoyment and beautiful memories.

Best wishes planning your trip and I truly hope you will post a trip report when you return home and get settled back in. Your mode of travel and what worked for you and what didn't would be a wealth of information for anyone at any age that needs to travel slower for whatever reason. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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I think, janisj, that I will more seriously consider southern Spain. I want to be in Cordoba, Sevile and Granada. That itinerary sounds like something that you would suggest. Thank you for the suggestion and the forewarning that 2k probably won't be enough money.
showgirl626 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:23 PM
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Hi, Loveitaly...

Thanks for the support. I love experiencing new things, and I'm looking forward to the brief change of pace. It will be a nice break.

Enjoy your week-end!

Sue
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Nov 8th, 2007, 09:58 PM
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Thanks Sue, I hope you have a fun weekend also. No doubt you will as you have your wonderful trip to plan out.

We SF/BayArea Fodorites are having a Fodor's GTG in San Francisco this coming Saturday evening at a new restaurant in the North Beach area of SF. I am looking forward to it, seeing Fodorites I haven't seen for awhile and meeting others that I already feel like I know thanks to our constant posts.

Sue, we have a Fodorite who lives in Spain..her nick is Kandera or something similar. I am frustrating I can't remember the exact spelling. She lives in Spain and she too travels slowly and is in a similar situation as you are in. She has travelled to GB and Italy as well around her own Spain. I am hoping that she will see your thread. I have not seen any post from her for quite some time however. I miss her posts, she is a fantastic woman. Anyway I was thinking she would be a wealth of information for you if you decide to visit Spain. Have fun making your plans!
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 10:04 PM
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I think you mean Kenderina. I think I saw a post from her a day or so ago.

She would oe a great resource if you did decide on Spain (or LOndon for that matter since she has been there a few times)
janisj is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Hi janisj, yes, Kenderina is who I was thinking of. I am glad she has posted as I didn't see it and was wondering if all was well in her life. Thanks for posting!
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Thank you, everybody. I hope Kenderina DOES find this...I would love her advice. I'll check back to this thread often, hoping someone else contributes something wonderful, as you all have. THANKS AGAIN! Gracias, Takk, Merci, Arigato, Xie Xie, etc.

Sue
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Nov 10th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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Hi Sue

I'm not sure this suggestion might help but I'll throw it into the pot.

In April this year we took what is known as the Train Journey of Moorish Andalucía. It was arranged by a Malaga-based tour company (owned by two English Girls).

We arranged and paid for our own flights to Malaga and then the tour began. A taxi was waiting for us (included in the price) to drive us to Granada (included was entry to the Alhambra). The girls had arranged all the train trips between Granada, Seville, Cordoba and back to Malaga. The hotels they chose for us were great. The total cost of the 8 day tour was 1300 dollars each. That included all taxis, hotels and train journeys. They even sent the train tickets in advance and had reserved our seats.

It was a superb way to see Andalucia. Here's the index page. Our tour is the first one on the list (which still includes this years rates):

http://tinyurl.com/33c7s4

Joe

joe4212 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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I think someone was calling me LOL

Loveitaly is too kind with me, I'm not such an experienced traveller, really, I've never done it solo
But yet I'm still Spanish, so I can say a few things about it LOL

Public transportation between the cities is fairly good. Inside the cities is pretty bad, outside from main cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia (and even these, are not to the point of accesibility London buses have.) So I have to rely mainly on taxis here inside the cities, good news are that they are not as expensive as in London

Anyway, if you have trouble on/off trains you can ask for help at the Atención al cliente (passenger's info) office at every main station and they will help you when you board and will be waiting for you when you arrive, just as airports do. Just arrive there about one hour early for them to make the arrangements because they are usually short of workers.

I don't think a rental car would be necessary. It's rather expensive and you probably won't have time to visit the countryside.

Cordoba-Sevilla-Granada would be perfect for the time you have, I think.
I wouldn't take private tours either, I 've done it but then I was a lot younger and walked a bit faster LOL Well, I did it once two years ago in Milan, but it was because I needed badly the tickets to see Last Supper and there was no other way. The combination Madrid-Barcelona would be great also, a bit more cold though.

Also, if you decide not to visit Spain..I would say London , without doubt, or London-Paris, but then the budget will suffer a bit more, those are expensive cities. Weather will be cold...but if you are not from Florida...I think you won't notice

If you need something more specific, just ask !!






kenderina is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 06:29 AM
  #20  
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Kend, I never realized what LoveItaly wrote (about you) but I wanted to post this to say that I totally respect and admire your attitude to it all. I think the one thing missing is a trip report from U.K. that discusses the pin tshoosh (that lobo post has stuck with me) withdrawl symptoms as you are trying to get used to English food. Regards.
 

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