29.5.17

Stacie on the road: Saint Malo...


We went away again! We went back to France to a little Town called Saint Malo, I knew very little about it all I knew was that it looked pretty and not very touristy so a perfect place to go and relax rather than have Mark pushing me all over the shop sightseeing, this was also our "test" to see how I would do on a Ferry. As we've previously discussed I don't do great when travelling and especially travelling I'm unfamiliar with and a Ferry is something I had never done before. So to combat this problem we booked a 'quick' Ferry on the way there but that would require a 2hour and 30min drive when we got there, we were taking the car so that worked out well and by doing a quick ferry first we would ultimately know for on the way home whether I could deal with a long journey ferry or not. 

Our trip didn't start off on the finest form things just seemed to go wrong. Our first hotel we were staying in, in Portsmouth, had been booked for the following day not the day we were actually staying and some sort of event was going on which therefore meant there was no room at the inn but the lovely women managed to get us a room in there adjoining hotel down the road, which perhaps turned out better for us anyway as it was a much quieter venue. During the night I was probably the worst person ever to be in a bed next too, my drugs have made me a mental person when I sleep and therefore I for some reason had a terrible night and was really loud which ultimately meant Mark had a awful night sleep too. Not fun especially when you have to travel the next day. 

The Ferry is now officially my preferred way of foreign travel. It was a lovely way to travel, no stress for me at all. There is a bit of arranging to do you do have to pre ring and let them know about your disability and machinery you may be carrying, whether you're in a wheelchair, oxygen and whether that is with you. They are very good with you though and they have a particular place on the boat for you to park so its as easy as possible to get to and from. The 3 hour journey there was honestly no problem at all I felt like I was merely in a big car or coach or something because the movement was barely noticeable to me and in fact sent me to sleep like it would in a car. So the Ferry gets a massive thumbs up from me and for anyone who wants a relaxing way to travel to the outer edges of Europe :-). 

Saint Malo was such a lovely place to be, our hotel was really quite awesome we had the most beautiful view of the sea through 3 separate windows with their shutters which is a French thing I have always loved! So whichever window you looked out of you had beautiful view but different from each angle. We just got to listen to the sea and because it obviously wasn't their height of season it was uninterrupted gushing of waves and it was just exactly what we wanted. We did also venture into the town where we got to see all their historic buildings and see the Port. The town I would say is accessible to a degree, it has cobbled streets so that's just whether the disabled person can cope with the jittery-ness of cobbled streets and whether your wheelchair pusher also has the ability to push on cobbled streets, luckily I was fine and Mark I don't know how he does it but he combats those streets well! It took us a day to find out how to get onto their famous city walls, there is actually a ramp slope thing up to it and as long as you go the right way around it most of it is accessible there was even a little crepérie up there that we stopped in and obviously had a crepe LOL!

We had a really lovely time there, I did have one day where I was ill which isn't unexpected it would have been a miracle if I had got through the holiday without a ill day. I didn't care though because what a lovely place to be ill in we didn't have to be anywhere, there were no plans other than to relax so that's what we did and it was lovely! 

Coming home we had a long haul Ferry of 9 hours, this was another test, we booked a cabin which ended up being far better than I expected. The room kind of reminded me of a hospital room so I think that's why I felt so comfortable in it, it had a bunk bed and I didn't even feel claustrophobic in it. Even though we were travelling through the day we wanted a cabin because I still had nebulisers to do and other drugs that just aren't really appropriate to do around other people, and 9 hours is a long time so it was good to have like a "base" which we could return to a rest and have a nap if I started to feel ill or whatever. It was totally worth the little extra cost. 

I actually came back from the holiday without feeling totally wiped out and that was a great experience to have had and even though the first hotel situation stressed us out a little for me it was the least stressful I have been whilst we have been doing our trips :-) 

Now to pick the next adventure... where next? Who knows...

As always, thank-you for reading and chat soon
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13.5.17

Stacie On the Road: Bonjour Paris...


I know it's been a while but I just have been not busy but just too preoccupied with other things really to get in the mood to write a blog. I'm really into colouring at the moment I literally just spend hours colouring and I am literally ONE dragon picture away from finishing an entire colouring book. Lame that I have enough time to do that or just extremely determined, you decide LOL. 

Anywho enough of my colouring antics, after my rather important clinic appointment that you heard about in my last blogpost Mark and I now that we knew we could just go abroad should we want to basically said "where do we want to go?"and I logically thought hey Paris is on my list, likely to be the easiest trip to try to do for an initial disabled abroad trip so off we went. Now I make it sound like we just popped on a train and left, that is entirely NOT the case, Mark being the planner/organiser of the two of us did so much preplanning to make sure it was okay to go. We had to think about the fact we didn't have a car so Mark would be carrying all our luggage and pushing me in a wheelchair as well. So we had to really think about what we were packing because not only would we have to pack clothes and all the normal stuff everyone has to pack but also; my oxygen, my nebuliser machine, my mountain of medication, marks mountain of medication. It was a lot. Then we had to think about the location of hotel and obviously the more centrally located the more expensive things become but luckily Mark is great when it comes to hotels and we had a lovely hotel really close to the Louvre. 

I do realise I am meant to be telling you what an amazing time I had and I will but I also want you to realise what the realities of traveling with and as a disabled person is like as well because as I have come to realise some people believe that I simply just go and do these things and suddenly become not ill. In addition to the travel issues I suffer from travel anxiety. It's not something that bothers me overly and is something I generally get over once I'm doing it and going but it is horrendous, a few days before this trip I was a shrivelling mess. I've never been on the Eurostar before and I was just very nervous it was new to me and I just wanted everything to go as smoothly and as calmly as it could not just for me but for Mark as well.

Everything did go smoothly though we had a nice close car parking space to the station, we were escorted to the train through security which I was surprised about and awkwardly I had my nebuliser packed away in the depths of one of the bags so when they say "You have a motor in your bag" you have to think for a second and think what the hell that could be and Mark had to make things that much more hilarious and had wrapped it in a scarf that resembled something the Taliban might wrap round their heads, SO awkward LOL. We got through though and got escorted the rest of the way to the train so when it arrived they had their special ramps that helped us on the train and our special spacious disabled spot and I finally felt a sense of calm. We were officially off to Paris and it was exciting.  

Paris and my initial impressions were of how pretty it was I find it less overbearing than London, the buildings much more picturesque and I didn't feel towered upon. I think one of the first things anybody at all, no matter who you are would notice is the driving, absolutely horrendous I thought London was bad but at least they obey the red light law I'm pretty sure about thousand people that I was pushed passed could have died between walking between buildings they seemed a little bit more sensible towards people in a wheelchair though which felt oddly kind lol. 

Initial impressions of our hotel were really great! Mark seemed to "feel at one" with the hotel because as we walked in his favourite artist was playing over the sound thing and basically the decor was a dream for him, it was really lovely and the staff were super friendly as well. The place was meant to feel like a home from home and it really did feel that way to us. We knew going to Paris for just a few days we were never going to fit in everything we wanted to see so we just took it as it came and did what we could. There was a lot of walking, we saw the Louvre and all that kind of surrounding area, we saw the Eiffel tower. We went to the Moulin Rouge and honestly if you get the chance I totally recommend you go and see it, it was really amazing! There were A LOT of boobs going on and the thing that amazed me the most was that they didn't move, like at all and they were mainly real!!! :-O Someone needs to teach me how to make my boobs immovable! The Moulin Rouge maybe need to work on their accessibility, they said they were accessibility friendly which admittedly they partially were to a point but then we came out 2 flights of stairs from where we started and there were still another flight to go down, so along come burly security men who's job also requires them to carry me in my wheelchair down these steps LOL. It was an amazing venue though and something I can only let you imagine as pictures were not allowed. 

I enjoyed being there so much we managed to go to the Pompidou museum and we sat in Parisian cafes and went to the Notre Dam and road on a bus. We went on a lovely river boat cruise, although I did have to deal with a incredibly rude french man at this point but all a part of the experience hey? We went up and down the Seine after a lovely lunch. I don't feel like I missed out on any experience whilst we were there even though I was in a wheelchair, it was such a lovely few days. I won't lie and say it was all hunky dory the entire time because we were both extremely tired by the end of it, Mark walked over 18miles in 2 days pushing me not just by himself! Yes that was our choice and that's the point at the end of the day we took the decision and decided that us being tired and a little tetchy was worth the trip and I really think it was, Paris was lovely!    

As always, thank-you for reading and chat soon
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