Today I travelled to Douglas in the Isle of Man for a short break, the previous time I have been there was for a day trip only. From first thing in the morning things began to go wrong, though in the end the trip was very enjoyable. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I go to Wrexham Maelor Hospital for dialysis and today being Monday had to go before travelling, but today of all days the ambulance that picks me up arrived two hours late and then I was ill during the dialysis. Because of this delay I could not get the train to Liverpool airport in time for my flight on EasyJet so got a bus to Chester where I then got a taxi, costing £57, to the airport. Things went smoothly at the airport and my flight arrived on time. I had a 3 day ‘Go Explore’ travelcard for all transports in the Isle of Man so on arrival got the bus in to Douglas, but before getting to my stop we had to change to another bus because it was about to run out of diesel! Continue reading “A Couple Of Days In The Isle Of Man”
COMIS Hotel and Golf Resort
Mount Murray Road
Isle of Man
The COMIS Hotel and Golf Resort is a 4**** hotel located just off the A5 road that runs from Ronaldsway airport to Douglas and is about 3 miles from Douglas. If arriving at the airport or ferry port there is a bus stop located on the A5 road just a few minutes walk from the hotel. The hotel does not look much from the outside but I was told it is probably the best on the island. There was level access to the reception desk but no lowered section to easily sign in from a wheelchair, I had to go to a table. Everywhere I went in the hotel was on the ground floor. Continue reading “COMIS Hotel & Golf Resort, Santon, Isle Of Man”
Isle of Man
The Sefton Hotel is a 4**** hotel located on the promenade in Douglas, Isle Of Man, next door to the Gaiety Theatre. If you are arriving from the airport or ferry port there are buses that stop right outside at the Gaiety Theatre bus stop; from the ferry port it is even close enough to walk if you don’t have lots of luggage with you. There are steps up to the front entrance but there is a ramp to the left of them at a good angle, not too steep as I managed it with ease with my heavy backpack on my wheelchair. The reception desk is immediately in front of you when you enter and to the right it has a low section so you can easily sign in from wheelchair height, and pay your account when you leave. Continue reading “Sefton Hotel, Douglas, Isle Of Man”
The Great Little Trains of Wales are 11 narrow gauge, mainly steam, railways. Most are in north and mid Wales, with one in south Wales. They came together in 1970 for marketing purposes. They are the Bala Lake Railway in Llanuwchlyn (near Bala), the Brecon Mountain Railway in Merthyr Tydfil, the Fairbourne Railway in Fairbourne, the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog, the Llanberis Lake Railway in Llanberis, the Snowdon Mountain Railway also in Llanberis, the Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn, the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Aberystwyth, the Welsh Highland Railway in Caernarfon, the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog and the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway in Welshpool.
The Welsh Highland Railway that runs from Caernarfon meets up with the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog where they share a station and by crossing the platform and changing trains it is possible to do a 40 mile run from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog or vice versa.
Below you can find the wheelchair access information for each of these lines, I will add a detailed blog of each of the railways in the coming months as I visit (in some cases re-visit) each of them.
Continue reading “The Great Little Trains of Wales”
Back in 2002 I did my first long haul trip. It was to scuba dive in Vietnam. This blog will be slightly different to my previous blogs as it will mainly feature excerpts from my dive logbook. I flew from Manchester to Paris where I transferred to an Air France flight to Bangkok. On arrival at Don Muang airport all the other passengers got off the plane for an hour but the assistance team took so long coming to get me off that it was time to get back onboard when they arrived. With a new crew we then flew onwards to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon.)
Today I am at Manchester Airport awaiting my flight on Lufthansa to Venice via Munich. I have never been to Italy before and until recently would have considered Venice to be a difficult place to visit for a wheelchair user, but research on the internet seemed to suggest otherwise. In the map on the right those areas marked in green are supposed to be fairly easily accessible, those in khaki less accessible, and those in red not accessible. During the next two days I will find out.
Venice has a system of waterbus (Vaporetto) routes that get you around all the islands and they are very wheelchair friendly. The biggest boats, like the one in the photo to the left, run on routes  and  and display the blue wheelchair symbol. There are smaller boats on other routes which I did not see the symbol on but I managed to use every one that I tried and the crews on them were very helpful.
Novotel Venezia Mestre Castellana
Via Ceccherini 21
The Novotel Venezia Mestre Castellana is a 4**** hotel and part of the Accor Hotels group, it is located about 10 kilometres from Venice Marco Polo airport, and about 2 kilometres from Mestre railway station. A taxi there from Marco Polo airport will cost about €40. The hotel has a bar, a restaurant/breakfast room and an outdoor swimming pool. To get in to Venice ‘proper’ you have to take two buses, the number 31H (32H on the return and 34H in both directions on a Sunday) for one stop and then the number 2, they are wheelchair accessible and cost €1.50 for the whole journey. If you choose to take a taxi instead of the bus it is about €30.
Last week I wrote about my trip to Beirut in Lebanon back in 2003, which you can find here, this week, as promised, I am writing about the day trip I did from there to Damascus in Syria. On the morning I got up very early and took a taxi to the Cola Transport Hub, a major road intersection where you can get buses, taxis or minibuses to destinations in Lebanon and the region. From here I got a bus to Damascus. The bus was just a regular coach and I got myself in the rear entrance and sat in the back row for the whole journey. Travelling through Lebanon we stopped somewhere at a service centre but I didn’t get off the bus, instead the driver brought me a bottle of cold cola.
Way back in 2003 I did a trip to Beirut, in Lebanon, where I spent a week. Because it was so long ago this blog post won’t be as detailed as my usual ones. I went there to scuba dive and did three dives during the week, it was more difficult than my previous dive trips to Egypt, Turkey and Vietnam where it was normal to do two or three dives a day. I flew to Beirut on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, where I spent a night, and then onwards with Middle East Airlines. I chose to go via Istanbul because after Beirut I was to be spending a further 3 weeks scuba diving in İçmeler and then Fethiye on Turkey’s Aegean coast with the European Diving Centre. On arrival I took a taxi to the Hotel Concorde which is situated on Bliss Street not far from the American University of Beirut.