Friday 27th April 2018 and I am having a late lunch at Burger King in Liverpool John Lennon Airport. I am on my way to Barcelona for the weekend. It is the first time since I was diagnosed with renal failure in 2012 that I have travelled overseas on my own. It is also the first time I’ve ever been to Spain. Travelling is something I did for years but what is worrying me today is if my flight home on Sunday night gets delayed a long time and I am not back at Wrexham Hospital by 7:30am Monday morning for my dialysis. I decide the best plan is to just enjoy my holiday and deal with that if it happens.
I am flying with EasyJet, the flight went well though the Friday evening passengers were a bit rowdy! On arrival at Barcelona’s El Prat airport it takes quite some time for the wheelchair assistance team to come and get me off the ‘plane so the pilot came to have a chat with me.
When visiting Barcelona you need to decide which travel ticket option best suits your needs for getting around the city. There are several options to choose from but lets just look at the T-10 and the Hola BCN!
The Hola BCN! ticket is available for either 2, 3, 4, or 5 days and can be used by only one person. These are full 24 hour days so if you buy a 2 day ticket and you make your first journey at 10:00pm in the evening, say after arriving on your flight to the airport, your ticket will not expire at midnight on the next day but at 9:59pm two days later. This ticket is valid on all Metro lines, buses, trams, local RENFE trains and the funicular railways in the Zone 1. It is also valid for your journey from and to the airport. This ticket costs about €7 a day depending on how many days you choose.
The Metro, or underground, in Barcelona is an excellent and inexpensive way to get around the city. You can also use it to get from the airport to central Barcelona too. TMB that run most of the metro lines, except for three short ones, state that 90% of stations are wheelchair accessible so far with work planned ongoing to others. A larger more usable version of the accessible Metro map above can be found by clicking on this link (updated to February 2019.)
I would suggest printing out a copy of the map to carry with you when travelling, I did and found it invaluable for planning my routes, especially when working out how to get to places if the obvious route included a change of lines that are inaccessible.
I am J David Garnett, I was born with spina bifida, in north Wales, during the 1960s and have always lived there. I have been a wheelchair user for over 50 years and enjoy travelling.
My first overseas trip was to Lourdes at Easter in 1977, in the following two years I went on school exchange trips to Bayeux in France and then Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, or Holland as we called it. It was then a few more years before I travelled overseas again to Esbjerg in Denmark (1985), Katowice in Poland (1986), Eindhoven in the Netherlands (1987) and West Berlin in West Germany (1987). These were all group trips.
In 1990 I decided to take my first solo overseas trip and chose Sunny Beach (Слънчев бряг) in Bulgaria where I spent three weeks at this seaside resort. I returned there each summer from 1991 to 1995 for holidays ranging from two weeks to six weeks. In 1993 I also spent Christmas week in Disneyland Paris.