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.
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 as 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 ‘1’ and ‘2’ 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 30174 VENEZIA MESTRE ITALY
Tel: (+39)041/5066511 Fax: (+39)041/940620
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.
Today I am off on another of my weekend trips, I am not flying this time so having just finished my Friday dialysis session I am having a sandwich in a hospital café for lunch. I am travelling to Brussels, in Belgium, on the Eurostar train through the Channel Tunnel. All morning people have been warning me of chaos this weekend on Eurostar but the problem is actually with the Eurotunnel which is the vehicle carrying service. From the hospital I crossed over the road to get a bus in to Wrecsam bus station where I got another bus to Chester railway station. I then caught a Virgin West Coast train to London Euston. Continue reading “A Weekend in Brussels”
On Friday 27 July 2018, after several years of thinking about it, I finally travelled on Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel. I travelled on the 17:31 departure to Amsterdam but only as far as Brussels. I arrived in London Euston station on a Virgin West Coast departure from Chester and as it was a warm sunny day (st)rolled the short distance along the Euston Road to St Pancras. On arrival at St Pancras the signage for wheelchair access could have been a lot better, I had to ask some people for directions. Continue reading “Eurostar”
Hotel Mercure Brussels Centre Midi Boulevard Jamar 25 29 1060 Brussels BELGIUM
Tel: (+32)2/5281890 Fax: (+32)2/5281891
The Mercure Brussels Centre Midi is a 4**** hotel and part of the Accor Hotels group, it is located about 450 metres from the Brussels Midi/Zuid station for the Eurostar services. There are metro and tram stops nearby but they are not wheelchair friendly. The hotel has a bar that opens Monday to Friday but not at weekends or Bank Holidays. It has a breakfast room but no restaurant though there are places to eat nearby. Continue reading “Hotel Mercure Brussels Centre Midi”