I have just come back from a wonderful holiday in Germany. I went on a driving tour with two people I met when travelling last year. These new friends understood I use a scooter so made sure our daily trips were to places I could access. We went to some castles and churches. My new friends even booked the most accessible hotel room of our trip. For the first time, I had a height adjustable clothes hanger. Their hospitality and thoughtfulness was wonderful. I hope I can one day be as generous to them.
Posted by: Maureen Corrigan, on 30/07/12
I have just returned from an amazing trip in Germany. Two people I met last year on a holiday took my travelling companion and me on a driving tour around the southern state of Bavaria. They not only showed us around, but they had thought of and researched my accessibility requirements without me knowing.
Our friends met us in the city of Munich. They quickly loaded my electric scooter into their car boot and knew it would fit because they had checked its dimensions on the internet. For eight days, we travelled in Bavaria, between Mittenwald in the east and Lake Constance in the west. There was much to see.
Castles with paths
The 19th century famous Neuschwanstein Castle is high on a mountainside but was easier to get to than I thought. The choices to go up the mountainside were by bus, horse carriage or pathway. We joined a small group tour on a bus. I am not sure how it was organised, but our friends spoke German with the driver, scored us all seats and had my scooter lifted on by the tour guide.
The inside of Neuschwanstein Castle is not accessible. Knowing this our friends took us on outside accessible paths. The first stop was Mary's Bridge. The scene from there was a postcard view. Although it's a steep climb up the mountain by bus, we walked and scootered easily around the castle and back down the mountain.
Churches and hotels
We visited some elaborately decorated churches. Some were within monasteries such as Ettal Abbey, with its basilica rebuilt in baroque style. This grand style, created to impress, also had impressive barrier-free access into the church. All the churches we visited had accessible ramps but the ramp at Ettal Abbey blended in beautifully with the 600-year-old surroundings. A notice inside explained the special project to give everyone access.
I booked all accommodation on the internet before leaving and made sure it was accessible. However our friends did book a place for us to stay in one particular small village. When we arrived at the village hotel, there was an external electric lifter beside the entry steps and an elevator to the floor. The bedroom and bathroom were fully accessible and included my first height adjustable clothes hanger.
Walks and cafes
I love walks, and our friends found a walk in a forest around a lake on an accessible path. A picnic lunch suddenly appeared when we rested. At the end of the walk, going back to the car there was an accessible toilet.
We also went on walks along city walls and areas of towns hundreds of years old. Sometimes the ramps were not easy to locate but one of our friends went ahead to scout for them. Even the cafes they chose were all accessible.
Our friends planned the routes for our daily trips. It was a wonderful holiday with two delightful and very thoughtful new friends. I hope I can reciprocate in some way one day.
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