If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring the Tuscany region of Italy, read about Wendy Crawford’s trip there – the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Getting to Tuscany
Wendy had always wanted to travel to Tuscany. “I happen to come across a villa that looked as though it was wheelchair accessible,” she writes. “And the planning started from there.” Wendy traveled with four other people, including her husband. Her first challenge was facing long flights including a layover.
“We made certain that we had seats in a row on the plane where the armrest raised up so I could lie across my husband and friend’s laps to get a break from sitting. It was fairly comfortable, surprisingly for me, but probably not for them!”
During the layover in Frankfurt, Germany, Wendy discovered a couple accessible options. One was a bus that she was able to wheel onto from the plane that took her to a waiting area with an accessible bathroom located in the airport. The other was a room at the airport with beds where she was able to lie down for pressure relief before boarding the next plane.
Upon arriving at her destination, Wendy remarks, “The apartment was absolutely beautiful and fairly accessible,” though she makes an important note about the bed: “The beds are really low in Italy. It may make it easy for some if you transfer yourself, but was hard on everyone helping me to get dressed, etc.”
Overcoming inaccessibility to explore
After getting settled in, it was time to explore the surroundings. Wendy shares a tip that helped her enjoy the Italian sights: “This ancient city is made up of cobblestone streets that are extremely bumpy and can be a challenge for any wheelchair user. The only thing that saved me was a device called the FreeWheel which attaches to your foot rest and lifts your front two castors off the ground, making the ride much smoother and easier to push. You can even push over curbs fairly easily. There’s no way that I would’ve survived the trip without it, so it’s well worth the investment!”
Wendy was even able to secure an accessible van for her trip, even though it arrived a few hours later than planned. The vehicle was equipped with a lift and was able to seat all the people in her travel party.
Wendy’s Tuscan vacation was surely an adventure filled with both obstacles (inaccessible areas and steep streets making wheeling a challenge) and delights (accessible ruins and some very helpful strangers – including a house call by a local doctor!). Despite some unplanned issues, Wendy’s positive outlook and flexibility helped make this vacation a memorable one.
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