I can fly!
With my excitement of calling myself a traveller after visiting Malaga and Colorado, I feel confident I can go anywhere at any time. And as a wheelchair user! But with some planning and preparation – the key point to be able to travel with confidence with a spinal cord injury. Making sure I have got enough caths? Have I packed all my meds? Is the accommodation really accessible? Or have they had a wheelchair user stay who can take a couple of steps to get in and around the accommodation? And because of this, the owners think, it gives the all-clear to call themselves ‘accessible’.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
Trying to decide where to go on our honeymoon, and after much discussion, we finally agreed on Canada. My wife has a lot of travelling experience, and trying to find a country she hadn’t been to was quite challenging. Canada ticked many boxes, a fairly new country with relatively modern buildings – fewer challenges of finding accessible accommodation. Public transport should be OK. There is lots to see and do and a country my wife is yet to spend more than 24 hours in.
A comfortable flight
After a pleasant flight in Business Class, we arrived in Toronto – thanks to my Brother-in-Law, who blagged that. He asked without us knowing at the busy check-in desk if there was any free space upfront. After retrieving our bags from the crowded baggage claim, we used a taxi to our hotel to start our adventure.
Can you fault city breaks?
I like City breaks, and they work well for me. My effective pushing technique lets me travel at a steady pace alongside my wife in these concrete jungles. The way I push my wheelchair saves me energy, enabling me to go further for longer. I can negotiate kerbs well and have confidence getting over potholes – not that there are many in this modern city! After a couple of days investigating Toronto and a swanky meal looking over the cityscape in the Toronto Tower, we boarded a train to Niagara. WOW, this train is a double-decker train, but I am sitting downstairs, which is fine.
That was a big train
The train pulled into Niagara, and we disembarked, heading straight for the hotel. After we’ve checked in, found our room and dumped our bags, we exit quickly to see the sights. I did hear someone once say they thought Niagara was like South End, the Essex seaside town, and I can believe this. It is a bit tacky but has the usual grandness of a Northern American City, big advertising billboards, skyscrapers and wide roads that cater for big cars.
We took a trip to the Maid of the Mist. This is a tourist boat trip at the bottom of Horseshoe Falls. Luckily. The crew supplied us with some disposable ponchos, which we needed as the boat got pretty close to the thunderous wall of falling water. Jumping the queue to embark is a handy perk of being a wheelchair user. Although I would have been happy to wait like everyone else, it was a long queue….
Across to the West
Leaving Niagara behind, we train it back to Toronto to catch a flight to Vancouver on the West coast. This City is again fairly new in comparison to the Cities in the UK. The only challenge for me is the camber on the path when pushing along. This is dealt with easily using a pushing technique, I know.
Chilling out, taking in the sights. We visit Stanley Park, and I get pooped on by a bird when we walked underneath Lions Gate Bridge around the park’s edge. We whittled away the time by watching the cruise ship disappear from the harbour and enter the vastness of the North Pacific Ocean on their journey to tour part of the Arctic.
Last stop Grouse Mountain
Using the cable car, we visit Grouse Mountain and watch a Lumberjacks show, and when our time in this city ends, we board the Rocky Mountaineer Train for a two-day journey across the mountainous landscape of Canada…….