My next adventure: Istanbul/Eskişehir (Türkiye) – April 2024

Nath

Day 5 (Sousse) – Return to Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport

One was becoming to the soothing sound of the call to prayer at 5:30am each morning, however it was time to return to the UK today via Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport. The country’s motorway network makes traversing Tunisia’s major cities (and said airport) pretty easy hence if your taxi driver is struggling to navigate to Enfidha, simply tell them to head out to the motorway, you can’t go wrong from then on!

As expected, security outside and inside the airport is very tight akin to the rest of the country (police checkpoints are plenty around Tunisia), however, there is a positive aurora about the majority in terms of feeling safe.

After saying our farewells to Lotus Royal Move, we headed into the rather small terminal not knowing what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised by how knowledgeable the check in staff were in regards to electric wheelchairs making for a smooth process. Akin to Oslo and Yerevan, only manual wheelchairs are allowed airside, however this time we were given written confirmation that Superbunny had been loaded onto the plane. The only thing to watch out for is that battery chargers are considered to be a security risk hence you need to collect it before you board.

My next adventure takes me to Istanbul in Türkiye on the 8th April. You may be thinking how have I not travelled to said country in my 31 years of existence of being a British citizen (if you are confused by this, Türkiye is one of THE destinations for British tourists), the answer is unknown. Whilst one is in Istanbul, the plan is to catch the YHT high-speed railway to Eskişehir plus a boat cruise around the Bosphorus Strait. Of course, the hotel is conveniently located near a public transportation hub.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the YouTube channel for a wheelchairs (Superbunnys) perspective of rolling around the Sousse Ribat and Souk plus El Jem (using a portable ramp).

Day 4 (Monastir) – The Famous Ribat and Mausoleum

Before visiting Tunisia, one had no idea about the significance and fame of Monastir which is just a 30-40 minute drive from Sousse. As I mentioned yesterday, one decided to catch a conventional taxi to save on costs etc, our driver even waited around for 3 hours to guarantee that we had a return taxi.

First off was the Ribat which is famous for two reasons; it is the oldest Ribat built by the Arabs and, more recently, the filmset for Monty Pythons ‘Life of Brian’.

Of course, this Ribat is much larger than it’s counterpart in Sousse hence it’s accessibility is a little better with ramps scattered around the place…

Even though there are ramps around, one can only access the lower level with a wheelchair with the exception of a VERY steep ramp up to an observation point, however the views from said spot were quite spectacular…

The perimeters of the Ribat also offers panoramic views of the Marina albeit a little bumpy under wheels…

The next stop was the Mausoleum and the resting place of the former president, Habib Bourguiba, the structure of which is rather imposing…

As the area is relatively new in comparison to its surroundings, ramps are located in the appropriate places, however, the gradient can be questionable (as shown in the above photograph). The other thing to consider is the entrance path is rather small followed by a tight gate into the structure.

Tomorrow we head back to Bristol via Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport. EasyJet have informed us that the check in process is slightly different in Tunisia so this could be a little interesting with Superbunny…

Day 3 (Tunisia) – El Jem Amphitheatre

The El Jem Amphitheatre has been on ones bucket list since first researching Tunisia. There are two ways of travelling to said place from Sousse; you can either catch the train which is in no way accessible to an electric wheelchair (and a little unreliable so I have been told) or by road. Now, if you have been reading ones blog for a number of years, you will have become accustom to my fascination with trains hence it may surprise you that I went with the latter mode of transport. Granted that one could have easily caught the train in the manual wheelchair, however I wished to prove that anyone in an electric wheelchair can visit El Jem with a little assistance.

As I mentioned previously, Lotus Royal Move are providing us with accessible transportation to and from the airport. During our email exchanges, I enquired whether it would be possible for them to transport us to El Jem for the day (which it was) and if it would be OK to source a portable ramp as the Amphitheatre contains a large amount of steps! The culmination of all this ended with a day trip to El Jem with said accessible van, driver and a portable ramp.

The portable ramp method of accessing the Amphitheatre could have gone one of two ways as I don’t believe that it had been attempted previously, especially with an electric wheelchair but it WORKED like a dream (quite proud of oneself now!)…

Of course, it is impossible to access the upper levels of the structure without a proper lift, however one could still access a large proportion of the site…

The added bonus of having a portable ramp to hand (carried by our kind driver!) was that one could dive into any restaurant with Superbunny to avoid the looming downpour!

Tomorrow afternoon, we plan to catch a conventional taxi (leaving Superbunny in the hotel room) to Monastir which is home to the oldest Ribat built by the Arabs and also the former filmset of Monty Python’s, Life of Brian!

Day 2 (Sousse) – Medinas and Ribats

Sousse is a very walkable city with all the main sights being within a 10 minute radius of each other thus making for a pleasant stroll/roll for a few hours. As I mentioned, the Marriott Pearl hotel is located around a 20 minute walk from the centre with the best route taking one along the beach front…

Akin to Cyprus (again!), the front consists of a wide boulevard linked with palm trees, it even has signs indicating where best for wheelchairs to enter said beach (along with a disabled parking space opposite sandy ramps)…

Anyway, after turning the corner (and navigating through few issues with drop curbs!), one is confronted by the majestic walls of Sousse Medina and Ribat…

There are various entrances into the Medina and subsequent Souk, some cobbled and some paved. One decided to enter over the cobbles just for a little authenticity…

However, you are bound to find a paved (and very busy!) section at some point…

The only issue with the Sousse Medina and Souk is that steps could be lurking around any corner in the labyrinth and you have no idea until you reach them, memory is key!

The next stop was the Ribat which is located within the same area. My prior ‘vlog’ research informed me that only the bottom section is accessible after a little step. It is worth noting, however, that disabled individuals can enter for FREE (oh and you can only pay with cash)…

Wandering around Sousse, it appears that Tunisians have a habit of parking on drop curbs, rather annoying for wheelchair users but on the whole, very friendly people!

Tomorrow, we heed out of Sousse with Lotus Royal Move to visit El Jem which is the third largest Colosseum in the world after Rome and the now collapsed Capua. As the access isn’t great at the UNESCO site, one asked Lotus for a portable ramp to assist Superbunny. As I am unsure whether this method has been tried before, this could go one of two ways, let’s see…

Day 1 (Sousse) – Enfidha-Hammamet Airport

It is hard to fathom that one has visited more than 35 countries (at the time of writing) but yet to step foot on the African continent. This changed today when we touched down at Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport in Tunisia. Enfidha-Hammamet is a relatively new airport sandwiched between Hammamet and Sousse and was constructed mostly to allow European airlines to bring tourists closer to the plethora of holiday resorts (plus allowing one to fly direct from Bristol).

Although the airport regulations means that no wheelchairs are allowed to the plane door (bar their own), the speed at which Superbunny was transported to the baggage area was exceptional, it took longer to navigate the tangled road network out of said place!

Akin to Cyprus, one was surprised by the lack of information regarding accessibility when researching Tunisia given it’s tourism status. I was therefore mostly reliant on trusty Street View and conventional travel vlogs to suss out the lay of the land. It was also a challenge trying to source wheelchair accessible transportation which was also surprising, however, one soon came across Lotus Royal Move. Despite being based in the capital, Tunis, Lotus Royal Move are willing to transport wheelchair users across Tunisia for a reasonable cost. At the time of writing, they are also in the process of creating accessible tourism packages.

For the next 4 nights, we are staying at the Sousse Pearl Marriott Resort which is to the north of the city centre and around 45 minutes from Enfidha-Hammamet Airport . The rooms are pretty standard for a Marriott, although the bathroom is on the small side. On the positive side, look at all this space…

The plan for tomorrow is to head into the centre (which is around a 20 minute walk) to explore the Souk, Medina and the ‘accessible’ parts of the Ribat (what would I do without vlogs!). Earlier this year, one invested in a GoPro to bring a new perspective to my travels, the real test for this begins tomorrow!

Day 5 (Limassol) – The Larnaca Airport Experience (Part 2) + Where Next

One of the good things about these ‘touristy’ countries (as opposed to places such as Armenia) is that the infrastructure that they do have i.e. airports and accessible taxis are well used making for a smooth journey.

We booked our return taxi with Johns Cyprus Taxis once again and within a hour, we had arrived at Larnaca International Airport. As per Bristol, said airport has a dedicated special assistance service who guides you through check in (and translates if necessary) hence all that is required is for one to go through security and head to the gate to await the Ambulift.

Ones trip to Cyprus concludes the 2023 travels and you are now most likely wondering where 2024 will take me? As I mentioned previously, over the past two years, I have rolled around a large portion of Europe whilst the world has become accustom to COVID hence it seems the right time to venture further. In February, one is heading to the tourist city of Sousse in Tunisia with a day trip to El Jem (either via an accessible taxi or a non-accessible train depending if one wishes to take Superbunny for the day) followed by 5 days in Malta once again in May.

I mentioned previously that the next few years are shaping up to be a great time to travel as a wheelchair user, particularly in Asia where major infrastructure projects are being completed whether that be accessible metros in countries that don’t have access to accessible taxis or simply the importation of fully accessible vehicles. The world is definitely opening up (just need to source some portable ramps in said countries now and we will be sorted!)…

Day 4 (Cyprus) – Troodos Mountain Drive and Omodos Accessibility

Today we finally exited the city of Limassol and took a trip around the Troodos Mountains and the village of Omodus. As I mentioned previously, we were struggling to find a semi accessible way out of the city at a relatively low cost hence we decided to hire a car for the day from Enterprise. At least we were upgraded from a Nissan Note to a Kia Sportage which served it’s purpose well…

Last night, we tried out the Bolt app (equivalent to Uber) to order a taxi as we found a bar a little way out of the centre with good reviews (really not that great in reality!) which worked perfectly. However when we attempted to order a taxi to the Enterprise place which is a few miles from the hotel, every driver declined our request…wouldn’t get that in Yerevan would you?

After the hotel successfully booked a taxi, we picked up the keys and headed to the cooler climates of the Troodos Mountains. Our first stop was the village of Omodos which is one of these touristy places that people visit when in the Mountains…

On first glance, it seems like a quaint Cypriot village, that is until you drive down to the FREE car park (with disabled spaces and toilets) and see the hoards of coaches and tourists. One decided to pick the day when a cruise ship (comprising of mostly British) docked in Limassol, you could have almost imagined that you were visiting an English village bar the weather!

Accessibility wise, it’s relatively smooth until you reach the centre (where the shops and restaurants are) within which harsh cobbles have been laid, one thought that Riga was bad! Nonetheless we ploughed on and soon discovered a number of stray cats roaming the place hence one was able to dine outside (with said cats).

We then set ourselves a challenge to see how far we could drive up Mount Olympus (not the mythological one…that is in Greece) which we managed to do quite successfully until we reached barbed wire which we later discovered is due to the British owning the summit..

There are various lookout points along the very winding roads where you can pull up and admire the picturesque views…

Tomorrow we head back to Bristol via Lanarca airport for the final time for 2023. You can safely say that one has explored a VERY large proportion of Europe within the past two years…think it’s time to go further afield?

Day 3 (Limassol) – Lack of Public Transportation and The Paradox Museum

Well the answer to that cliff hanger was neither! I think that one has relied too much on public transportation systems on previous travels whether that be metro, train, bus or taxi hence becoming a stumbling block when these are almost non existent.

We began by asking the hotel to book us a taxi to a popular village in the Troodos Mountains for which reception gave us a look that said that it’s not possible, we then tried to book through the Cypriot version of Uber which only showed 5 taxis within a 10 mile radius, bearing in mind that we are in the middle of a bustling city let alone in the Mountains. There are buses from Limassol into the Mountains, however these are conventional coaches which are difficult enough in a manual wheelchair. Plan B was to visit the ancient city of Kourion via the Hop On, Hop Off bus until we discovered that it has been recently suspended leaving us with limited options. The other plan was to catch a boat from the Marina…could we find one! Anyway, we have decided to hire a conventional car for tomorrow (luckily one of us brought a driving license) as it seems that it will be the only semi accessible way to get out of this city and into the Mountains!

Back to today, after a wander around the Marina trying to search for a boat, one decided to stop off at TGIs to make an alternate plan. Now, a member of staff was outside with a pigeon practically stroking it hence I’m guessing that they have an odd relationship but as soon as the individual came back inside, said bird followed…we ended up in McDonald’s! The pigeon is now following one around the city presumably because of the loss of earnings from me exiting the restaurant rather quickly…one is touched by the follower?

One of the main tourist attractions in Limassol is The Paradox Museum which is full of optical illusions i.e. upside down rooms. Disabled individuals gain FREE admission and the majority of exhibits are wheelchair accessible…

For those that aren’t, you may be able to make it work…

It’s a perfect way to spend an hour or two on a hot afternoon…

As I mentioned, we have rented a car (from good old Enterprise) with the aim of driving around the Troodos Mountains (finally!) and explore a few villages…

Day 2 (Limassol) – Castles and Churches

Limassol is a very walkable city and all the main sights within the boundaries are within a 20 minute radius. In addition to the existence of drop kerbs in appropriate places, the centre is laid with a smooth surface which is perfect for rolling around…

Another thing that I noted was the number of stray cats within the centre meaning that pigeons dare not to land…good news for me! Anyway, one of the sights is the Limassol Castle which dates back to 1590. Although one didn’t venture into the museum (which I believe is up a few steps, however there must be an accessible entrance I am sure), we did a lap around the outside, it’s a little more bumpy but still enjoyable…

It was then onto the Marina, not before passing some picturesque churches (via car parks)…

The Marina has recently been redeveloped with shops and restaurants lining the waterfront, the best bit though is that the same smooth surface has been laid here also…

Along the Marina and the promenade, there are various piers and boardwalks, however it is questionable how safe these structures actually are…

The plan for tomorrow is a little unknown at present, we either catch a taxi up to the slightly cooler temperatures of the Troodos mountains (and Superbunny stays at the hotel) or visit the ancient city of Kourion…decisions decisions!

Day 1 (Limassol) – The Larnaca Airport Experience

I swear that the more one flies to destinations, the quicker it feels! Anyway, to round off this years travels, I decided to head back down to the Mediterranean and explore Cyprus, in particular, the cosmopolitan city of Limassol.

As the city is located between Larnaca and Paphos, one had a choice of airports. I chose Larnaca as it is the islands biggest airport meaning less chance for Superbunny to be mishandled by the baggage handlers. After a 4 hour flight from old Bristol, we touched down at said airport where we were almost immediately greeted by the ambulift (partly due to the airport wishing to turnaround the plane before a thunderstorm rolled in), however they insisted on taking Superbunny with the rest of the luggage for us to collect inside the terminal. Instead of wheeling it into the terminal, said baggage handlers decided to haul the 105kg chair onto a trolley which they wheeled out and then simply walked off leaving us to get the thing ourselves…memories of Riga, don’t you think?

As the intercity transportation in Cyprus isn’t really geared up to accommodate electric wheelchairs, one booked an accessible taxi to the hotel courtesy of Johns Cyprus Taxis.

We are staying at the NYX Hotel in Limassol which is a stones throw (well a dual carriageway) away from the promenade and the Mediterranean. Although the room isn’t exactly accessible and makes one have vertigo with its swanky design, it does have a rooftop bar and pool overlooking the Mediterranean and the ever increasing skyline…

Tomorrow is about being a tourist and checking out the main sights of Limmasol…

Scroll to top