So I’m writing about two days in this post as we arrived in Vienna at half 11 last night! We left our hotel in Geneva at 11am planning to get a bus to the train station. However when it arrived my PAs tried to signal to the driver that I required the ramp but the driver decided to drive off instead, meaning we had to wait for the next bus. We still made it in plenty of time, luckily. The buses in Geneva are just like the ones around Bristol, where the ramps fold down from the the door.
The train to the Zurich where we had to change in order to get to Vienna left around 11:45 and we went up to the platform in order to ensure that the assistance was there. Interestingly, the assistance arrived half an hour before the train arrived, it was a bit awkward because they could talk little English, soon enough the train arrived, a magnificent train. Somehow we were put in the wrong carriage so I spent the journey in the door way. I’m very used to this when I go on trains frequently in the UK, so it was like being back at home. Although the train is low floored, there didn’t seem to be anyway kind of ramp bridging the gap between the train and platform edge which is quite a wide one.
Super bunny manged to get across the gap with a little help from my PAs, however if I was on my own I would of probably of died. We had a 12 minute stop over at Zurich train station, giving my PAs plenty of time to find the next platform. The train from Zurich to Vienna had a very modern, fancy self deploying ramp which puts the British trains to shame.
The 8 hour train journey took us through spectacular scenary as we travelled through Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria. By 11pm, I think we had all had enough and just wanted to get off the train as we approached Vienna. We checked in to our hotel which was minutes from the train station with no problems, other than my disabled room as requested is just a standard room.
Today was a day of more trains as we travelled the U-bahn network. We all had a lay in from the late night so we missed breakfast but instead we stopped around the corner in a rather healthy little cafe. From there, we worked a strategy on how to get to a skyscraper the other side of Vienna, which we then discovered another tower which you could go to the top and view its surroundings from its viewing platform.
As we were unsure about the accessibility of the metro, we decided to take my manual wheelchair. The U-bahn however, is wheelchair friendly with its ramps and lifts at every station that we stopped at. The majority of trains seem to be quite new so they are low floored and have ramps coming out automatically when they have stopped in order to bridge the gap. A few of the old trains had steps but I think that you could probably wait for an accessable one to arrive if you couldn’t get on.
We found the sky scraper standing proud in the middle of a park an lucky for me I only to paid for 1 PA, which was around €7. The view from the top was magnificent…
Oh and I forgot to mention that one of the lifts was out of order when we arrived at the metro stop, faced with 60 or so steps two kind Austrian men assisted my PAs in getting me to the bottom.
After looking visiting the skyscraper it was back off to the U-bahn to visit the town hall, where we stumbled across Viennas film festival, which was exciting.
Our final stop of the day was to visit the delightful stadium that hosted the Eurovision this year (I love Eurovision as you can tell by me coming all the way to Vienna in order to see a stadium). As I travel around Europe, I’m always amazed that even now some people think they can ‘cure me’ of my disability. This time it was an elderly lady who claimed to be studying my disability and its treatment through electrolysis, oh and potassium tablets, basically trying to finish me off. My PA asked how long it would take for me to spring out of my chair.
Tomorow, we plan to take a sight seeing bus around the historic centre before we attempt to collect our train tickets to Budapest.
See you tomorrow