Is there an elevator up here I don’t know about?

Written by Lynda

The year was 2000, the month was October, the location was Greece, the historic site … the Acropolis. Yes, you read that right… the Acropolis! We had just climbed to the top of the world… at least the heavens as known to Greece in olden times. We drew in the rarified air of Athena and the other gods and goddesses while surveying the vista of Athens and beyond. While we gazed at the archeological ruins in awe, an American tourist came up and posed the question, “Is there an elevator up here I don’t know about?” Needless to say, we rolled our eyes!

I wish there was an elevator!

I had come prepared to stay below… more than one book in my knapsack to pass the time while my sister, brother-in-law and niece explored the ancient buildings in the sky. My brother-in-law and sister however, insisted they were in good enough shape to get me and the chair to the top. Who was I to argue? I couldn’t lie, I really did want to go up to the sky, take in the vista, and imagine as it was populated five centuries ago.

If we were standing in the same spot today and that tourist asked the same question, I would be able to say, “Yes.” As part of their commitment to the 2004 Olympics, there is now an elevator that one can use to ascend to the heights of the Parthenon.

We made it!

If Greece is your destination (I highly recommend it for its climate beauty, diversity, and heritage /archeological sites). We were there for about a month in the fall and spent time on Corfu, Crete, and Nafplion, Athens, and other cities. At that time accessibility was iffy… I definitely needed able-bodied assistance and I suspect it is still so today, but accessibility was to improve with the advent of the Olympics in 2004. With the discussions available now on the internet, you will have a much more information with which to plan your trip than we did.

Here are a number of web sites to start you on your way.

http://gogreece.about.com/od/disabledtravel/a/greekaccess.htm

http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.forums.1056

http://www.amel.gr/index.php?id=327&L=1

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Short Excursion

Harrison Hot Springs excursion

Written by Monica

Last summer I did a few short excursions. Life (and money) sometimes gets in the way of traveling great distances. Sometimes we just do not have the money or the time to pack our bags and drag ourselves to the airport only to stand or sit in line for hours at a time. Yet, we still feel the need to go away even if it is for a short period of time. Last year I changed jobs, so I did not feel comfortable asking for two  weeks off. I ended up going away for several weekends. Once I traveled with my mom, an attendant and I to my Aunts house to Kelowna, BC. We had a lovely time chatting along the way of our five-hour drive.

 Another time, I traveled to Vancouver Island to meet a friend that I had not seen for several months. On the way over on a ferry from the mainland to the island I found a coupon which saved me 10%! It’s better than nothing I always say! (Hint – always check local news papers for deals or discounts on hotels, motels etc. also some web sites have discounts). I had a nice time going down the various streets checking out shops along the promenade. The promenade also showcased artists with their art for sale.

After Vancouver Island, I enjoyed several weekend get aways with my mom in Harrison Hot Springs. I have a trailer that has a ramp, so I can get into the 30 foot trailer. It is a little tricky with two wheelchairs but we manage by taking turns going down the hallway leading to the bathroom or bedroom. We take someone with us because we can not do it alone.

The trailer has all the modern conveniences such as microwave, stove, fridge, TV, DVD player, CD player and we each have a cell phone. The trailer sits on a plot of land that has a fence around it and on the inside of the fence we have a garden with flowering bushes and plants. We stroll down the windy roads to other trailers. The trailer park also has social nights for those that want to participate can by attending pasta night, bingo night, and a dance night. As dusk turns into night most people have little colourful lights that glow in the dark hanging on their fences. Our lights are amber and we have it set on a timer. Summer time goes so fast and before you know it, its fall and then the park closes down for the winter season.

My mom and I had a great time last summer. My little mini-vacation was not as long nor as expensive, but we still had lots of fun and lovely memories. So if you’re strapped for cash, time, remember you can still go away and visit a friend or a relative. Make sure and ask the attendant or friend if he/she enjoys traveling on weekends and explain what exactly is involved. Let him/her know what your needs are such as personal care, feeding, cooking etc. And if you are traveling to a friend or relatives home make sure and let the person know you are bringing someone with you. Finally, be sure and bring a little thank you gift such as a bottle of wine or maybe some homemade jam. The people you visit will appreciate it and will most likely invite you back again! Enjoy Traveling!