BARCELONA 2017 – thoughts from my stint in the Catalan capital

Having arrived back from Barcelona for a week now I am keen to reflect on my overall impression of the trip.

Thanks to the rigorous planning I did, assisted by the agency Limitless Travel, I was able to see most of the sights the city has to offer throughout my week’s stay with my two carers.

Primarily, I took the decision to travel to Barcelona because of the impressive words I had heard (from other disabled travellers) about its accessibility following the city’s regeneration for the 1992 Olympic games.

And right from the first full day when doing the walking tour of the city’s Gothic Quarter, I was impressed by the ease at which I could travel around in my wheelchair.

Even though I was in the oldest part of Barcelona and some of the ground was unsurprisingly bumpy, with the help of a few ramps, I could still get inside many buildings and see some of the structures that had remained in place for years.

With the developments that have taken place to enlarge the city over the last few hundreds of years, it is a sizeable place to get around.

But with most of the public transport system accessible for all including; taxis, buses and the metro, I didn’t have to take too many detours to get to my destinations.

If you start to pack too many activities into one day that’s when it can become difficult which I experienced on one occasion.

Having been to see Antoni Gaudí’s iconic piece of architecture, La Sagrada Família (still yet to be completed), in the evening I had the thirst to see more of his famous work in Park Park Guëll.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t as near as I thought from the bus stop though and with all the driving I had done earlier in the day my wheelchair didn’t have enough battery to cope with the steepness of this particular area.

I had to accept that if you’re only going for a week it’s impossible to see all of the attractions.

At least, because of the efforts to make the sights as inclusive as possible, I wasn’t missing out on the places I did go to see.

The Montjuïc Cable Car was fully adapted to give any visitor a full view of the city and despite the stadium tour being inaccessible Camp Nou (Europe’s largest football stadium) did make sure they had a disabled friendly viewing platform.

Ultimately, it’s dependent on what you want from your stay but if you want to explore most of the city like I did, then it makes sense to plan some activities in different areas before you arrive.

Obviously, though I couldn’t be meticulous about everything and trusting I was in good hands with the staff from the MICs Sant Jordi hotel and taxi driver e t c. upon arrival was just as important.

I must say the agency, with the connections they had, did a sound job in making sure my stay in the hotel and journeys to and from the airport were as comfortable as possible.

For a disabled traveller in my circumstances ,when going to a foreign country for the first time by themselves, it is definitely worth considering using a company like Limitless Travel, who specialise in providing or customising disabled friendly holidays.

Of course, as they’re a business there is a cost, but when I think about how smooth the trip went with their recommendations and advice, I feel it was worth the expense.

Apart from the airport staff, Artur the taxi driver was the first Spaniard I spoke to and the fact he was so welcoming and pleasant from the off meant I was able to relax and enjoy my first evening.

He even recommended the Barcelonian beer – Voll-Damm- that was to become our go-to drink for the rest of the trip!

The hotel staff, who offered directions every day, were equally as important in helping us to explore the city and its culture.

But we didn’t just find out about Barcelona through locals like these though.

Through wondering around the streets near the hotel we found the perfect Spanish Tapas Bar ‘Vívelo Fleming’ I was looking for on the first night serving all the traditional meat and bread dishes.

Albeit, the restaraunt was originally a last resort because of the lack of an English menu.

However, once inside after making a few educated guesses and with the linguistic help of a waiter our stomachs were eventually satisfied.

Anyway when going to another country if you start to feel too comfortable you’re probably not immersing yourself into their culture enough.

Forgetting the Spanish phrase book on several occasions was probably a blessing in disguise.

Although this trip has given me the confidence to arrange my next holiday by myself, with the vast number of recommendations Limitless Travel gave no doubt their services will come in handy again.

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