The Resort

The resort was definitely mobility friendly. I found it fairly easy walking around. If you use aids or any type of chair then the mostly flat surface is quite suitable. There are a few slightly hilly parts but you don’t have to go that way or use them. Access to the beach was very easy, it was completely flat. No steps and no need for any sort of ramp. Along the streets there were plenty of benches so lots of opportunities to sit when needed.

Dotted about where a few bus stops but I never used any of the buses so can’t comment on them. On the main street which was not far from anything, there was a taxi rank. Again I didn’t use them so can’t comment on their service.

Everything was close by, within managable walking distance. Due to the time of year there was only a limited number of places open but enough to go somewhere different each night. Also there was a choice of quiet or a little more busy if you wanted it.

 

The Hotel.

We definitely hit the jackpot with this place. One of the best choices we have ever made regarding accessibility and location. It was far enough from any noise of the bars but close enough to walk to everything. There were a few supermarkets around the corner and a cafe on the ground floor of the block. It was also across the road from escalators that made it incredibly easy to get to more cafes up the mountain side. But by far the best part was that it was literally on the beach.

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The apartments themselves had lifts to all floors. I have never had this before and it was a very welcomed change. I found it so much easier to cope without any steps at all. The room itself was quite large and spacious with bunk beds and two single beds, which were very comfortable with extra bedding and pillows if needed. I had no need to squish my own pillow in my case. The kitchenette was pretty much a fully equipped kitchen, however we didn’t use it much as I was able to get out to eat lunch and dinner but would of been great if we needed to stay in more.

The bathroom had a full bath with fixed shower attachment, great pressure and lots of hot water. Also there was a heater which it got lovely and warm, perfect for the time of year and for me in general as I feel the cold very easily.

The balcony had a fantastic view of the beach and the sea. It was spacious with a table and chairs and had easy access with a sliding door.

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Getting To The Hotel

So we opted for a private transfer booked via Hoppa. I have used this company quite  few times so I know they are reliable. The company that they have in Portugal are of a super high standard. We were greeted by a friendly young man with a clip board, who then alerted our driver that we had arrived. Our driver then turned up in a full suit and tie ! Again very friendly and helpful, greeted us with a smile and a handshake. He also took our bags, loaded and unloaded them. The car was clean and comfortable and the journey only took 30 minutes. On return to the airport the driver was already waiting for us and again smartly dressed in a full suit and tie. He was also very friendly and helpful, loading and unloading our bags.

My First Taste of Portugal

So I have just returned from a few days in Portugal. Having never been before I had a few concerns especially this time of year. Over the next few posts I will write about different aspects of my trip and of course include some photos.

First things first is the airport. We flew into Faro in the south of Portugal. On first impressions I was quite pleased. It was really easy to get about, very well sign posted. There were lots of stairs up and down but there were also escalators along side them. There were also lifts if needed. I didn’t use the assistance team myself, however I did take note for you guys and if I ever need them in the future. They seem to be rather good. They seemed to stay with the person through out their time in the airport, taking them to wherever they wanted to go including restaurants. Speaking of restaurants and places to eat, there was certainly plenty of choice all be it a little expensive even for airport prices.  One last thing I was extremely pleased with was the jet bridge from the terminal to the plane. I have never seen this in Greece and it was certainly most welcome to have instead of those stair cases. However it did only appear to be available to those boarding at the front of the plane so it would be a good idea to plan ahead a book seats in the front section.

Are You Covered ?

We all know that travel insurance is a MUST when going on trips but it is even more important if you have a ‘pre-existing condition’.

So many people don’t bother or only get it just before they travel. I ALWAYS get mine at the same time as booking my trip. “But you’re not going for x amount of months yet?” I hear you say. Well, in the event that I need to cancel my trip then I will be covered. When you have a chronic illness they can be so unpredictable and that is exactly what the insurance is for. Just in case the unpredictable happens. The sooner you get the insurance the sooner your trip is covered!

So when buying travel insurance with a ‘pre-existing condition’, you need to look at all the policies to make sure that you are covered. More often that not this means the costs can go up, but for peace of mind its worth it.  I would rather pay a higher premium than a huge medical bill.

There are lots of travel insurance websites, some that specialise in pre-existing conditions. I find that the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to find the right one for you is through a comparison site.

On another note, also make sure you have a FREE European Health Insurance Card, an EHIC. This entitles you have access to health care at the same rate as the locals. However, it is only available in STATE medical facilities NOT private run. So if treatment is free for a local, then it is free for you. That said don’t use it instead of insurance because it doesn’t cover as much. If you already have one of these cards then also make sure that it is in date.

This post is just a generalisation of my opinions and what I do, if you are looking for more information then I would recommend Martin Lewis’ website MoneySavingExpert.

Trips/Activities

I have touched on day trips and activities in most of my previous posts but I thought that I would do an actual post just focusing on them.

Most of the time I tend not to do any trips or just the odd one. It depends on how I am at the time or on the day. I never pre-book anything just in case the day arrives to do something and I feel that I am not up to it.

For the small trips I have done, I have done it all independently. With organised trips you are tied to time, there is usually lots of walking involved and you have to follow and do whatever the tour guide and the rest of the group wants. This is almost impossible for someone with some type of chronic illness.

Wherever I go, I research the local transport, it is almost always cheaper too. The local buses usually go directly into the little villages and also take the more scenic routes. This is a great way to view the area. Another option is the local taxis. I have found that in Greece anyway, that they are very helpful, friendly and most of all reasonably priced. The drivers can also provide any information from restaurants to bars or anything else that may take your fancy and that is usually off the beaten track.

In many of the old Greek villages, there is no traffic at all, the streets are tiny and narrow with lots of steps. However, they still have donkeys. This could also be an option.

 

My Checklist For Picking A Hotel.

Checklist Part 1 – Location.

  1. Quiet Resort √
  2. Near the beach √
  3. Close to restaurants, bars and shops √
  4. Is there a Doctors/Pharmacy √

Checklist Part 2 – Facilities.

  1. Pool √
  2. Pool Bar √
  3. Onsite Restaurant √
  4. Onsite Shop √
  5. 24 Hour Reception √
  6. Accessable √

Checklist Part 3 – Room/Apartment.

  1. Twin Beds √
  2. Bath/Shower √
  3. kettle √
  4. microwave √
  5. toaster √
  6. Accessable √

In The Airport

Airports can be a hassle and stressful for everyone but when you have a chronic illness it makes it 10x times worse. So hopefully some helpful tips and advice from my experiences.

My first tip is if you can choose a smaller airport and one that is nearest to you as the less you have to travel to the airport the better and a smaller airport means less energy used walking about.

My next tip is go early and take your time. Rushing about will cause unnecessary stress and both mental and physical exertion that you can do without.

Another way is to opt for assistance. I know this makes quite a few of you uncomfortable to ask for help, including myself. One thing I am learning though is to ask for help when I need to without being embarrassed.

If like me you would prefer not to opt for this assistance there are a few ways to limit walking and standing around in queues. Most airlines now you check in online. I always choose this because it means I can also pay and choose my preferred seats as well as not having to queue as long to drop off any bags I have to go in the hold.

Getting through the airport from the bag drop all the way to the gate can be a long tiring trip all on its own. Sometimes there is stairs or long stretches of walking. To help limit this look for moving walk ways, escalators or lifts. Also you can opt for express to get through security quicker and things like priority boarding but both of these are at an extra cost.

Preparing For Your Holiday.

So you have done your research and booked your holiday. The first thing I always do is get insurance. I usually buy it at the same time as booking the holiday. This is important because you are then covered if you have to cancel because lets face it, M.E./CFS flares and relapses can be unpredictable.

Getting ready for any trip there is a lot to do. Make sure you try and get plenty of rest and lots of pacing. You don’t want to use up all your spoons before travelling, you’re going to need them, not only for the journey but also when you get to your destination.

Be organised. If you are anything like me, then brain fog makes everything more complicated. A way I try to help this is making lists. Lots of lists. I make separate lists for clothes, toiletries, food, electronics, medications. Speaking of which make sure you take enough medications to last your trip and then some. There is always a chance of any length delays. Also NEVER put them in the hold, always keep any medication with you in your hand luggage.

One other thing to think about is how you are getting to the airport. (if you’re getting a plane to your holiday destination.) To reserve energy opt for a lift or taxi rather than driving yourself or public transport if you can. This will help to reduce your physical and mental energy output.

 

Where I have stayed on Rhodes.

Over the last few years I’ve been back to rhodes multiple times, staying in various accommodation. Its my own little bit of paradise. A small village resort where everything is fairly close together. It is made up of the main road and the beach road. No matter where you stay you are never far from anything. It certainly seems to suit my needs. However I do feel that its not very wheelchair friendly. The sidewalks are narrow and high. Sometimes its nice to get out of the resort and explore neighbouring villages. Ive always found the transport quite easy to use. Bus stops are at either end of the resort and a taxi rank in the middle at the junction. Or if necessary your hotel can call you one.
One of the good things about returning to the same place is trying all the different accommodations. A great way to find out which one suits your needs the best. Also becoming good friends with the locals means there is help if you need it.

My next trip I stayed at the Coliseum apartments. These are on the main road with a pool bar that serves all meals and snacks and a supermarket opposite. Also a 5 minute walk to the nearest beach. We stayed on the top floor and I struggled with the steps. So now I always try and get a ground floor or first floor apartment. The layout of the complex made it easier for me to get about. The pool was huge with plenty of sun beds and not far to walk to the pool bar. It was all on one level too which also helped.
Next I stayed at the Chrysanthi which is a small family run hotel. Also on the main road but I was never disturbed by any music or noise from any of the bars. We had a lovely little room on the ground floor with a terrace. The pool area was a little small, there wasn’t much space to walk around the sun beds. It could be a bit of a struggle with walking aids.

The next time we stayed at Summer Memories. In fact we have stayed here twice now. A small family run hotel. Again on the main road but still quiet. The pool is on the small side and some of the sun beds are a bit close together, unless at one end of the pool, then there is a bit more space. They also have comfortable padded sun beds which really helps with my joints. Both times we have had an apartment on the first floor but it was not too many steps. The small complex means not far to go to the pool bar which has a good variety of food and drink.

Staying at the Stella was the first time I had been away for more than a week but we got an absolute bargain for two weeks. Its one of the bigger hotels in a great location, on the junction, opposite the taxi rank. There is a slight incline but I didn’t find it much of a problem, I just took my time. The rooms were big and really spacious and had everything you need for self-catering. I usually choose self catering as its easier if I’m not feeling too good and can’t get out for a meal. We stayed on the first floor with not too many steps. The pool area wasn’t far away and quite big with 2 pools but plenty of sun beds and space. It was also all on one level. There was also a pool bar, restaurant and supermarket all on site.

Since our very first visit we have stayed at the Matina two more times. This time staying on the first floor but I coped with the few steps. The best thing about this hotel is that everything is there on site. Two pools, two pool bars, supermarket, restaurant and even a hair dressers. It is also really close to the beach and has other bars and restaurants really close by including my favourite bar. The supermarket now has a website were you can order your shopping to be delivered and in your room ready for your arrival. This is a huge help as now I don’t have to carry any heavy bottles or run out to the shop when I first arrive to get any supplies.

On my last trip I stayed at Thalia, this was my first time at an all inclusive in Greece. As always with Greece it was basic but there was nearly always something to eat. It was really good value for money and we were able to eat out a few nights too. Even going to another village one evening via taxis which was really easy. It was our first visit to this little village only 10 minutes away. A traditional greek residential area with a square filled with shops, bars, restaurants and the taxi rank. It had little narrow streets leading from it lined with more bars and restaurants. Everything was just a few steps away from each other in the square with a great friendly atmosphere. The pool at Thalia was quite big with lots of space. There were a few steps from the pool up to the bar area and out but I didn’t find it too much trouble. The pool bar was limited to soft drinks, tea, coffee, beer and red or white wine. We stayed on the ground floor which was great but a bit close to the 24 hour reception, it was slightly noisy. Although we were All Inclusive there was a shop on site and a fridge in the room. It was slightly further down the main road but not so much that I found it too far to get out and about.

There is plenty to do on the island of Rhodes and a lot I haven’t seen and done which I hope to do in the future. Number one on my list is Rhodes Town followed by Prasonisi, were the two seas meet. Also the Glass Bottom Boat, Butterfly Valley, the Jeep Safari, the Monastery, Acropolis of Lindos and the cross at the church of Prophet of Elias.