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.

A Bucket-list Destination.

Somewhere that is on everyones bucket list is the Greek Island of Santorini. With its picture postcard scenic views and black volcanic sandy or pebbled beaches, it is breathtakingly beautiful. Of course when this opportunity came up I grabbed it with both hands. However I should of have definitely done a bit more research. The hotel was literally on the beach but that was it. Everything else, all of the shops, bars and restaurants where just too far away. Even those on the beach front where a good 15 minutes walk and the main road was a good 30 minute walk through fields and residential properties. It was quite disappointing as the bakery was on the main road and I only made the trip once. I always love to visit the greek bakeries, the smell of the freshly baked bread and biscuits is mouth watering. Not to mention the taste of the delicious cakes and biscuits. We were only B&B but mostly ate all our meals at our own hotel. We did manage to make a short trip to Fira by local bus. This is were the cathedral is and were all the cruise liners and ships dock. However it was too far to walk down to the actual port. The walk from the bus station to the square is a very steep, short walk but I made it. We stayed up by the cathedral and looked out over the bay, admiring the incredible view and taking a few photos. We ate lunch and had coffee in a small cafe before getting the bus back again. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Oia, the other ‘must see’ where the blue domes are. The trip was just too much for me. The journey included a very expensive taxi or multiple buses and also a lot of steps to climb. Where we were staying there was a road train that went along the beach front, but only during the day. It took you from one end to the other where there were shops and restaurants. We only managed to catch it the once so took the opportunity to go to the very end and catch the little boat to the next bay. We had a little wander around that resort and lunch before getting the boat and then the train back again to our hotel. The little train made all the difference for me, it really helped with my mobility not having to walk so much. It’s a shame it didn’t run very often or of an evening.

Another Greek Island

After spotting this deal online for Zante I didn’t hesitate much in booking for another greek island with the experience I had had in Rhodes. Only 10 minutes from the airport with gorgeous views and what looked like plenty of places to eat and drink. The hotel and pool were lovely. We had an amazing view from the balcony, however we had lots of steps. The hotel was off the main road so was quiet but this meant there was quite a walk to the beach and also the main road. There were a few places on the side road that were easier to get to, some also offering a take away option. This was a great alternative on the days that I couldn’t make it to the main road. One thing I really wanted to do was to see the turtles, so we booked a trip with a local shop. It included pick up and return to and from our hotel. It was a fantastic trip and Im so glad I got to experience it. Another must see is ’the shipwreck’. This was a little more complicated as it was further away, at least an hours drive. This is a trip that would have been impossible for me if it wasn’t for some of the locals. After making friends with a few of them, they very kindly took me by car to the mountain view of Navagio beach. It was breath taking and certainly worth it.

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My First Weekend City Break

This short trip was a very different experience than all the other holidays I had had before. We flew into Reus but stayed in Tarragona, a more residential area. The little B&B we chose was lovely. It was simple but suited our purpose. The breakfast was good too, plenty of choice. The problem was that it was a little walk from the beach and way too far from the centre of Barcelona. No one really spoke much english and my spanish was not the best. This made me think about if I needed a doctor or something. I don’t know what I would have done. With staying so far from Barcelona the travelling was a bit of a struggle. I was already starting to flag by the time we got there so I wasn’t able to do much site seeing like I wanted. I was quite disappointed. To top the lot I was quite sick on the plane home too. So thats a few lessons learnt here. Again planning and research is invaluable, you can never do too much of it. Also be careful what you eat and drink before flying, although I had never experienced that before. arguing-case-catalonia-barcelona-tarragona-reus-cambrils-tortosa-c6acc3a62e34966dc3705f3e7c956bd0

First Trip To Paradise

The summer after finishing college we went to Rhodes, another Greek Island staying in a small village south of the island. We chose here as it came recommended by a family friend. Our hotel was in a great location, not far from anything, including take aways if you wanted it. It also had everything we needed on site so we didn’t have to venture out for anything if I wasn’t up to it. Our room was on the ground floor not far from the pool and had everything you would need for self-catering. Mornings were spent at the beach and the afternoons by the pool. Evenings having a meal and a few drinks. A few bars having entertainment like quizzes or karaoke if you like that kind of thing, or if not there were plenty of place to just chill. A beautiful place with a relaxing atmosphere and the friendliest of people. An ideal place to stay for people with limited mobility. One day we took a taxi to a neighbouring village and back. It was stunning. Traditional small, white greek buildings of restaurants and bars. Tiny narrow winding streets to easily get lost in. Not so good for us that have quite a difficulty walking but I enjoyed it all the same. The view of the bay and the little church was a perfect picture postcard.