Travel

A flying visit to Liverpool

We are just back from less than 24 hours in Liverpool. It’s the first overseas trip that Jono has been on with the wheelchair and was a bit of a test to firstly how it would go and secondly because Jono wanted to visit Hattons.

The handiest thing was the flight. Ryanair (love them or hate them) fly from Ireland West Airport Knock to Liverpool and the flight is just 45 minutes! I have to say I have never had any issues with Ryanair and in fact if they weren’t around with their cheap flights I wouldn’t be going anywhere.

As it’s the first trip with the wheelchair I didn’t know what I was doing so I didn’t check it in. Fair play to the staff at Knock and in particular one man I’ve seen from working there, he made sure we got sorted and arranged the lift to bring Jono right onto the plane. There are some kind people and we are very grateful.

The flight was grand, quick and easy, with assistance waiting for us at the other end. We got a bus to the Albert Dock, the 500 bus because it’s the quickest one – Jono had it all organised. The buses are wheelchair accessible so I just wheeled him on – but – the brakes on the wheelchair aren’t the best as we soon discovered when the bus went around a corner and the Jono took a trip across the aisle!! This happened throughout the journey with me clinging onto the chair for dear life. It was quite a long 30 minutes!

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express which was the cheapest place we could find. It was lovely, great location, nice big room and breakfast included.

After we checked in we went for a little stroll and had fish and chips along the dock, serenaded by the seagulls.

We walked down by the River Mersey and looked at the lovers locks.

We also checked out the sweet shop, I love The Beatles made entirely of jelly beans! We didn’t do anything else, just relaxed in the room and looked at the view.

I didn’t fancy going exploring and I didn’t have my camera with me either. Although I wouldn’t mind going back to check out the rest of The Albert Dock, there’s a lot of interesting places there including the Tate Modern and The Beatles Story.

The next morning we were up bright and early and we both slept well, it was a really quiet room overlooking the dock. Made a nice change from the many noisy places we’ve stayed in previously.

The main purpose of the trip was for Jono to go to Hatton’s Model Railway shop so we headed off there. He was delighted to get there, the staff are so friendly especially John who was just lovely. Jono got all the bits he wanted and we headed back to the airport.

Some people just astound me though, as we were waiting for special assistance people were almost walking all over Jono. It’s like he was invisible, I’d moved him back as far as I could and they were still rushing to queue. The plane was even there at this stage! We were eventually moved to the lower floor where they had everyone that needed assistance and that was a lot better.

Another 45 minute flight and we were in Knock with a slightly bumpy landing! It’s so handy having an airport so close to home and I’m so pleased that Jono got a break away even if it was just a short one.

 

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photos, Travel

Krakow – the best and worst of the rest

You can read about Auschwitz here and the Salt Mines here. If you are interested in visiting the area I would recommend it, here are some things that might help.

I flew from Dublin into Krakow. I booked the executive lounge at Dublin airport and to be honest it was worth every cent. My flight was around 5pm and if I hadn’t booked the lounge I’d have missed lunch and dinner. In the lounge you are away from the crowds, there’s as much food as you want including cheese and crackers, hummus, soup, sandwiches, wraps, salad, cakes, biscuits and a variety of drinks including alcohol. There are plenty of plugs so not only do you recharge your own battery you can recharge your phone too. I’d loved that there was a shower complete with towels, shampoo etc…just a shame there wasn’t a hairdryer. Anyway – the flight was around 3 hours, fairly uneventful.

I was travelling on my own and I have had experience of wandering around in a strange country and not knowing where I was going – this was pre-anxiety days so I booked an airport taxi with Krakow Direct. The driver was waiting in the airport for me and took me straight to my hotel which was twenty minutes away.

I stayed in the Pergamin Old Town Apartments and would have no problem staying there again. It was a huge room – it even had an upstairs! It was spotlessly clean, there was a kettle, fridge with mini bar and it was as cheap as chips. It was opposite the Planty Park, about a 3 minute walk from the old town square/castle etc. and about 15 minutes from the train/bus station and shopping centre. Only one UK channel on the TV (BBC news) but I wasn’t in the room much. There was WiFi and air conditioning but I couldn’t work the air conditioning so I was melting. Three downsides:
1. It was right by a tram line – I didn’t mind this though as I found it relaxing.
2. Don’t expect a warm welcome or even a smile because you won’t get one.
3. They don’t take credit cards – but there is an ATM just beside the door.
I had breakfast one of the days, it had all kinds of things and you can eat as much as you like, it was fairly pricey compared to food in the city but I didn’t have to eat for the rest of the day.

I booked a tour of Auschwitz with Krakow Direct. Our driver Michael was fantastic, very friendly and helpful and I wish he’d been our guide for the museum. You can make your own way to the museum and it’s free to get in but I found it all too confusing so went with the tour. Auschwitz is over an hour away from Krakow and I’d recommend you just did that trip on a day and not try to combine anything else – you’ll be tired and overwhelmed.

I didn’t eat out much, I was quite apprehensive about that part of the trip so I tended to bring a sandwich back to the room. I did love the Cat Cafe though, the people working there were so lovely and friendly – and they smiled! Who can resist a Catpawcino?

I had a lovely dinner in Bar Italiano which is just alongside St. Mary’s in the old town. The people were friendly and the calezone was bigger than my head and delicious! One day I had lunch in the shopping centre, they had a food hall so there was a lot of choice, I went for a Polish buffet – the food was lovely – the lady serving wasn’t friendly though. For a treat I went to Bubble Waffle, I saw this place on the internet so I had to go and check it out, it was very nice.

I went to the underground museum but to be honest I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. This was probably due to the fact I went after Auschwitz and I was just walking around in a daze. That’s why I’d suggest taking a day for Auschwitz and doing something lighthearted afterwards.

The old town area is beautiful, there were horse drawn carriages and the place was buzzing. Check out the Wawel Castle, although I didn’t go inside it the grounds are stunning.

Walk down by the river and you’ll see the fire breathing dragon. Take a walk in the park by the dragon and visit the most faithful dog in the world statue.

I walked quite a way along the river because I wanted to see the ‘lovers lock bridge’, I loved the statues along the bridge too – it’s very striking. I’d checked out the Jewish Quarter and saw the places where Shindler’s List was filmed, I also saw the Ghetto Chairs Memorial.

There are lots of free walking tours available which would be a great idea if you had the time. Wear comfortable shoes because if you are anything like me you’ll walk for miles. Bring a rain coat because when it rains it rains….but bring sun cream and sun glasses too because when the rain stopped it was 24 degrees. Expect crowds, I preferred getting up early and exploring without the crowds.

I found my trip fascinating and moving. The one downside which in all honesty would put me off going to Krakow again was the airport. I found it very confusing of where I was meant to go and the security were quite aggressive and rude – I was barked at to remove my camera from the bag and other people had their cases rummaged through. It made me quite anxious and kind of dampened the whole experience.

Anyway if you decide to go I hope you enjoy it, you’ll certainly come back with a different outlook on life.

 

Diary, events, Uncategorized

Happy 9th Birthday to the Blog

Well it’s hard to believe that my little old blog is 9 years old! Those years fairly flew. The blog started as a place to get thoughts out of my head during a time when there was a lot of illness in the family and has kind of come full circle.

Continue reading “Happy 9th Birthday to the Blog”

Travel

Light up your life in Eindhoven

Mention Eindhoven in the Netherlands to anyone and they’ll probably think of football and light-bulbs. Pay a visit there and scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find one of the coolest cities in the world.

Continue reading “Light up your life in Eindhoven”