Europe Without Barriers: Day 1 & 2

As my regular readers will know, Kasia and I just spent a month in Barcelona. It was part leisure and part work with MIC Sant Jordi & the Catalan Tourist Board for www.accomable.com. On Monday we drove from Barcelona to Cannes. Tuesday from Cannes to Follonica. This trip is my first time in Italy. As a sun-lover and pizza/pasta freak, I was like a kid in a candy store.

After a much needed recovery from the French Riviera travels and in preparation for the Europe Without Barriers project; we arrived at ‘i girasoli’ (sunflower) hotel yesterday (Friday 5th June).

The arrival day was noted as day 1. Following our two hour drive, Kasia and I grabbed lunch with the projects main coordinators (from AISM – the Italian Multiple Sclerosis organisation). Despite having already read the project plan and itinerary it was helpful to meet and talk about everything in person.

DSC_0667After an afternoon of cooling down from the Italian heat in the room; we sat by the pool, then ate a delicious meal and met most of the other project partners and participants. The majority of the group are Italian, I’m the only English person, there are 2 Polish and 1 Latvian people. Think that covers everyone…

Today (Saturday 6th June) is day 2. Kasia and I woke up rested from a good sleep in our accessible room and headed for breakfast. The morning was filled with official introductions and project outlines. We now understand that our trip should;

1) provide an accessible itinerary for other disabled people to follow
2) create a network of people who support each other and work together in the future
3) communicate our experiences on the trip (that’s partly my role with these blogs)

The group plan to chat some more about the metrics we’ll use for rating our visits and reporting back. This will inevitably be a work in progress.

Finally we spent this afternoon in Arezzo. It was another scorcher weather wise! Unfortunately this did impact on some of our groups ability to move far and fast. However we all muddled on and enjoyed a great time there 🙂

DSC_0548The first visit was to Duomo, where I glided up the ramps provided into the beautiful church. The ramps were a little older looking but did the job. Immediately after entering the public area of the church a bride-to-be walked past to the furthest area and was married. A nice additional feature I thought 😉

DSC_0551The second attraction was San Domenico church – another historic and well crafted piece of Italian architecture. This was a little more bumpy upon entering, but hey, I’m an accessible tourism ninja these days.

We finished the day walking around the small and quaint streets of Arezzo, plus the better known Piazza Grande and Saint Francis Basilica. I actually dreamt as a kid that I could go through these kind of Italian steets. Today was honestly another dream come true.

Martyn

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