Accessible Istria

For the past 3 years Kasia and I have attended Mindvalley University. A personal development conference held in different beautiful tourism hot spots each summer for 1 month.

After Barcelona and Tallinn, 2019 was to be in Pula, Croatia.

Having never been to Croatia we were excited but also aware of the challenges a new place brings. The flight is always challenging on the day, but to arrange is a known entity by now. However the transport, accommodation, care and general access would need researching.

Luckily some of the Mindvalley tribe members were from Pula and knew of some disability contacts.

Katarina and Paula helped us find an adapted vehicle for the airport transfers. None of the private hire taxis were accessible there. We were able to get the public bus to and from the Mindvalley hub and our accommodation. As the last bus was at 9.30pm Igor kindly drove us in the adapted vehicle to the final party and home late.

Our Pula friends also connected us with a care agency. Kasia did most of my care, but having a PA come in every morning to get me up was gold dust. Leaving Kasia to swim with her family, before we all had breakfast together.

We found our accommodation together with Kasia’s family, who joined us from Poland. After a long search for accessibility, affordability and good location; we found Bi Village!

After contacting them for availability, they expressed an interest in promoting their accessibility through my visit. So in full disclosure, we were offered a free stay for our 2 weeks in Croatia. In return for my time and accessible tourism knowledge.

Bi Village is positioned 8km north of Pula. Hence the daily bus commute. It was full of campers and guests in apartments. Plus so many other holiday amenities.

Our temporary home was fully wheelchair accessible. It had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The adapted bathroom had a wet room shower and no awkward lips. There was also a kitchen, lounge and terrace for the lovely warm evenings.

Kasia’s mum, dad, brother, sister in law, niece and nephew enjoyed great moments with us. We had delicious meals and yummy ice creams. The kids loved the water park, tree climbing and many other child friendly activities.

The resort backed straight on to the beach. There was a wheelchair accessible ramp to the sea with an amphibian chair for swimming. The beach was more rocky than sandy, but that didn’t effect us negatively. I did burn my chest on the last day though. Ouch!

On the weekend away from the university commitments we had a bike ride to nearby Fazana, and a boat trip to the nearby islands.

The bikes were cheap to hire and I used my chair. The promenade was all accessible. It was nice looking around Fazana, and exploring the coast.

For the boat day I couldn’t take my chair. It’s too big and heavy. So I went on my shower chair with my Easy Travel Seat. It wasn’t so comfortable on my bum without my custom cushion, and being lifted on the boat and pushed around wasn’t ideal. However the views and experience was worth while.

Pula itself was surprisingly accessible. It’s an old Roman city with a beautiful collaseum. However the pavements had dropped kerbs and few cobbles. Result!

I’ll probably write an article about Mindvalley University another time, and there’s lots more to share about the Istria region. But for now, if you have any particular questions I’ve not addressed please let me know 🙂

You can also enjoy my daily video posts from Istria on my public Facebook page, my YouTube channel and my podcast channel. The dates were 7th to 21st July.

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

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