My travels: Europe
May 2006 – Polis, Cyprus
My mum was very dubious about me travelling without her, especially without a carer, but my friend persistently encouraged me to try C&A Apartments and I was adamant to give it a try. So when my friend organised a group of mostly people with ataxia and their carers to go there the following year, I went along too.
C&A Apartments is ran by a guy who coincidentally has Friedreich’s ataxia too. Exclusively designed for the wheelchair user, all 19 units have level access roll in shower rooms and drop down rails on either side of toilet. As I could still transfer and dress myself it was pretty much everything I needed, although I remember my friend’s PA having to pick me up off the floor a few times when I’d misjudged a transfer!
I was very determined to do it all myself – in my eyes I didn’t need a PA. However looking at my friend and his PA, I saw how one would allow me to struggle less and relax and enjoy more.
We went out and about on the on-site wheelchair accessible vehicle which was driven by Chris’ dad – I remember going to a fish farm, monastery and market place. As well as this the beach was only 15 minutes away and we spent a lot of time in the many restaurants in the town square 5 minutes away.
June 2007 – Polis, Cyprus
As the C&A Apartments gave us everything we needed to have a brilliant holiday, we decided to go back again this year.
We took the beach walkway to Latchi and like last year we caught a glass bottom boat to the “Blue Lagoon”. This boat had a hoist on it so you can be lowered into the Mediterranean sea and take a dip. I wasn’t brave enough to do this last time, but this year I was persuaded (see picture below).
This time I swallowed my pride and decided to try the PA thing. I asked a work colleague if she would join me who helped with food, drink, packing etc and generally made life a lot easier. I was converted!
However at the time of our holiday Cyprus was in the middle of a heat wave and temperatures averaged at 45c. Because of the extreme heat Iwas extremely fatigued, even with having a PA there. My ankles had started to become week this year and I had come to needing a wall to ram my feet against when I transferred. As the toilet backed onto the middle of the back wall in the bathroom in the apartments there was no side wall to jam my feet against and this had become a real problem.
So after this experience we decided to look for something else for our next holiday...
June 2008 – Finestrat/Benedorm, Spain
Sadly I can’t find any details of the villa we stayed in – I’m left thinking that it’s now out of business, which is a real shame as it was such a lovely place and was packed with disabled facilities.
This time I decided to take a PA by profession, although as far as I remember I was handling most transfers and personal care myself. I remember my PA helping me with food and drink and in and out of the swimming pool. I was really impressed with the accessibility of the pool – it had a ramp so I could just transfer into a shower chair and roll into it. My PA would also clamp my chair into the wheelchair accessible vehicle we hired; life minus the hassle of transferring into cars is so much easier.
We took a boat ride and I remember the impressive beach front of Benidorm. But most of all I remember the company – 6 of us went on this holiday; 3 friends who have ataxia and 3 PAs and we all got on so well! Because of that it remains one of my favourites...
May 2009 – Mazzaron, Spain
Matt lovesto travel but he now needs to rely thateverything is set up the way he needs it - it was just too difficult otherwise. So earlier this year he bought his own apartment in Spain and as this was his as well as my first stay there he and his PA went about fitting some adaptations in the bathroom.
This not only makes it accessible to him but also to me and other disabled people, and he now rents out this apartment (see this website for more) He had already brought an adjustable bed after using one in Spain last year, finding it gave him a much better night’s sleep and buying one at home and had a floor-to-ceiling pole shipped out as he can’t transfer into bed without it. He also had a Patient Turner (also called a “rotunda”) to help him transfer. Actually we both found this useful – made me wish I was introduced to one years ago.
As Matt was busy buying things for the apartment and having them fitted we didn’t get much time for getting out and about. Although we did spend some time at some local beaches and restaurants – it’s a lovely place!
June 2010 – Mazzaron, Spain
We returned to Matt’s apartment though this year we were able to enjoy Sky TV and broadband on our laptops since both of these had been fitted since my last visit. The interior had been decorated and furnished so it now looked really cosy. We were also now able to use the front door and sit out on the front patio area thanks to a newly-built ramp.
Also new was a sliding door in the bathroom which created more space. This was good as I now needed room for my PA to help me transfer – I had the flu the previous winter and I never recovered a lot of the physical ability I had so I was a lot more dependent and my PA this year.
As well a visiting the same beaches and restaurants as last time we spent time in the apartment complex’s club house eating and watching football. Daniela, who went to Spain as my PA, came to stay with us for a few days – it was lovely to see her and catch up. We all held a very funny ABBA-themed night (we thought it was anyway)...
I have one special friend to thank for these experiences - all of these holidays have been organised by Matthew Law, someone who
has ataxia and from whom I’ve learned so much. Thanks so much to Matt and all of the mentioned PAs.
This website has been around sinse 1998, and although it's changed a lot over the years it's always been about me and my disability. Over the years I have used many different hosts and website design packages. For the past ten years or so I have used 1&1 as my host and I have always been very happy with it. I have always wanted to learn how to build a website from scratch using Adobe Dreamweaver, so about three years ago I got in touch with Polar Solutions and arranged for a trainer to come out to my home to teach me at my own pace. So I now design this website using Adobe Dreamweaver and the skills I learned on that course.|