I was fortunate to be contacted by National Public Radio to do an interview for Rachel Martin's show called Winging It. It aired Sunday, June 8th at 7:57am Eastern. On Maui I got to hear it later in the morning -- after hearing the edited version I have some tips and tricks that didn't make it into the final version. I'll post those later today. Thank you Rachel & Gemma!
Just checked into the River Lee Hotel in Cork, Ireland. The bathroom is ideal: with no divider between the toilet and the roll in shower, and the sink out of the way. There's even an electric door to aid in getting in and out of the room. The bed is higher than mine at home but not "fashionably" overly-high like most hotels these days.
I'm enjoying the mild weather and lovely European feel of the city of Copenhagen. We are staying on the water in the south part of the city called Sydhavnen in a basically wheelchair accessible apartment we found on Airbnb.com.
Many if not most of the busses in Copenhagen are wheelchair accessible from the middle door ramp. The driver will not assist a person in a wheelchair to deploy the ramp (which is manual) and so you are required to bring an assistant or ask other passengers to help (there is a report on the interwebs of a guy in a wheelchair who the driver/other passengers would not help). Busses run up to about midnight and run often. The person I spoke to at the assistance line was unsure if the night busses were accessible. My wild guess is that they would be proportionately accessible because they'd use similar or the same busses. But I haven't tested that theory.
The harbor bus that runs up & down the river is basically accessible, though the tip of the ramp can be bent or due to tides be up to 4" above the dock. Other passengers helped me over the lip which I couldn't have done solo. There is a smaller harbor bus where the ramp was mangled at the end so it was more of a leap, harder to get on the ramp and a larger harbor bus where the ramp was flat so it was easier for me to get on with the electric wheelchair/scooter.
The assistance line for busses is +4536131415 and they speak English, just hold the line through all the announcements in Danish.
The S trains in the city and regional trains -- say to Malmo Sweden or to the Louisiana Museum in the north suburb -- carry a ramp inside. When you want to take the train, sit on the platform where the conductor will see you and s/he will bring out a ramp (It seems that might be after everyone else has boarded).Be sure to tell the staff where you want off so they'll have the ramp ready for your exit. No need to call ahead to arrange access assistance.
For international trains -- say the direct ICE train to Berlin -- they use a lift so you have to arrange in advance by calling +4570131419 at least two days in advance. They are open 8am to 3pm only and they speak English, just hold the line through all the announcements in Danish.
Hypothetically it sounds pretty good. The harbor bus was easy though as I noted the older harbor busses have mangled ramp ends that don't quite meet the dock. Passengers helped me over the 4" step that the ramp ended in.
Update: We used the regional train to go to Malmo Sweden yesterday and there ARE ramps to smooth the entry bumps/steps on the regional train in Denmark/Sweden. The staff said to wave from the platform as the train approached but we didn't see anyone to ask so Team Zoom just lifted me on...on the way back we approached a train staff member inside the train and she said "oh we were coming to help but you were too quick for us!" Zoom zoom. Here is a photo of the ramp she set up for us, luckily, as the step at our stop was at least 6" this time!
When we got to the station in Copenhagen the only elevator on track 1 was out (a group of tourists having stuffed the 16 passenger elevator with 16 passengers plus all their bags and carry-ons. The poor folks were stuck between floors for 45 minutes!) and we nearly missed the last harbor bus to easily get home.
Thanks Patrick, Jered Molinsky, Quinn Schroeder, Denise Brady & Chris Riley -- and anonymous bystanders -- for smoothing my way today.
Initial thoughts are that wheelchair access is hit or miss: sizeable steps into biznesses, no curbcuts on major intersections & lots of curbcuts in some neighborhoods.
No curbcuts onto bus boarding areas. Although many busses do have lifts, some don't have lifts or some lifts don't work or some of the drivers don't want to help.
We did find an accessible taxi service to get to and from the airport (firstname.lastname@example.org)--though it was more like a 1975 Chevy stick shift with white leather seats, disco dice and a makeshift metal ramp, the nicest, most gentle driver in the world was a priceless find.
I'm staying at the Sheraton Convention Center. The wheelchair accessible room has a roll in shower, raised toilet with grab bars, but the buttons to call the elevator are wayyyyy over my head, and there aren't reliable curbcuts around the hotel driveway. All in all, being able to go to the bathroom and shower does make a difference.
As with everywhere there are friendly folks offering to help and if one restaurant isn't accessible, the next one down the way will be.
A long day of adventuring by bus and foot/wheel, followed by a killer steak and great red wine, ahhhhhh that's what I love about travleing!
Here's some shots of the trip so far & my travel companions Shayla, Scott and Sheryl. More adventures to come.
My leg is all healed, and I've been in the studio making new work!
For the next few weekends, I'll be in the studio in Portland at Zoomtopia along with other juried Open Studios artist, photographer Aaron Rogosin. We have at the building the tour guides that will get you in to the other nearly 100 artists' studios around town.
Also this year we have a Portland Open Studio Tour iPhone App available to assist with maps and additional information on finding the right studios to visit! It's the same cost as the paper tour guide, but IMHO so much easier to use!
Come see this photo and the one below, rendered as a block print.