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My sister had a stroke and is in a wheelchair

I am using the Rick Steves book on Budapest. We are going to the thermal baths today. While there is lots of information and instructions I cannot find any instructions about wheelchair access. I really believe you need to address this in your books. We went up the funicular to go up to Buda Castle hill. There was handicap access and the four of us just fit into the funicular cabin. What wasn’t at all easy is that all the walkways and roads surrounding the castle are cobblestones. The wheelchair and my sister were not happy. Then we went to the National Gallery in Budapest Castle. We got directed to go around the back to enter. We needed to use the WC when we got there and since we were “behind the scenes” it was private. This was important because it wasn’t very handicap friendly. The wheelchair did go through the door though. Then we went up 2 elevators to access the line. The line was out the door and down the steps into the courtyard for the Frida Kahlo exhibit. We were directed to the front of the line. My sister and brother-in-law got a free ticket which we thought was so awesome. My husband and I paid for ours but at the front of the line because we were the wheelchair group. After we enjoyed the art we decided to look around the town and the shops and restaurants. The shops aren’t wheelchair accessible so we only visited one. The good thing was that the had smoother sidewalks so that made the trip there more pleasant. My sister has traveled the world and doesn’t want to stop because she is in a wheel chair. Please start amending your books. Thanks Jan

Posted by
27759 posts

squirrel (Jan)

the way to get the attention of the company is to use the "Contact Us" button. These Forums are hosted by the company but they are not always visited by them - we, under the leadership of our fearless Webmaster, are a semi-anarchic group of fellow travelers, travel-hopefuls, and travel-wannabes. Between us we have a fair dollop of experience, but we're not the company nor anything to do with the editing of the books....

It sounds like the three of you are having a pretty good time even after the difficulties placed in your way.

Since you can get onto the interwebs as well as have access to the guidebooks maybe a way forward might be to use the books to set an itinerary and then check the websites for their disabled access and facilities. The websites can be updated with current information (and closings, etc.,) than any book ever could be.

Posted by
13524 posts

we, under the leadership of our fearless Webmaster, are a
semi-anarchic group of fellow travelers, travel-hopefuls, and
travel-wannabes.

First belly laugh of the day, Nigel!

Wise advice from him, Jan. The books simply can't cover fine details for every traveler's circumstances so checking an attraction's website will be helpful for things like accessibility. Cobblestones and rough pavers are also not uncommon in old European cities and towns so one just expects to run into them here and there.

Another good reason for checking websites is that some information, like hours and prices, can change after the latest version of a guidebook goes to press. The websites will provide the most current visitor information, including notices regarding temporary closures, special exhibits, etc.

Along with the websites, the RS forums can also be useful for questions regarding special needs when planning a trip. :O)

Posted by
9736 posts

Nigel! Laughing so hard and hoping I can live up to being semi-anarchic. I missed that part of the 60's being too rule-bound and going to university in Florida where there was beach and beer.

Jan, this doesn't help you now but I'm adding this in case someone pulls this thread up later in a search. There is an old RS book called Easy Access Europe published in 2004 about traveling with limited mobility. I have NO idea if anything in it is still current, I just know used copies are available on Amazon.

There is a place on the forum to write Trip Reports, often used by those of us who come to the forum to plan our trips. We'd be happy if you had time to write up your trip adding in the info you discovered about accessibility or lack thereof in the places you visited. Glad you got to see the Kahlo exhibit - heard it was wonderful!

Posted by
13569 posts

squirrelwyss; the accessibility issues makes you appreciate the U.S. doesn't it? Still, the way you were welcomed, accommodate (within their means) and treated in general must make up for some of the inconvenience. The lack of accessible accommodation makes everyone show their best side. So good to hear. My belief is that given the opportunity most people please their G-d through their acts. Still, it makes me feel particularly good when the citizens of Budapest show this. You made my day. Thank you.

Posted by
21087 posts

Although one can encounter short-term issues with sidewalks, etc., anywhere and at any time, my impression is that you are somewhat more likely to encounter large areas of cobblestones or other uneven pavement in the former Iron Curtain countries. Some cities (including Prague) have repurposed one or more beautiful old buildings and turned them into museums. Those may have limited elevator access, toilets only on one floor and not particularly accessible, etc. My impression as a person without significant mobility challenges is that anyone in a wheelchair needs to do substantial pre-trip research to make things go reasonably smoothly.

I've fairly often had trouble with stairs myself because of missing handrails or other issues. The light level in the Obecni Dum (Municipal House) in Prague was low enough during the late afternoon that I didn't see the bottom step on one of the staircases and ended up sprawled on the floor.

Posted by
5697 posts

@acraven : ouch! Handrail-less stairs do me in, too -- especially going down. (Going up you only fall a step or two -- down can be a mighty tumble!)
@squirrelwyss, agree that access information is hard to come by but imperative to have.