Boarding a Train in Europe

There’s nothing easy about trying to make mass public transportation accessible in older European countries. There’s no American Disability Act that ensures all vehicles of public transport be made accessible, which leaves a wheelchair-using tourist like myself feeling a little lost. That split-second feeling of entitlement (“What do you mean you didn’t make this train car specifically for someone like me?”) that comes from only ever knowing the accessibility laws of the United States was soon to be hushed from one encounter after another of inaccessible transportation (I’m looking at you, Italy). But what was so surprising and so reassuring was how the people of every country, every public transportation worker in each city, went to extreme lengths for me and my party so we could get to our destination. Old lifts were dug out of hidden corners of train stations, strangers carried my wheelchair up flights of stairs while Dusty carried me and workers continually took time to escort us through alternate routes when an aufzug (German word for elevator) was broken. Thank you, people throughout Europe, for affirming a belief in humanity that people will help.

Here is a short example video of how to exit an older train in Germany:

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Copenhagen in Pictures

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Fountain of St. Alban’s Church, Copenhagen
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On the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark
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On the street of Nyhavn Harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark
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The colors never cease to amaze on a cold winter’s day in Copenhagen, Denmark
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Entering a Danish military reservation in Copenhagen
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The beauty of Nyhavn Harbor, Copenhagen
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The infamous Bastard pub in Malmo, Sweden- just a quick train ride underwater from Copenhagen
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Looking over the water at the “English Church”, St. Albans of Copenhagen or Sankt Albani Kirke i KĂžbenhavn
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The last legal photo opportunity before entering Christiana- a free independent state within the city of Copenhagen. The citizens of Christiana live by their own rules and self-govern. Wonderful market inside the commune, some beautiful street artwork found as well. Also, for some reason, lots of precious pit-bulls ready for a pet on the head!
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The #bikesofcopenhagen
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Living the hostel life at Generator Hostel in Copenhagen
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On the streets of Copenhagen
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The beautiful Nyhavn Harbor of Copenhagen
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The view from of the top bunk in the handicapped accessible room of the sleeper car we took on the overnight leg from Munich to Hamburg, Germany. The room was just large enough to turn around in my wheelchair and the public train bathroom was accessible as well. I love the train life, but the nighttime noise is not for everyone!
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Hamburg train station, the middle leg in our overnight train trek from Stuttgart to Munich to Hamburg to finally Copenhagen. The Hamburg to Copenhagen train actually boarded a ferry to cross an inlet! The entire train on a ferry!

 

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FreeWheel! Wheelchair Attachments for Easier Travel

Some of the best investments to be made for mobility disabilities for travel are in attachments and accessories. FreeWheel is a wheelchair attachment; a third wheel to lift those casters off the cobblestones that fits on the footplate and can be carried behind the back plate when not in use. It’s a lifesaver and this video was made as a shout-out.

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