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pogoboy

Travel in Europe by train in a wheelchair

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Most of the people on this site are probably not old enough to remember those old Johnny Wiessmuller Tarzan movies with the "great white hunter" and all of his equipment being carried by dozens and dozens of native Africans through the jungle.

That's almost what it's like when I travel to some of my fencing competitions with two wheelchairs, a fencing bag, and maybe one or two other smaller bags or my violin. Packing becomes an art and my second wheelchair becomes a very expensive dolly to ferry all my equipment from point A to point B.

Abled-bodied people are always ready to lend a hand, but I try not to encourage them as they never realize what they are getting into and I generally manage fine by myself. What I noticed during one of my last flurry of trips between 2002 and 2004 was that the most organized and helpful people I found where in France whenever I had to make any train changes.

In contrast it wasn't nearly as easy for me to get around in Holland or Germany. I don't know about other countries, but I was able to buy tickets for less and/or upgrade to better seating and also you are allowed to have a travel companion to help with your stuff. (I didn't really take advantage of this.)

It's something you might want to check out if you're thinking about travelling in Europe by train.

Enjoy the journey! pogoboy

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Boy, you really get around! I hope you will enlighten us with more stories of trips you take in the furture. Some of us are stuck in a rut and don't venture too far from home so it's fun to hear about other places.

Caroln

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Thanks for that travel info. I've had to start using my 'chair' more since my joint replacements & often (even for small journeys) there's a 'chair' & crutches to contend with (plus all the prosthetic 'trimmings'). It gets even more of a nightmare when the whole family comes too - not much room! :(

I wonder why there's such a difference between France & Germany/Holland?

Lizzie

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In answer to your question in the difference between France, Germany, & Holland - I just remembered at the time of this particular trip, I believe there was a strike or some kind of worker protest either in effect or maybe it was just over - it was as I recall - every man or woman for him or herself and quite disorganized in Holland.

I like traveling through Germany as my German is better than my French, but for some strange reason - I've made lots of friends in France and overall stayed there longer than anywhere else in Europe with the exception that when I was younger and an AB - I lived for two years in Greece on the island of Crete.

I know it's a drag to bring a wheelchair, crutches and any other paraphanalia that goes with being disabled - and to have family with - I know that's got to be difficult. Maybe that's why I enjoy traveling alone so much since I don't have to ask people for help unless of course it's absolutely necessary.

Traveling with family and friends can be so muc more taxing and obviously planning and logistics can make the difference between a fun trip and a real adventure.

O.k., here's one even better. It's my paradigm for life. When I was fifteen I was an exchange student in Germany and it was my first experience outside of Texas. After making several friends, I chose to go back to Europe when I was 19 to visit some of my new friends and see my host family once more. I saved up enough money to take a trip for a month and a half and then did a bike tour through a fair section of Central Europe - solo.

I actually started out in England and took a train down to Folkstown and the sealink to Calais, France then the train continued on to Paris. When I arrived in Paris, I spoke much less French than I do now and was totally lost. I thought that I had to get off the train and go to another train station, which I did in the middle of the night on my bike navagating along the river Seine and a few recognizable landmarks and just as I arrived at the other train station - I literally met the same train that I had been on and reboarded the train to my final destination which was the border between Switzerland and France.

I had lost my seat and the train was now full of young men, army recruits going to Deijon for I think basic training. I spent the remainder of the night sleeping in between cars and I think on top of my bags and equipment.

When I arrived at my final destination - I was on the frontier between France and Switzerland - I remember how cold it felt as I got my bike out of the baggage car and started to pedal down the road. It was beautiful. For a Texas boy - the mountatins were a welcome change and I was looking forward to an adventure which I was sure would unfold as I headed down the road.

O.k., so the paradigm is this - when I would arrive somewhere, it didn't really matter where - inevitably curiousity got the better of the local townspeople and eventually someone would come up to me and ask me where I was from and where I was going. And I would pull out my map and tell them where I had just come from and point at the next small town on the map and then what would happen next - seemed to happen almost every time I stopped somewhere, anywhere, it didn't seem to matter where.

I would point with my finger and tell them that this is where I would like to go and they would begin to explain why I shouldn't go there because the people were not so friendly and I should maybe go this other route and I would find much friendlier people along that way.

And you know, I would thank them for their suggestions and then head on down the road in the direction that I had originally decided. And my little drama would play out again and again and I would meet the friendliest people and they would always show their concern for my welfare and tell me what was best for me and I had the most wonderful experience over a month and a half.

And to this day, I find myself in the same situation all the time - heading out on a lark and not having any particular destination in mind and always coming across the good samaratin who wants to encourage me to go here or there to avoid any problems and the "bad" people - not that I haven't encountered a few not so nice people in my travels, but generally I have a splendid time on my journeys because it isn't always the destination but the actual journey that is what life seems to be about.

pogoboy

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Hi Pogoboy

You sound like the original 'free spirit'. :)

Do you write for a living? And, if you don't, you should...because I could read your postings all day! :)

Lizzie

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Thanks for your kind words, Lizzie.

I'm not a writer and whether it's a good or bad trait - I think after all these years I have become quite a sentimental old fool and tend toward the romantic, maybe just a little too much for my own good.

pogoboy

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Do you write for a living? And, if you don't, you should...because I could read your postings all day! :)

I agree... you have a very nice style of writing, pogoboy, that is very easy and enjoyable to read. :)

We have several members here now who could well be authors. Such is their writing style. (You know who you are! ;))

We ARE a talented bunch, aren't we?! B) :D

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I think after all these years I have become quite a sentimental old fool and tend toward the romantic, maybe just a little too much for my own good.

Do you want to marry me?

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I think after all these years I have become quite a sentimental old fool and tend toward the romantic, maybe just a little too much for my own good.

Do you want to marry me?

If you wear those boots and shake those pompoms how could he resist?

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:lol: :lol: :lol:

Forgot about that Dancingfool....

Ally <---- goes in search of cam... B)

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Not to change the subject as I am very flattered by your post and quote, but I am currently waiting to receive a new power supply for my poor old laptop - all that traveling has taken it's toll and staying online has been extremely tedious for me.

The idea and/or expectation of something is almost always more exciting than when it happens, because of course, it's over before you know it, and savoring those precious memories is all you have left.

That's the way I get right before I leave on one of my trips - butterflies in the tummy - maybe a slight irregular heartbeat and then that longing for being on the road again.

It's both practical and romantic to be in the moment and as fleeting as our lives can be - what's the expression - I'm in love with the idea of being in love?

I heard something recently about eating dark chocolate and how it releases the same chemicals in our bodies that we get when we are in love? Has anyone else heard this?

I do l-o-v-e dark chocolate, even more than I like milk chocolate.

You know I don't think I would be doing you any favors my dear to accept your proposal - sight unseen - as I'm not the catch or any kind of catch that you think that I am - but it is a lovely idea and I think I could ruminate over that and hold it in my arms and rock it back and forth for a while before letting it go again so that we can all continue on our seperate journeys...

I suppose if I am in love with anything, it's just what's around the corner - clear skies, or threatening thunder and rain.

I have visited your site recently and read about your accident and miraculous recovery and you truly are a lucky girl as I am quite the lucky boy to be sitting here in front of my laptop typing away!

Wishing you a wonderful day whenever you return to read this message...

Most humbly yours,

pogoboy

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*hums tune to Love Is In The Air*

:D :D

pogoboy, assuming that that's a pic of you in your avatar, do you know who you remind me of?

I hope you don't mind me saying, but you look just like Colin Firth!

In case you didn't already know, he's a great British actor, who played in the Bridget Jones films amongst many others.

Us British ladies will mostly remember him as Mr. Darcy in the BBC drama Pride and Prejudice. I mean, who could EVER forget that, now infamous, 'wet shirt scene' with Mr. Darcy emerging from a dip in the lake with his shirt clinging to him?? :blink:

More info. on the 'wet shirt scene'

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pogoboy, I've heard that about chocolate. I think in the book From Chocolate to Morphine by Dr. Andrew Weil. I am not sure if that's where I saw it but it sounds familiar.

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Imaginations run rampant - again a pleasant fantasy - alas - I am nothing more than a middle aged - although young at heart - man. Ah, to be twenty-seven again... That was about 2 years after my original diagnosis.

Here's a photo - not the most flattering, but I don't seem to have many photos of myself.

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You really do having a lovely way of expressing yourself, pogoboy. :) I've heard about the qualities of chocolate too & I must admit I just love the stuff!

Afet - I also appreciated the Mr Darcy 'wet shirt scene'...but, I'm pleased to say, I have my own 'Mr Darcy' at home. :blink:

Lizzie

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Nothing wrong with middleaged men. It's difficult to see the photo clearly, a bit shadowy. Trying to be mysterious?

I suppose not being a frequent publisher on forums leaves me feeling a little inept when tyring to figure out how to publish my pic - basically the same one I used for my avatar to settle all claims on who I look like most. (Probably me.)

Anyway, I keep trying to publish a pic, but all I seem to be able to do is provide a link? The link is to my website for wheelchair fencing - The site is in need of a little tidying-up and good housekeeping, but you can discover that for yourself.

Just in case this doesn't work, I'll list the link for the website and I was able to manage a link in the index to the pic at the top, right-hand corner with my email info. Sorry that I'm not more resourceful.

pogoboy

The picture (below)

http://mywebpage.netscape.com/wcfencer/page9.html

My website (below)

http://mywebpage.netscape.com/wcfencer/index.html

post-15-1129485969.jpg

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All good fun, keep up the posts guys & girls, pogoboy you certainly have a talent for charming the ladies. Great writing skills

Pj :lol:

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BAN HIM immediately !

Who does he think he is coming on here all talented, good looking with a smooooth writing style and sweet talking the ladies. I mean what are us mere mortals going to do.

Will my Morris dancing compare to his fencing ? Will my expeditions to the neglected waterways of northern England prove as interesting? Will the enlivened and oft embellished accounts of my enforced exploits around Wallmart send maidens into heights of uncontrollable excitement ? I fear not.

Therefore, I am to undertake a new venture, one that will command awe and respect from all. People will marvel at the audacity and bravery. Young ladies will seek my favours, I will be held in the highest regard throughout the land. Yes my friends, I am to lead an expedition to circumnavigate the M25. It will be a long and difficult journey fraught with danger and bad food. Pointless to try and dissuade me, my mind is made up. As Beyond Boundaries has attracted such attention, rival TV companies will be falling over themselves to secure the broadcasting rites. So should anyone fancy volunteering, you may well have your 15 minutes of fame. Oh and by the way does anyone have a car they could donate :lol:

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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Silly. Just offer to take us shopping.

:P

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Awesome Blue,

If you think you can handle mr, I'm all yours!

DF, I hope that was handle ME (as in you) :lol:

It is. See what happens when I don't have coffee? But it might be interesting to see you handle a mr.

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