Well fortunately I have made it to Kos again. Although I'm actually finishing this post back at home. I'll blame only getting internet in some areas and the sun glaring the screen. So I'm going to try and keep this post short as I need to go into hibernation. Actually I did quite well. Getting there that is. Tired yes. Achey yes. But nothing too far from what is normal. Or what can be expected from travelling abroad.
All that being said though I think I am only handling it so well due to the fact that I know the place and the people well. It has become like a second home to me. So I could pretty much relax as soon as I got here and not have to worry about settling in and getting to know where everything is. Also where the best places for my wheelchair are, which can be a problem even at home. As you may have gathered from my posts about going shooping. Funnily enough I have have found some of the kerbs here have been better, which I did not expect. They were a nice surprise though.
Again my trusty steed comes to the rescue, that is my wheelchair for those who haven't read my last post. Without it there would be no way I could have come away. Well lets face it it lets me get out at home as well. So it is definitely needed abroad. So thank goodness for wheelchairs for letting us chronically ill patients get out and have some semblence of a life.
We flew with Ryanair again and they were really helpful. Although there had been some communication error with the air hostesses and the company that do the special assistance for the airport. Our flight was at 06.00am ( I know crazy time) but we were still at the special assistance reception at 05.50 waiting to be taken to the plane. When they took us out on the concourse the ground staff were in a panic and got us to try to rush to our plane. The air hostesses were really apologetic not that I think it was their fault. When we got on board the gate manager was already on board, probably contemplating when to take our bags off haha. Actually it didn't work out to too bad. By the time we boarded everyone else had sat down meaning I didn't have to stand and wait as people found their seats and put bags in the overhead lockers. We went up the front steps, the others had already been taken away. But it was better as there was fewer steps and my legs were as wobbly as anything. The gate manager in his lovely high viz jacket walked me down to my seat. On the way I got so many sympathetic smiles which felt quite strange but always better than a " you're holding up the plane" stare. We had two whole rows to ourselves too. All in all there are 4 rows reserved for passengers that require special assistance. They have a tiny bit more leg room. With having the extra seats I was able to put my feet up, which I find is always better for me.
During the flight I was able to relax and although I can never sleep on planes I did manage to practise some mindfulness and shut off. I put into practise some of Jess B's great tips for flying from her blog my journey thru ME. Check them out:
http://myjourneythrume.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/flying-with-mecfs-my-top-tips/ and take a look at the rest of her posts. She has some lovely recipies on there too.
But back to my blog. My biggest mistake was going to the toilet as soon as the seat belt sign was switched off and we were still climbing. Cue major dizziness and wobbliness and thinking I was going to be sick. I hate going to the toilets on planes enough as it is. I thought my legs felt like they were going to give way.
When we landed they brought the lift to the plane door. They had arranged for the lift in Liverpool airport but I said that I should be able to manage the stairs. They took my wheelchair out of the hold, yay it made it! So when I got to the door it was waiting on the lift. Then they wheel you off the plane and onto a platform and then into the inside of the 'van' there are seats in there too for other passengers with you. When you are in the van it then lowers and then it either gets driven closer to the terminal or you get off there. Again you go onto a platform and it then lowers onto the ground. A special assistance worker then takes you to passport control. It's quite exciting really.
So again no problems flying with Ryanair. Was very lucky to have the 2 rows and extra leg room. Plus my wheelchair made it! The only problem was with the transfer to the hotel. The rep at the airport told us that we weren't on that flight but a later one! There is only one flight that leaves Liverpool. She went and spoke to another rep and she confirmed after seeing our reference number that we were on the coach. It just hadn't been put on list. This was a bit mad as we had spoken with the transfer company. We contacted travel republic who we booked everything through to check whether there would be any problems with putting the wheelchair in the coach's hold. They were great in that they spoke to the transfer company to discuss the issue. They had said that it should be fine aslong as the coach wasn't full because there would not be enough room for the wheelchair. But if this was the case then they would arrange another transfer service free of charge. So why the rep never had us on the list I do not know. Lord knows how she would have coped if we had to get another transfer. Five times we have been to Kos now and she never recognises us.
So that is the tale of the journey there. It worked well with having 4 people as my Dad and sister were able to take 2 cases each and my Mum could push me. Plus I wasn't loaded with all the hand luggage on my knees. I'm away to rest rest rest now. I'll post about the rest of the trip soon and I'm also planning some tips too. But bare with me as I recover.