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Thread: inter city busses in eastern europe

  1. #1

    Question inter city busses in eastern europe

    My wife and I are traveling to eastern Europe (Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech republic ) this fall. We are planning to do most inter city travel by train and assume that my manual wheelchair will not be an issue on trains. A couple of trips look more direct and convenient by inter city bus. I have no idea if intercity busses in Europe are accessible and whether only certain companies can take wheelchair.
    Is there any experience out there and any tips on that part of the world

  2. #2
    I am familiar with Poland. The trains are not always accessible (more often not). There may be compartments for people on wheelchairs but you may have to ask - when you buy a ticket and again before you board the train. The train stations sometimes do not have elevators. The trains look very different than Amtrak. My daughter is a wheelchair user but she can walk a little- with some help she can climb the steps on the bus, and the bus travel seemed safer and easier.
    People tend to be helpful - although they look grumpy sometimes (they do not smile at strangers). If you know where in Poland are you going I can ask at some Polish forums. Stronger paras in Poland have sometimes amazing wheelchair skills - climbing stairs, riding escalators, curb jumping - these skills help to move around.
    Krakow is beautiful - old and artsy- and the old center is small enough to wheel around. Close to Krakow there are old salt mines with underground rooms (including a chapel) built from salt. I think wheelchair tours need to be arranged in advance. Auschwitz is nearby as well - terribly depressing but worth visiting. It is a bit difficult to move around because it kept to look as it looked when nazis were running it.
    Austria may be easiest to move around. Hungary and Czech republic may be similar to Poland.
    Let me know if you have more questions

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Wisconsin USA
    I would suggest checking access by train company in each country. This site should help Then Google Rick Steves travel books for disabled travelers and subsribe to Emerging Horizons by Candy Harrington. I've never been to Hungary or Poland and haven't been to Austria or the Czech Republic since 1992. Talking to friends who have, Austria will be the easiest. All will give your tires a beating because of cobblestones. If you don't have solid tires you might want to think about a set. Heavy and rougher on the butt but mine have lasted through cobles in Quebec and Rome and, hmm, the vertical stone streets on Rhodes. If you stay with air take several inner tubes. Prague has yet to do much updating to their Metro so even if you can jump escalators theirs are narrower than ours, wood, and very fast even for western ABs. For countries you're visiting I would call their embassies in Washington DC and ask for Tourist Information. They'll give you a number, most are in NYC, for their tourist bureaus. I've used many of these for info and they are normally up to date or will find the info for you. In many old cities of Europe you'll need to go into pedestrian areas or through them to get where you want to go. This means taxis and those run from big new Mercedes to those tiny flat back things that my husband, me and my Quickie had to squeeze into in Romania. We had to tear down the entire chair for those. Hopefully the street car systems will be updated by now. Many now kneel or pull into a raised bed station so you just roll on and off. West Germany started switching over back in the mid-1980s because the elderly used them a lot. By unification, Berlin was installing them. I would expect other major cities in the countries you list to also have accessible trams because it is cheaper than fixing Metros and more permanent than new buses.
    Definitely get fax receipts of reservations you make for hotels with doorway widths for both room and bathroom included. International hotels are very expensive in Europe and there are many small or European chain hotels that are very nice but you do need to make it clear about no front steps and no walking.
    Please take notes. We haven't had a chance to practice our Czech in a long time and we both still want to see Budapest.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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