Wheeling Chichén Itzá – The Maya

I’ve consulted all the sages,
I could find in the yellow pages,
But there aren’t many of them…
And the mayan panoramas
On my pyramid pajamas
Haven’t helped my little problem.

The Alan Parsons Project

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I’ve always had a dream to see the pyramids. Little did I know that I was going to get acquainted with the South American pyramids before an encounter with the ancient Egyptians. But it turned out that the Yucatan peninsula definitely has more to offer than amazing beaches and tacos, and that it’s an excellent place for what I would call wheelchair accessible pyramid sightseeing.

After some days of chilling in the garden of our air bnb, it was time for a real day trip. We had a rental car for only a week, and it was time to use it. My own batteries were also charged again after some days with pool & sunshine, and this was good because we had some hard core sightseeing ahead of us.

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Our plan was to visit the Mayans. Or the remains of them to be more precise. We were heading to Chichén Itzá, which is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico with over 2.6 million tourists in 2017. The area is most famous for it’s giant pyramid El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcan).

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Chichén Itzá was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.

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Our guide showing us the huts that the Mayans used to live in.

But before we could enjoy the mysteries of the ancient world, we had to drive approximately 2,5 hours from Cancún. We decided to buy tickets to the Maya pyramids by a roadstand, where we also got a very useful map over Chichén Itzá. I cannot remember if it was the same roadstand, but at least we managed to find an accessible toilet on our way. Which was very good, because we were not able to locate any wheelchair accessible toilets inside the park/archeological site.

I don’t know if it’s the Mexican driving style or what, but at least you are properly warned when you’re approaching a curve. Or a Maya pyramide…

We ended up buying the VIP tickets, because according to the guy on the ticket stand it would be much easier to find parking for us at the back entrance (by Mayaland lodge) and it would also be less crowded to enter the park. Since we never visited the main entrance, we don’t know if this is correct. But our gut feeling told us that he was actually right and that the back entrance is probably the best one if you arrive with a car (and a bunch of wheelchair users).

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Before we entered the park, we had originally decided not to buy a guide. But when we entered the park, it turned out to be a little bit more hilly than first expected. And some of the paths were a bit bumpy, which would probably make it quite physically challenging to wheel all by ourselves.

So after checking what a guide cost, we decided to hire Jonathan for a few hours guided tour. And this was probably the best decision we did during our two weeks in Mexico. Jonathan was an experienced guide from Mayan origin with lot of knowledge about the history of the site. And I think it would have been impossible to get the same experience from a guidebook, that we got with Jonathan’s assistance.

He was also able to help us at the most bumpy paths and being a group of 3 wheelchair users and one pedestrian, this was very convenient. Especially since Ingrid’s “mini engine” decided to go on strike before we entered the park.

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An example of some of the worst obstacles you will face wheeling Chichen Itza.

Sometimes when a stranger is going to help me on bumpy paths, I’m scared because the person is not used to handling a wheelchair. He or she might end up shoving your front wheels into a hole or a ditch, which might cause a nasty accident. But Jonathan had obviously met wheelchair users before. He was very relaxed about the situation and gave us a push when we asked for it or when he saw we were struggling. Otherwise he just left us to wheel ourselves, which is the perfect solution for me at least.

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And disregarding the wheelchair issue – a guide was a good investment because we understood much more of the different constructions on the site. The layout of Chichén Itzá site core developed during its earlier phase of occupation, between 750 and 900 AD. Its final layout was developed after 900 AD, and the 10th century saw the rise of the city as a regional capital controlling the area from central Yucatán to the north coast, with its power extending down the east and west coasts of the peninsula.

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On top of this construction they used to sacrifice people.

One of the “fun facts” that got stuck in my mind, was the stories about the violent nature of the Mayans. They basically liked to kill and sacrifice each other in all kinds of different ways. No matter if it was head chopping, pulling your heart out, using your head as a football or throwing your body into a cenote (natural pools).

The scientists disagree, but this thirst for blood might be the reason that caused the end of the whole civilization. It’s kind of logical. If you throw too many living or dead bodies  into your drinking water, you might end up polluting not only the pool itself, but the ground water in the whole area. A little bit similar to what we are doing with plastic in our oceans at the moment…

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One of the survivors…

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The observatory

So even if the Mayans were incredibly smart in mathematics (they invented the zero for instance) and astronomy, they were also incredibly bloodthirsty and stupid. Quite similar to several other ancient civilizations I guess…

The most impressive construction in Chichén Itzá is the giant pyramid El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcan) in the middle of the site. Around the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent god Kukulcan.

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There’s also a special sound effect that the Mayans created as a amplifier, so the sound from the speeches of the rulers on the top of the pyramid would reach a bigger area and not only the people in close proximity. This sound phenomenon can be tested by clapping hard at certain places in front of the pyramide. You’ll then hear an echo similar to a squeaking bird. Of course we had to try it…

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Archaeologists have identified thirteen ballcourts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame in Chichén Itzá, but the Great Ball Court about 150 metres (490 ft) to the north-west of the Castillo is by far the most impressive. It is the largest and best preserved ball court in ancient Mesoamerica. It measures 168 by 70 metres (551 by 230 ft).

Because of Jonathan we learned about the ball court, the different eras where Chichén Itzá was inhabited and developed and the different gods they believed in. We never really understood though if it was the winners of the ball game that got sacrificed at the end of it or the losers. Details, details…

We also learned that it’s probably smart to bring a cap or an umbrella. Because the heat was pretty intense inside the site, with little or no shadow to seek refuge in, except for the “shopping street” with numerous souvenir stalls.

And remember to bring cash! In general cash is king in Mexico. Both our debit card and credit card got skimmed in an ATM in Cancún – so watch where you use it! After a day of very interesting sightseeing and food for the brain, and a little bit of souvenir shopping, it was time for some food for the stomach.

First we ended up in a place that looked charming on the outside, but turned out to be a gigantic tourist machine full of grumpy tourist and staff members on the inside. From the decorations on top of the garden walls, it was clear that intruders were not welcome. Or just another example of the fact that Mayans are still a bit blood thirsty…

So instead of the tourist machine we ended up having the elementary tacos & guacamole at a smaller place down the street, which was nice, quiet and somewhat forgettable.

It was time to head back in the direction of Cancún to get ready for some relaxing days on the beach instead of Antonio’s garden.

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Wheeling Cancún – The Best

Pumpin up the volume, breakin down’ to the beat
Cruisin’ through the west side
We’ll be checkin’ the scene
Boulevard is freakin’ as I’m comin’ up fast
I’ll be burnin’ rubber, you’ll be kissin’ my ass
Pull up to the bumper, get out of the car
License plate says Stunner number one Superstar
Pink

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Cancún, a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. It’s composed of two distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants.

We visited in February 2019. We came with a direct charter flight from Oslo (Tui Airways).  And before we went, one of my co-travelers who had been there before, told me to expect something similar to “Gran Canaria on acid”. So let’s just say I had low expectations regarding the tourist trap factor. And I guess he was right. But Cancún definitely has it’s positive sides as well. This blog post is about the good stuff…

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Cancún is a lot of things, but one of them is definitely a tourist machine. Mostly made for American tourists. They like it loud and they have (or like) cars to get around. What’s the point in creating a nice promenade along the beach, when you can hop into your SUV and drive to your next destination or gigantic beach resort? Fortunately we had rented a car for the first week of our stay. And we decided to rent a car for an extra day the second week as well.

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On our way to the shopping & harbor area Puerto Cancún

We were 4 couples travelling together (where 5 were full time or part time wheelchair users). The first week we spent in a nice Air bnb (owned by super friendly Antonio) in a gated community in the downtown area. The second week we spent in the hotel zone in a big resort by the beach called Chrystal Cancún.

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The view from the top floor in Chrystal Cancún

And here’s the best parts of our trip to Cancún & Mexico:

The Best:

  1. The Maya pyramids
    Our trip to the Maya pyramids in Chitzen Itza was nothing but amazing! A huge area filled with history and amazing sights, with a very friendly guide. A little bit challenging with the manual wheelchair, I must admit. But our guide Jonathan was very helpful, when he needed to. Hopefully there will be a separate blogpost about Chitzen Itza, because I have a lot of cool photos and travel tips.2019-02-21 18.38.30.jpg
  2. The climate
    It’s hard to beat temperatures between 25 – 30 celsius and sunshine every day. As the weather refugees we were, there are hardly more comfortable places to stay, while escaping Norwegian snow and ice in February.2019-02-17 15.21.15.jpg
  3. The people
    The Mexicans were very friendly, helpful, relaxed and easy going with the wheelchairs. Perhaps a little bit too relaxed in some circumstances, but I prefer that to creating a lot of fuzz because I’m disabled. If we needed help, we got it. If not – we were left alone.

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    People in Cancún have different skills…

  4. The beach
    It’s unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. But the beach in Cancún is so beautiful and long, that it’s relaxing just to lie around a gaze at it.2019-02-26 12.30.20.jpg
  5. The activities
    Whatever you prefer doing – there’s a lot of choices in and around Cancún. Beach, partying, water sports activities, cenotes, Maya ruins, activity parks, you name it. But make sure to rent a car! Public transportation is old fashioned and we suspect it’s not accessible at all. One of our highlights was the daytrip to Cozumel – the island outside Cancún, which is also one of the major cruise harbors in the Caribbean.
  6. Prices of food & drink
    The upscale restaurants in Cancún were surprisingly expensive, but to shop for one week in the air bnb did not break our budget in any way.2019-02-18 19.49.10.jpg
  7. People watching
    It’s hard to be bored in Cancún if you like people watching. No matter if you prefer people with or without very small bikinis. Or weird balloons on their head… 

  8. The airport assistance
    I had really low expectations, since we were five wheelchair users travelling together. But how wrong I was! I think we set a new record in disembarking a plane in no time at all. And our own wheelchairs were waiting outside. It was a bit hard to get rid of the assistance people (who also asked for a tip) afterward, but I guess they have to make a living as well…A greater challenge was getting the rental car. It took forever. Fortunately we had two able bodied friends who could take charge of this part of the expedition. They also volunteered to be our drivers in the slightly crazy Mexican traffic.

     

  9. The air bnb
    Antonio’s house was great. The biggest disadvantage was that you basically needed a car to go anywhere. We had to walk along the highway to get to grocery stores and restaurants, or we could walk along a smaller street with no sidewalks (also a bit dangerous). But the house itself was nice and doable even for five wheelchair users. The challenge was the bathrooms, where some of the showers were a bit hard to use and the some of the sinks were extremely high and difficult to use. 

  10. The tacos
    I’m not a big fan of Mexian food. But they do know how to make tacos, which is probably the best food you can get in Mexico. We also had good seafood in Cancún. And the home made guacamole is of course hard to beat.

     

And not to forget. Cancún is a very nice place to celebrate your birthday party if pool parties is your thing. Considering that your friends have bothered to come along with you to celebrate on the other side of the planet…

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Pool party time!

Stay tuned. The next blog will be about the worst of Cancún & Mexico…

 

Wheeling Vienna

Slow down at the castle
Things to straighten in her head
And she knows it’s not a castle
But that’s what they’ve always said
St. Etienne

 

Since I don’t have enough time to blog, I have tried to play around with the Google Photo app to create a small video from our visit in Belvedere Castle in Vienna, Austria.

We visited in May 2018 and the castle was very well accessible for wheelchair users with lifts and ramps throughout. Toilets were a little hard to locate, but did exists. It’s not possible to wheel through the entire garden however. In the lower part you will find a long staircase, where you have to turn and wheel a rather steep hill up again. Make sure you bring cash (and patientce) to the garden café, which have steps to go inside to pay or to visit the toilets.

Best & Worst of 2018 – The Booze

Most any afternoon at five
We’ll be so glad we’re both alive
Then maybe fortune will complete her plan
That all began
With cocktails for two

Duke Ellington

It’s New Years Eve again. Many of my friends have posted words of wisdom on social media saying that it’s a night for reflection and contemplation. True! But it’s also an excuse to party and have a good time together with friends. That is why I have decided that the first (and maybe last) “Best & Worst of 2018” – post will be about…the booze.

Our plans for tonight are to leave the thoughts (or the afterthoughts) until tomorrow and open a bottle of champagne or two together with our closest friends. Hopefully 2019 will bring interesting travels, fun parties, good music, tasty cocktails, exciting experiences and new friendships. With this blogpost, I wish all my friends & readers a great celebration of the New Year! 

2018 was a good year for cocktail lovers like us. It started out with some educational activities, with two different cocktail classes for both our birthdays. The first one took place in January at Bar Bastard (Bølgen & Moi Tjuvholmen). The second class was held at Støtvig Hotel in Larkollen, where we were the only students. Full attention to cocktails!

Best Cocktail course

Extra lessons from the teacher at Bar Bastard

Spring offered travels to Stockholm, New York and Vienna. And with a memorable summer offering long summer days and nights for weeks and weeks, there were plenty of opportunities to explore the city and find out where the tastiest drinks were. And together with Google & TripAdvisor, my internal radar for good places offered some new discoveries as well as nice rendez-vous with earlier discoveries.

Here is the best & the worst of 2018:

Strongest drink
The party was nice, but the welcome drink was perhaps not the biggest success in history. Our New Year’s Welcome drink only qualified as the strongest of the year. Even if it was consumed in 2017, we could still feel the effect some hours into in 2018. I knew I should have left those infused strawberries alone…

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Best beach bar
The drinks are not memorable and are perhaps to be avoided. But Kongens Marina in Oslo offered a nice venue for the first outdoor drink in 2018.

 

Best view from a bar
It’s very hard to beat the view from The Crown rooftop bar in New York – with its two large terraces with a 360 degrees view of Manhattan. We celebrated Norway’s Constitution Day there with a custom made drink menu, Norwegian students, a brass band and Americans looking for free drinks! Hurra for 17. mai!

Best rooftop bar
It was our second visit to Azotea de Benito rooftop bar in Las Palmas. The first time we visited was December 2016 and I discovered it completely by accident because I had trained my internal radar for rooftop bars during my visit in New York in July. The Azotea bar is situated close to the cathedral in Gran Canaria’s capital and they offer a nice ambience and very tasty cocktails with attention to details. The bar is easily accessible via a lift inside a cinema complex.

Best bar
Himkok is the place to be if you want good cocktails. New York Times agree. You can read more about it in this blogpost.

 

Best summer cocktails
The outdoor serving at Grådi (situated in Tøyen, Oslo) offers very fresh and tasty cocktails with gin from Himkok and the best hipster tapas in the neighbourhood.

 

Best beer place
Kulturhuset in Oslo have a bar for beer nerds. Read more about Kulturhuset in this blogpost.

 

Best value for money
Omnibar at Sørenga in Oslo gives you the leftovers in a shot glass when you order a cosmo and espresso martini. Never throw away alchohol!

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Worst drink
As I said above, Norwegians usually never leave a glass of alchohol. At least not a full one. But the cosmopolitan at K1 food & lounge was not drinkable. Usually in Gran Canaria it’s better to stick to the wine…

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Best accessible rooftop bar Oslo
Neither the drinks or the weather were that memorable at Bar Social Eating’s Rooftop bar, but the view is pretty nice from the huge terrace vis a vis Mathallen.

Best hidden secret
Even with Google & GPS, Bryant & Mack Private Detectives is very hard to find. In a tiny side alley the establishment looks closed and abandoned. But look two times! If there is light in the window, there is hope. One small step to enter, but the staff will help you. As long as you follow the rules of the bar. Which are kind of special…

Best cocktail place for people watching in Oslo
Bettola at Schou’s piazza in Oslo offers the best combination of people watching, tasty cocktails and late afternoon sunshine.

 

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Best homemade drinks
Our homemade strawberry basil smash & strawberry daquiri were probably among the best drinks we had in 2018.

 

Best bar encounter that did not happen
When André almost met Metallica at Bern’s in Stockholm. But the cosmo was good…

 

Best neighbourhood bar
Human Mote is a stayer. At least we hope so…

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Best traditional pub
The Kenilworth in Edinburgh offer a good variety of beer, gins and bar snacks. And a nice atmosphere.

 

Worst name of a bar
Dirty Dicks had worn out bedpans as decoration. Do we need to say more? But the place was friendly and a nice place to end the holiday in Edinburgh.

 

Cutest wine label
Petit Ours looks cute and tastes good.

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Coolest hotel bar
The main bar at Baoab Lopesan in Meloneras has very cool decor, tasty drinks (best cosmo in Meloneras by far) and nice live lounge music. Only a pity that they have a long steep hill in front of the hotel entrance.

Best bar we never visited
Bonding with some Danish cocktail lovers at the Bryant Mack Private Detectives in Edinburg, we asked them where to go for cocktails in Copenhagen. And their answer was Balderdash. We have no idea if it’s accessible or not, but the are supposed to have good drinks. Maybe we’ll get to try them in 2019?

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Until then I wish you a Happy New Cocktail Year! But just remember…

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Wheeling Oslo – The Secrets (The Boat)

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend I got planks to nail
I got charts to make I got seas to sail
I’m gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Jimmy Buffett
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I promised you some months ago to tell you about the secrets of Oslo. So here it goes. One more secret. This one is mainly for those of you who are wheelchair users or who knows a cool (or just easily persuaded) person in a wheelchair.
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The Captain

Once upon a time there was a crazy guy who had an idea. Sometimes it takes a crazy guy to change things. To have progress. And this crazy guy he had an idea about a boat that was accessible for everyone. Because he liked to be on a boat. He just happened to be in a wheelchair. So he needed some money, some help and some faith.
Crazy some would say (including myself). But this guy managed to realize his dream.
A private yacht that was accessible for all.
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And then ‘Sjøen for Alle’ (The Ocean for Everyone) saw the day of light. It is a yacht called Arnøy that has been rebuilt and modified to cater for wheelchair users. It can fit 30-35 people at the same time. Doesn’t matter if you have an electrical wheelchair or a manual one, you can easily get onboard. And they are docked just behind the Opera House in Oslo, so the location could not be better.
It costs you 100 NOK per year to be part of the private club and then 50 NOK per person to pay for the diesel on every trip you take. You can also bring friends, disabled or not. Usually the whole concept is very flexible and pragmatic.
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The club has a webpage & a Facebook-page:
– Webpage: Sjøen for Alle
– Facebook: Sjøen for Alle
They have a very solid ramp to get on board and you can access both the front and the rear end of the yacht with the wheelchair.
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They also have a stairlift installed to get you to the wheelchair accessible toilet, if you should be in need during the trip. I tried it with a permobil. It was narrow and I had to fold my footrests, but it was doable.
This summer they have had several trips per week, both daytime and in the evenings. Usually one trip takes about 3-4 hours and the boat moves in a relaxed pace along the cost of the Oslofjord. It’s also possible to charter the both for organizations and groups.
Bring your own food and drinks and enjoy!
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Ship O’Hoi!

Wheeling Vienna – The Culture

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
Billy Joel
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We visited Vienna (or Wien as I prefer to call it) in May 2018 because of a conference. The conference took place in the conference center Austria Messe. And since I hate to get up early in the morning, we stayed as close to the conference centre entrance as possible.
It turned out that the hotel was a poor choice. It was called Austria Trend Hotel Messe, but unless you find extremely uncomfortable furniture, an uncosy bar and questionable service trendy, then there is nothing trendy about the hotel.
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Prison cell or hotel? Austria Trend Hotel Messe was everything but trendy…

Some of our colleagues stayed at Motel One nearby, which seemed a much better alternative. We didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, which was ok the days the bakery at the technical university was open, but the other days it was a bit harder to find a coffee in the neighbourhood.
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Searching for coffee at university campus

At nights it was also hard to find a decent restaurant close to the hotel. We ended up in the Italian place l’Osteria several nights in a week. Their Italian food was good, but the service was at times exceptionally bad.
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L’Osteria – good food – bad service

And bad service actually seemed to be a trend in the Austrian capital. Do they hate tourists? Do they hate their jobs? Or do they just take pride in being assholes? I never really understood it, but it was almost fascinating how common this phenomenon was.
But don’t get the wrong impression! Besides these not so charming sides of Vienna, the city has a lot of great things to offer.

 

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Dinner at Zur grünen Hütte – one of the few places without bad service

Here are my best & worst of Vienna:

BEST:

1. The Art
Everywhere you go there’s art, music, museums, castles and architecture. If you are a lover of culture, it’s hard to not like Vienna.
2. The Music
Where else can you accidentally walk into a free open air concert with a Symphonic Orchestra? Well, in Oslo you can actually. But the experience in Museums Quartier in Vienna was nothing less than amazing. Vienna hat Kultur!
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3. It’s so clean!
I think I have never been in a city that clean. Everywhere you go the streets are clean and tidy and the buildings well kept. There is no tagging and grafitti to be seen. Except for the more intentional artsy kind. And even if horse carriages are everywhere, there is hardly no horseshit to wheel into by accident.
4. The wheelchair access
I was positively surprised how easy the city centre (Inner Stadt) was to wheel. Because of many old buildings, not everything was wheelchair accessible. But the inner city itself was easy to wheel and the subway was mostly pretty easy with the wheelchair. Sometimes you had to wait for the next train, because of a high step or gap. But most trains had very little gap and worked out fine without assistance.
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5. The Castles
I haven’t been to that many castles in my life, so maybe I’m easily impressed. But Schloss Bellevue is worth a visit and you can see most of the castle and the garden with a wheelchair. Next time we try out Schönbrunn…
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6. The coffeee
The Vienna inhabitants take pride in their café & coffee culture. And you don’t have to search to find a decent cup of coffee in this city.
THE WORST
1. The service
The service is more or less bad. I don’t know if it’s just a local arrogance, but I would say most of the cafés and restaurants we visited had some level of bad service. Either it was plain rudeness or having to wait an eternity to get the menu or the bill.
The classic Café Central is possible to enter via a back entrance,
but only to certain parts of the restaurant.
2. The food
I’m not a big fan of wienerschnitzel, sausages, sauerkraut or big fluffy cakes. And that’s kind of the speciality in Vienna. But try a soup or a casserole!
3. The airport
Turns out it’s almost impossible to fly into Vienna with a powerchair (or at least it takes a hell of a lot of planning). My colleague who was giving a talk at the conference had to do it by Skype. Austrian Airlines – this has got to change!
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4. The Prater park
Well, actually we didn’t visit it as some of our colleagues did. But the amusement park Prater is mostly known for it’s bad reputation.
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Just some random life wisdom on our way to the airport…

But all in all – the positives definitely outweighs the negatives. I can definitely picture to go back for a long week-end in Vienna, to visit some more museums, drink some more coffee at the oldfashioned stylish cafés and to listen to some more Wiener waltzes…
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Click the photo to hear some lovely classical Vienna music!

Because Vienna has culture!

Wheeling Oslo – The Secrets (The House)

Our house, it has a crowd
There’s always something happening and it’s usually quite loud
Our mum, she’s so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down, and a mess is not allowed

Madness

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We had just discovered the world famous bar Himkok. But it turned out that there were more hidden gems in the small and discrete Youngs gate around the corner from Youngstorget in Oslo. One of the hidden gems is called Kulturhuset (Cultural House), and used to be located across the street next to the bar Internasjonalen. At the former location, I had only visited because of some seminars and to use the toilet when I was desperate in the area of Youngstorget. But a while ago Kulturhuset moved into a very old but completely refurbished building.

 

 

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We were checking out the building on a late Saturday afternoon, so it was hardly any people there. This gave us plenty of space and opportunity to move around and see what the building could offer.

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At the entrance level, there is a back alley with a bar. You can take the normal lift up to the mezzanine level, where you find the main bar and a café serving light meals (salads etc) and a concert stage.

At the second floor you’ll find a beer bar, with a remarkable variety of rare and special beers. Expensive of course (hey, you’re still in Norway), but the lady behind the counter had impressive knowledge and gave good advice based on the kind of beer you normally preferred. There’s also a big library bar where you can sit and chill or have a glass of wine while reading, if you prefer that. There are also some event rooms that can be rented for ping pong, concerts, happenings or special occasions.

Same for third floor. In addition to event rooms, you find the game bar, with large shuffle boards and table football. Because of these boards, the large room is kind of narrow, so it might be hard to actually get to the bar counter on a crowded night.

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But happy hipsters are usually not the worst to ask to move, so it might be doable. Who knows? If I remember correctly, there were nice and accessible toilets on both second and third level.

They even have a rom called the Laboratory and one called “The secret room”. I wonder what goes one there. Probably something intellectual. Like the periodic table of social issues…

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When I came back from the toilet, André was chatting to another beer nerd, who had left his group at the neighbour table.

– Guy: “What do you think about the wheelchair access here?” 
– Me (thinking pessimisticly): Oh, no, what comes next? Some kind of disability joke, or something?
– Guy: “You see, the construction company I work for, was in charge for the rehabilitation and the universal design of the building. And I was wondering what you thought of it.”
– The two of us (positively surprised): “We think it’s great. Even if the building is very old, you have made it very accessible. You did a great job!

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Politics or ping pong?

Some days ago I actually discovered that the building is one of the three finalists in the Architect Award of Oslo City. So obviously we’re not the only ones who thought the beer loving engineer did a great job.

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The library bar

Kulturhuset might not be the place I will hang out every week-end. I like trying out new places and places where you can get some food. But if you’re looking for a place to grab a beer after work in the city centre, it’s a very good alternative. Especially if your friends or colleagues are picky beer lovers. Or wheelchair users who are in need of a nice accessible toilet.

But shh….don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret!