Post by Lauren
Because of the limited mobility of my feet, it was much easier to ride in a wheelchair for the longer distances when traveling with Gabe’s family. I have gotten permission to walk up to 30 minutes at a time (at a snails pace) but I am supposed to keep them elevated the rest of the day if I walk that much. By riding in a chaise roulant (French for “wheelchair”), we didn’t have to stop and take 1000 breaks. It is also easier for Mama Mia when doing long long days of tours and exploration to ride in the same style.
However, wheelchairs are not common in Europe. Or so we are guessing by the stares we received while riding in them in the three countries we visited. Not kidding that people would stop in their tracks and look. For extended amounts of time.
In Zermatt, we guessed that maybe thought it had something to do with the thought of ski accidents since it is a huge winter sports town. Maybe it scared them for what was ahead on the slopes the next day. I joked with Gabe that if someone asked, I was going to tell them that it was a result of heli-skiing on the Matterhorn.
In Milan, as Gabe pushed me along the streets of the fashion capital, we realized that this particular accessory also garnished a lot of looks.
In Nice, an 8 year old girl rollerbladed backwards for an entire minute so she could continue to gawk as we strolled/rolled down the Promenade d’Anglais. I was worried she might collide and need one herself by the time the viewing was over.
I wonder why wheelchairs aren’t as common in Europe? Maybe its the difficulty of cobblestones or lack of access to elevators & handicapped bathrooms due to older buildings?
Anyhow, just another culture difference we are learning about.