batec mobility batec handbikes

batec mobility batec handbikes

BATEC MINI 2

 

batec mini 2

 


Alba (paraplegic, Barcelona) and her partner Héctor had been wanting to go on an exotic adventure for some time now, but without having to travel for too many hours. So they didn't hesitate to go to Turkey this summer after a glowing recommendation from a friend. Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, Ephesus, Pamukkale and the Cappadocia region all saw Alba's Batec handbike this summer. Neither she nor our most feminine handbike went unnoticed in the alleyways of the former Ottoman Empire.

 

travelling through turkey with a batec handbike

 

They spent the first five days on their own in Istanbul and the other five with a group tour. "The days in Istanbul were great. The first three, we spent sightseeing, discovering each of its corners. By the fourth day, we'd seen almost everything and the frenzied rhythm of the city was starting to wear on us, so we spent the day on the island of Büyükada, the largest of the nine that make up the Prince Islands. We took the ferry from the port of Karaköy and went looking for some peace and quiet, and a dip in the Sea of Marmara. The last day, we enjoyed typical Turkish customs: backgammon, apple tea and hookah." They say they were surprised to find the city quite accessible. "However accessibility did vary depending on the area. It's no problem to get around in a wheelchair at the main tourist attractions in Istanbul: the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern. They all have special entrances for people with disabilities and are on fairly flat ground. But in the old centre of the city, pavements suddenly disappear, turning into stairways leading to many small shops and goods for sale. Plus, the traffic is crazy. You have to dodge the cars if you want to maintain the little physical integrity you have left! But we soon learned that the best way to get around the city was to follow the street vendors pushing their carts, as they were the only ones cars stopped for: if the cart can pass, so can you!"

 

travelling through turkey with a batec handbike

 

The part of the trip organised by the agency was a bit of a disaster and left them feeling a bit bittersweet. "We knew that the coach wasn't adapted and that some of the places we were going to visit weren't very accessible, but we didn't expect to encounter excursions that were totally inaccessible, like the visit to the underground city. The agency didn't take this into consideration and the guide didn't know how to help us." They recommend "going to a specialised agency that can ensure there will be activities accessible to wheelchair users, like trips on quads or hot-air balloons. Cappadocia is a very rocky region, with excavations everywhere, and isn't very suitable for people with reduced mobility. But, thanks to my partner, the help of the people in the group and the Batec handbike, I was able to enjoy it. Cappadocia, Ephesus and Pamukkale all have very irregular terrain and it would have been very complicated to visit them safely.

 

travelling through turkey with a batec handbike

 

Despite these setbacks, it's hard for Alba to choose just one thing about the trip. Turkey won her over with its alleyways, shops, smell of tea and the mysterious call to prayer five times a day. And she was deeply moved in Pamukkale, a natural area in southeast Turkey. "Maybe because of the time of day when we arrived, about eight in the evening. The sun started to set and the sky blended in with the limestone pools and the ruins in the background... It was magical."

 

travelling through turkey with a batec handbike

 

She brought back loads of anecdotes involving her Batec handbike. Alba uses a BATEC ELECTRIC, specifically the BATEC PURPLE special edition, which she says caused quite an uproar in Turkey. "The first days in Istanbul, we realised that we weren't seeing many people in wheelchairs. Most of the locals were very surprised to see a young European woman in a wheelchair hooked up to what they called nice car. At the Grand Bazaar, people even discreetly followed us to see how the Batec handbike works. They were shocked when I easily detached it to pop into one of their tiny shops."

 

travelling through turkey with a batec handbike

 

But the best story is the one from the Blue Mosque. They knew you had to take your shoes off to go inside, but they didn't expect the measures that were taken with her wheelchair and the Batec handbike. "At the entrance, after discussing whether they would change my chair or not, they picked me up so they could cover the wheels of my wheelchair and the Batec with tape. Suddenly all eyes, and cameras, were on me and everyone forgot all about the mosque. I felt like a star for the day!

 

travelling through turkey with a batec handbike

 

Alba recommends Turkey for any of you who are looking for an experience full of contrasts. And don't forget your Batec. According to Alba, our handbikes are essential for this type of trip, on which you are going non-stop from dusk to dawn and end up exhausted. Who's in? We've already put it on our list of accessible trips!

If you are looking for a different adventure in this country, the blog Overlandsite offers a different angle than other travel articles: travelling by car and discover Turkey that way. With a car and your Batec you will discover a different face from this beautiful country. 

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