Who knew there was a League of Historical & Accessible Cities? The city walls of
Avila are fully accessible – amazing! I’d love to see how they achieved that. There is of course a debate to be had about how far you alter a historic building to make it accessible and of course, here in York it is particularly relevant. Other European Accessible cities are Salzburg (Austria), Turin and Lucca (Italy), Mulhouse (France), Sozopol (Bulgaria) and Viborg (Denmark). Each city has its own page on the LHAC website with information, promotional videos etc. Great to know that there are moves out there to make places accessible to everyone!
The apartment we stayed at in Maurach, had fabulous views of the woods and mountains and although it was quite basic, it was perfectly comfortable and very clean and in excellent condition. There were two upstairs and two downstairs apartments, parking and level access round to the door. This had a lip that was too high for my scooter but might well be fine for a wheelchair but whether the apartment would be appropriate would depend on your level of mobility. I had asked if we could borrow a stool to use in the shower cabinet which helped but it was rather a step up to get into the cabinet! In the kitchen area, there was a hob and a combined microwave/grill as well as toaster and coffee maker and enough equipment for making everyday meals. Outside, there was a little terrace (the upstairs apartments had balconies) with chairs and a table. The television had Austrian and German channels only but we managed to get the gist of the weather forecasts!
There was a supermarket with bakery in Maurach (MPreiss) and also a bakery delivered bread to the house every day – you put your order and the money in a bag and hung it on the outside light at the front of the house and fresh bread and croissants would be delivered first thing in the morning! As we don’t speak German, the only thing we actually recognised on the price list were ‘buttercroissants’ but you could figure out what were rolls, loaves and large loaves from the weights and prices; it was still something of a lucky dip , but that’s all part of the fun of a holiday abroad!
We spent a lot of our time scooting / walking round the nearby lake as there is a path most of the way, suitable for bikes, rollerskates, segues, buggies, you name it: wheel-users’ heaven! It was smoothest near Pertisau, but fine near Buchau and Scholastika on the other side of the lake too and there are plenty of benches along the way. The lake boats are accessible – it was no problem scooting on and off and there was a lift for accessing other floors. The cute little steam train would be too much of a challenge though unless you can climb big steps. In Pertisau there are shops, hotels, cafés etc some more accessible than others. The Furstenhaus hotel was accessible inside and out and does good cakes. The Post Hotel had at least an accessible terrace but not such good cakes! Round at Achenkirche we lunched at the Fischerwirt Am See which had possibly the nicest accessible loo ever but no way to get into the hotel that didn’t involve a step – perhaps if you stay there they provide a ramp.
I really recommend this area for a holiday where you can get great views without driving or sitting on a bench – seeing them while scooting along is much more fun as they constantly change and they really are breathtaking!
We stayed two nights here after flying into Munich airport on our way to the Achensee, the hotel being 130 kms from the airport. Although it is a Best Western, the atmosphere was entirely that of a family-run hotel, which it is and a very well-run one too, with pleasant, friendly, helpful staff. The restaurant claims to be award-winning and it certainly was very good with nicely-presented national and local specialities, delicious bread and nice wine. The breakfast was also good: you could order various egg dishes as well as helping yourself to lots of different buffet items: cold meat, cheese, croissants, fruit, yogurt etc.
We had booked the Alpenrose because it was accessible and it mostly was with a ramp to get into reception and from there you could access the restaurant and breakfast room but the lounge had a step up. To access the terrace where there were more restaurant tables, if you used the ‘outdoor’ route there was a small step which was too much for my scooter but a wheelchair would probably be OK with it. The ‘indoor’ route to the terrace involved two bigger steps. There was a lift (our room was on the first floor) and the room was very spacious with a walk-in shower, plenty of grab bars and a stool to sit on in the shower. There was also an alarm-cord in the bathroom.
Not very pre-possessing from the outside, it was a comfortable hotel and very clean, it just needs a little bit of updating: the graphic rose patterned carpet in the bedroom for example and the table-cloths on the terrace tables – lose them and the terrace was lovely! The surrounding mountains are impressive and there was a spectacular storm the second night which meant decamping indoors half-way through our meal! I can’t review Kufstein itself as we just used the hotel for a rest from driving and I would definitely recommend it as a good stopover as well as a base if you did want to explore Kufstein.
We’ve just come back from a holiday in Austria and I have discovered that Lake Achensee is wheel-users’ heaven! There is a mainly smooth pathway around most of the lake which was being used by cyclists, rollerbladers, people using segways, people with buggies and wheelchairs and me with my scooter! We didn’t see other scooter-users while we were away, which perhaps explains the interested (even admiring!) looks my scooter got. A business opportunity there for someone! The views around the lake are spectacularly beautiful and there are plenty of cafés with accessible terraces – more information on the area to follow!