Prior to losing my sight nearly 18 months ago, I used to go backpacking, on my own, travelling all over the world. When I lost my sight, I thought my travelling days were over, that is until I met a lady, who some of my friends knew, at my local Blind Group and she offered to come on holiday with me.
In July this year, I booked a coach holiday with Alfa Tours of Chorley in Lancashire to Porthcawl in South Wales, an area I have never visited before. The holiday was for eight days, which included our travel to and from Porthcawl. The seven night accommodation was a three star hotel; bed, breakfast and evening meal were included.
Our room was a typical twin bedded room; it had a large bathroom with a wonderfully spacious shower. The room was situated on the ground floor, and the only bad thing about it was that it was at the end of a very long corridor and we probably should have asked for one closer to the dining room. Apart from that, everything else was wonderful.
The meals in the hotel were of a very high standard, with a wide selection of different options for breakfast, and an equally excellent choice when it came to our evening meal. The staff were wonderful and couldn't do enough for us. There was entertainment in the hotel every evening, which included a singer, a comedian, a quiz and bingo night. It was not the sort of thing that I enjoy, but I was quite happy to sit in the front lounge and play with my mobile phone and get up-to-date with my emails.
We had three trips planned; the first was to Tenby, which has a beautiful picturesque harbour which was accessed via a very steep path. My friend expertly guided me to the bottom, where we sat in the sun while children were playing on the beach. It was a wonderful day trip. The second was to Cardiff City, which again was a wonderful day out. We took a tour bus round all the highlights of the city.
Our last planned trip had to be cancelled as I was unwell. We also went into Porthcawl itself, which is not a very interesting place to visit, of the two days we went there the first day was spent sitting on various beach benches on the promenade, which was wonderful because it was so sunny, we could sit in the sun all day and eat outside. On the second visit it poured with rain, unfortunately there isn’t much to in bad weather, but we managed to find one bar that was open and I ended up dancing in the back room.
I have to say that the trip was an extremely good starter for somebody who is unable to see, and who was being guided by a partially sighted lady. My friend was excellent company and guide, she really looked after me well, even as I was ill one day and couldn't go out and had to stay in bed.
Following on this, my first trip as a blind person, I am looking forward to my next adventure. My friend is already planning for us to go on a cruise next year, so the world really is my oyster. One day in the next two or three years, maybe I’ll get to New Zealand which is one of my long term goals.