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Wanting to go abroad - advice please?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I have only been abroad once - that was a trip to Berlin with school in 2005. I really want to go abroad again.

As someone who has only been abroad once, are there any places I should / shouldn't go to? I do like the sound of France or maybe Belgium. I like walking, music, sport and science. I would love to go skiing; although my parents aren't that keen on the idea of me skiing due to my disabilities.

I only speak English. I do know a few words in French and Spanish; but not enough to have a conversation or two with someone.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you should go to Paris - its very pretty, most people will speak english - there is enough to do for a short break and its fairly easy to get around on public transport.

    Most places you go to there will be people who speak english especially if they are touristy type so it should not be that hard for you to get along.

    I love belgium but not brussels - but a short break to somewhere like brugge, ghent or antwerp could also be good. In general I think city breaks are the best place to start. If you want a seaside experiene then there are quite a few on the med as well.

    I don't think that having a disability should preclude you from sking there are quite a few sking companies which offer disability friendly sking so i'd do some research
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That said, if you struggle with basic work in a charity shop, then you'll need to look at specialist skiing trips for disabled people, rather than a main stream trip.

    Having just come back from a weekend in The Netherlands, I would highly recommend it as an easy international trip.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wyetry wrote: »
    I don't think that having a disability should preclude you from sking there are quite a few sking companies which offer disability friendly sking so i'd do some research

    That's what I was thinking too - parents said it was more of a safety thing because I have limited side vision and can't always turn my head without hurting myself in some way.

    I did look at some holidays for disabled people - but they were double the cost they charge for non-disabled people - yet, aside from dietary needs and maybe a bit more supervision, I wouldn't need that much more extra help.

    I think Austria (?) do have skiing trips for disabled people.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Austria is a whole country - I'm pretty sure there will be trips for disabled people there. It's a bit like saying England has wheelchair friendly shopping centres though. Would need rather a lot more research.

    If you can't turn your head without risking hurting yourself, then possibly skiing isn't the best point to be starting international travels with. It's a pretty key action. Having got whiplash on a ski holiday last year, I rapidly learnt I couldn't snow board at all afterwards, and I could only ski because I am a very competent skiier and can compensate by moving my whole body enough to be able to see what's going on around me.

    If you're really keen to try skiing, get a lesson on a dry or artificial slope in the UK. If you want to try going abroad, go for something different.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skiing is not an easy sport. Technically you shouldn't need a great deal of peripheral vision as you should always be looking down the slope, but until you're pretty competent then you will need peripheral vision. However you shouldn't underestimate how physically demanding skiing is, if you have mobility problems (even minor mobility problems) you will probably struggle with skiing. It is very tough on the legs, especially the thighs and calves, and you can hurt yourself quite badly if you don't have the fitness. I've buggered my knee up skiing before and I'm fairly fit (although I'm not a very competent skiier).

    There's nothing wrong with going off exploring though, it depends on how comfortable and confident you are generally. You can get by with English in most countries, especially the touristy places, but knowing a few words to show willingness is always a good thing. IME it's normally a fight to get the shopkeepers to not speak English as they all want to practice it.

    You might like the Salzkammergut region of Austria around Salzburg. Plenty of pretty lakes and pretty mountains and pretty villages and good walking. Unlike wyetry I also have a fondness for Brussels.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you get a lot of english speakers in belgium. Being a small country they tend to be quite hot on languages and most people will speak 2 or 3
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    With Belgium there's also the issue that the Wallonnes won't speak Flemish and the Flemish won't speak Wallonne, so they all speak English to avoid losing face. Don't make the mistake of trying to speak Wallonne/French in Brugge...

    I kind of admire the Belgians, they still don't have a government after a year :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you have any family/friends abroad that you could stay with? I went to america on my own last year and stayed with relatives, it was a nice way to begin to get the hang of travelling independantly while still having a bit of a safety net.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    Do you have any family/friends abroad that you could stay with? I went to america on my own last year and stayed with relatives, it was a nice way to begin to get the hang of travelling independantly while still having a bit of a safety net.

    We do have family (and I do have a friend there) in Belgium. However, they are basically strangers to me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    We do have family (and I do have a friend there) in Belgium. However, they are basically strangers to me.

    That's ok... I had not seen my family in NZ for... 14 years? (i was young when they came to the uk) so i didn't know them at all but we ended up all getting on so well!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    skakitty wrote: »
    That's ok... I had not seen my family in NZ for... 14 years? (i was young when they came to the uk) so i didn't know them at all but we ended up all getting on so well!

    :yes: A lot of staying with people is just about having a safe base and a local phone number. It's reassuring I found, even when I went to Texas and just stayed with friends of a friend.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can get by with English in most countries, especially the touristy places, but knowing a few words to show willingness is always a good thing. IME it's normally a fight to get the shopkeepers to not speak English as they all want to practice it.

    I found this when I was in Germany. I got by with English; but sometimes it felt as though the locals would've preferred us (it was a school trip) to speak German.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    People always overhype the physical demands of casual skiing. If you can run the Race For Life you can ski. Stick to the easy slopes (as a complete beginner should!) and you won't cause yourself any permanent harm. Maybe you could give it a try on a dry slope first.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    but sometimes it felt as though the locals would've preferred us (it was a school trip) to speak German.
    no shit?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    I found this when I was in Germany. I got by with English; but sometimes it felt as though the locals would've preferred us (it was a school trip) to speak German.

    Who'd have thunk it, German people preferring for you to speak to them in German? The horror.

    If you don't feel that your language skills are good enough, stay within the UK. Jersey is lovely at this time of year.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    minimi38 wrote: »
    People always overhype the physical demands of casual skiing. If you can run the Race For Life you can ski. Stick to the easy slopes (as a complete beginner should!) and you won't cause yourself any permanent harm. Maybe you could give it a try on a dry slope first.

    huh? Where did I ever say I was running Race for Life? If you bothered to read any of my posts, you'd see I'm walking it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    huh? Where did I ever say I was running Race for Life? If you bothered to read any of my posts, you'd see I'm walking it.

    That's a little unfair, your signature still says you're running it.

    Arctic Roll has a point, there are loads of places to go that are English-speaking. One of my friends loves visiting Gibraltar (south of Spain, still British).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Who'd have thunk it, German people preferring for you to speak to them in German? The horror.

    If you don't feel that your language skills are good enough, stay within the UK. Jersey is lovely at this time of year.

    To be fair though when i'm away and try and speak the local language 99% of the time the reply will be in english....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It will be, definitely. I had that in the sud-Tirol; I spoke (fairly crappy) German and they replied in English. Worked well- they learned my language and I learned a bit of theirs.

    It's about showing a bit of willing I think.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wyetry wrote: »
    To be fair though when i'm away and try and speak the local language 99% of the time the reply will be in english....

    in france recently i had a whole conversation with Gilles uncle - him speaking to me in english and me replying in french lol. Both of us wanted to practice.

    I think even if they know a bit of english, if you go to another country you should at least learn a few basic phrases and take a phrasebook. Noone expects you to be fluent, but its rude to not even show willing
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    huh? Where did I ever say I was running Race for Life? If you bothered to read any of my posts, you'd see I'm walking it.

    That's quite rude given that it says in your signature that you're running it...
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Don't make the mistake of trying to speak Wallonne/French in Brugge...

    :lol: I totally did that, after being so used to speaking french in Brussels. Very :blush:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think even if your language skills are crap, at least making the effort can go a long way.
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