Putting Disabled Travellers First

There will come a time when disabled travellers will be able to be impulsive and arrive at a restaurant or bar for a night out, without checking its suitability beforehand. Wouldn’t it be nice to arrive at a venue for the first time in Javea and know that accessibility won’t be a problem? My intention is to provide you with disability information on bars and restaurants in Javea and the surrounding area.

My husband, Rob is paraplegic and a fiercely independent, manual wheelchair user and why should he not be! Why Accessibility Javea? We live in Javea and accessibility where you live is essential for an independent life.  Planning a night out should not be a military affair for everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves. Checking for disabled facilities and accessibility is a necessity and gives us the peace of mind that access will be step-free, and Rob will be able to access a disabled toilet. I want that for all disabled travellers.

Restaurants and bars

Restaurants and bars in Javea are becoming more aware of the need to share this disability information on their websites. However, in Spain, it is rare to find this information and be confident that it is accurate.  Often, we need to ask, Are there any steps?  Is there a  disabled access toilet that Rob can access? My aim is to provide some information for you so that you can feel confident that there will be access without having to call ahead or do a recce.

What do disabled travellers need?

Peoples lack of understanding as to why we need these accessible facilities in bars and restaurants diminishes with the more time that they spend with us. In time, friends begin to understand the implications of steps or a lack of a toilet to access.  However, the number of times that we have heard, “we’ll carry you! “or worse, “the waiters will carry you!”  True friends eventually come to understand that this is unacceptable for a person and so they should! – What self-respecting person wants to be carried like a baby into a restaurant full of people.  It is all about self-respect is it not? Which venue owner wants block access to people that want to visit?

Disabled access Parking

I have not even started the discussion as to whether there is disabled access parking yet. Parking is not a concern for us in Javea as Rob can push for some time and the Arenal beach area is relatively flat. However, I am aware that others are not so lucky and so the accessibility to a parking space nearby will be vital access information for some.

Space and tables and chairs for a wheelchair

But that is not all, is it? For us, going out for dinner together or with friends is a real treat. So, it should be a treat for all of us.  Our home is set up perfectly for Rob to move around, cook, eat and relax. Going out for Rob can be less about relaxing and more about compromising on his own comfort. Not all restaurants have disabled visitors in mind when setting out their floor plan or ordering tables and chairs. Rob stays in his manual wheelchair which means that the restaurant chair is taken away.

However, we find tables that are too narrow, too short for a wheelchair to fit under. Tables that have central leg supports which leaves the disabled person 80cms away from the table and struggling to reach or worse dropping food down them.

We hate having to disturb other diners because the gap to reach the table is too small or worse, the gap to reach the toilet is too narrow so now everyone knows where you are going.

Please know this – everyone we meet is so helpful, want to help and are pleased to help. But whatever happened to a quiet dinner and entering a restaurant and sitting down without drawing attention to ourselves. Rob particularly struggles with this. He does not incite attention, does not enjoy everyone turning to stare, does not want people to have to get up out of their chairs so that we can reach our table; wants to be just like everyone else.

Why a Blog with Disabled Travellers in Mind?

So, we are here. The reason for my blog. Three or four years ago, I was looking at Javea as a holiday destination, I searched for Javea disabled access and came across a blog from Annabelle at belleswheels.com. Immediately, it gave me an insight into Javea as a possible destination. Her post helped us to gain some information before we had even arrived and given us some reassurance that if she was recommending it to other wheelchair users, then there would be some places with disabled access.  As a result, we did go on holiday to Javea and eventually moved permanently in July 2019. Having disability information on the bars and restaurants in Javea would have made our first holiday much more enjoyable.

Information for Disabled Travellers

I decided when we arrived that I wanted to provide other disabled travellers with some information regarding accessibility in bars and restaurants that could really benefit them. It could make that difference when deciding upon a holiday destination, or arriving at a destination more prepared. We were visiting the restaurants anyway so why not take some pictures and provide others with the vital information that we lacked?

Relax, you’re on holiday

When you are on holiday, you do not have the benefit of lots of time to check out places. I want others to feel comfort in knowing some information regarding disabled access that they can rely upon, that will enhance their holiday.  Therefore, any restaurant or bar that we visit, I write a post for.

WARNING: My posts are written for the point of view of an independent wheelchair user who cannot take a step.  I apologise as I cannot comment on the venues from other disability viewpoints at this time but hope to change my perspective and expand my understanding. I would not presume to understand your personal perspectives but I hope that our perspective can give you some information that is helpful.. Finally, spontaneity is not a disabled traveller’s friend – but maybe with some vital information, we can feel a little more spontaneous.

Enjoy my restaurant and bar blogs. 

Linda Bishop

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