I always knew that going on holiday with my good friend Linn would be a giggle fest! We like the same things and have the same weird sense of humour. I have always been a very visual person – I love scenery and usually snap everything in sight. Being blind, Linn experiences things in a different way and as a writer has an amazing way of describing what she is experiencing. With this in mind we decided to visit Wales on a girly break from London, a sensory adventure – chatting and snapping as we went.
Day one of our trip…
The journey to Llandudno, Wales: Arrival at Euston Station
Linn: “So will your friend find you here,” the cab driver asks and puts my suitcase next to me on the steps outside Euston station. “Let’s hope so,” I reply. I am excited about this trip – excited because I’ve never been to Wales but mostly seeing Kiesha again. Since I moved back to Norway, it’s been just e-mails and one long telephone conversation. I dig in my handbag for my phone and text Kiesha to let her know where I am.
Kiesha: I wake up early, super excited to see Linn. My journey to Euston involves an overground train and a 5 minute walk – simple. Linn on the other hand, who is blind, will catch a cab given the morning rush – her journey on the underground would have been awful with or without assistance. I arrive at Euston Station and trying to find Linn is harder than I thought it would be. Linn’s cab driver has dropped her off outside the station, but has not told her exactly where! After a few phone calls back and forth, I finally spot her springy blonde curls, leopard print scarf, black leather jacket and white cane – as always, Linn looks fabulous.
The journey to Wales: On our way to Llandudno
Linn: “Hello lovely!” I turn and hear Kiesha excitedly running towards me. We hug and it really is good to meet again after all this time. The talking starts as we walk down the platform; I put my cane away and grab her arm as we quick step through the crowds. Once settled on board, the conversation continues around nothing and everything – we talk about the frustrations and joys of men, fashion and food, not necessarily in that order.
Kiesha: Being Linn’s ‘sighted guide’ is pretty much the same as when I walk arm in arm with my other gal pals – we seamlessly glide through the crowds and I check the board for our trains – we are late! We forego the coffees and after a bit of hassle with bag space, I get us both seated and go for coffee. All set, I proceed to tell Linn literally everything. By the time I come up for air, we have arrived in Llandudno – 3 hrs have miraculously turned into 5 minutes! I blinked and missed the entire journey.
Arrival in LLandudno, Wales
Linn: The sea air caresses my senses as soon as we get off the train in Llandudno – I breathe it in and savor every bit of it. Being blind, obviously I will not be able to see the sea, but I love the smell of it; it reminds me of childhood summers playing on the beach. I turn to Kiesha. “This is entirely different from London” I say. “It’s so quiet,” she replies. And it is. I can hear the traffic far away and there are people around us, but unlike London there is space to walk and space to breathe.
Kiesha: Stepping out from the station, I can see for miles, which is the first real first shock to my system. Living in London means being surrounded by tall buildings (most of the time), especially at ground level. Llandudno is green, really green – I reach for my camera and go crazy. Despite the clouds threatening rain, Llandudno is absolutely beautiful.
Journey to the Cable Car
Linn: After dumping our things at the hotel, we ask reception to book a taxi for us – we are off to ride the cable car and tram. Making sense of the cabs in Llandudno is also rather tricky. They have seats facing each other like the London cabs, but the cars are shaped differently and at first, I get confused when Kiesha’s voice came towards me instead of next to me, and again when the driver gets in behind me. The chatty cab driver is insistent on trying to ‘save us money’ by suggesting he drive us along the routes of the tram and the cable car. Maybe, if we could both see it would have been a nice option. However, this would just be another car ride for me, as I would get no pleasure from the view, we kindly, but firmly let him know that we aren’t prepared to change our plans.
Linn: We leave the cab and it’s a brisk walk up a hill which I can feel is getting steeper and steeper. The weather feels a little overcast, but the air is fresh and there is a nice breeze. I can hear Kiesha excitedly snapping away with her camera and even if my sight is as good as a bat’s, I can tell the view is amazing. The sounds of the traffic, waves and seagulls are very faint below us and from walking so far and leaning over the fence; I instinctively know that we are very high up.
Kiesha: The only thing stopping me from turning on my heels and running away is the breathtaking view on the way to the cable car. I hate heights; I am one of those people who will always look down. This said, the higher we hike the more beautiful the view becomes. When we reach the top we find out that the cable car is actually cancelled for the day – there is a storm coming – I do a secret little dance for joy!
Linn: We get back to the hotel and joke that after the sea air and the amazing four course meal we have just had, we are much more excited about herbal tea, slippers and a warm duvet than after dinner cocktails! We head off to bed, we have an early start and a trip to Alice in Wonderland tomorrow…
Stay posted for part 2 of our trip!
To listen to our holiday diary, visit our Audioboo page: https://audioboo.fm/StyleAble
For more information about visiting Wales, go to the Visit Wales website: www.visitwales.com
For information on accessibility in Wales go to: http://www.visitwales.com/explore/accessible-wales