Linn does a touch tour

Linn's touch tour of white rabbit

Find out how two friends – one blind and one sighted – experience the same holiday to Llandudno, Wales differently.

A visit to Alice in Wonderland…

Linn: Today is the Alice in Wonderland tour. As this was Kiesha’s idea, I have no idea what this tour is actually about – but I do know Alice in Wonderland. Apparently the tour also includes a fantastic app.

Kiesha: We arrive at the Alice in Wonderland tour, only to find out that the tour app is not available until the end of the month! Bummer. Thankfully, the people responsible for the 3D ‘Alice Origins’ app, Simon Burrows and Barry Mortlock are local and on hearing we are in town, agree to take us around. Score!  I had heard that the app would add both visual and audio elements to the tour, so would appeal to the both of us. Simon and Barry explain that the app can be downloaded on to a smart phone or iPad and will combine GPS positioning, augmented reality and digital animation – the characters from the book actually appear in 3D and have voices too!

From the White Rabbit to the Cheshire Cat

Linn: We arrive at the White Rabbit. Simon informs me that all of the sculptures are made of Oakwood and the rabbit feels soft and smooth to the touch. Luckily, I can feel most of the rabbit’s features with my hands, except for the ears which are too high up. I am amazed by the detail and excited that I can even read the numbers on the rabbit’s pocket watch and make out the hairs on his bushy tail. We head off down to the pier where the Mad Hatter is waiting for us with a door mouse at his feet and a teapot in his hand. He feels equally soft and smooth and you can tell that he is very well made. The tour finishes with me hugging the Cheshire cat statue and sitting in a teacher’s chair near the pier – the back is shaped like a book and Alice in Wonderland is written on the back in letters that I can read through touch.

Digital image of Simon and Linn with Mad Hatter

Kiesha: Whilst Linn does a touch tour of the sculpture, I take some great snaps of Linn and the gorgeous scenery. I realise that I don’t have any photos of myself and decide to take a ‘selfie’…I reconsider.

Our holiday is over

Kiesha: I have had such a great time that I make a promise to return to Llandudno soon. Being only 3 hours away, I begin to question why I never really leave London to explore what the rest of the UK has to offer. On the train back I close my eyes and drift off to the gentle rocking and the sun streaming in through the window – the first time I have ever actually slept on a train.

Linn: We are exhausted on the train ride back to ‘the big smoke’. We sit quietly next to each other reading and replying to e-mails, tweeting, listening to music and snoozing. All in all, I am very happy with this little holiday. I am admittedly a little disappointed that we didn’t get to ride the tram although, unless the apocalypse comes upon us, Llandudno won’t be going anywhere – so I can always go back.

Linn and the Alice in Wonderland Chair

Back in London

Linn: The air stands still around us and people are busy – possibly because they need to catch a train, bus or because they’re meeting someone. But I suspect most people are busy appearing busy, as is often the case in London. We are knackered, but more awake and we start to compare the soundscapes of London with that of LLandudno. “I’m not missing the seagulls,” I giggle as we walk towards King’s cross St Pancras “…but I do miss the waves.” London is the kind of city that can have me break down twice in one day, however it is the only city where I feel at home and where I blossom. Even though breaks are sorely needed from time to time, being back feels good too.

Llandudno pier

Kiesha takes me down to the tube station where I get assistance immediately (very good that) – but for once I wouldn’t have minded it taking longer so we could chat just a little bit more. We hug again and promise to Whatsapp each other as soon as we get home. We will need to stay n touch as we still have years of great travelling ahead of us. I for one can’t wait for our next adventure…

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