The Locked-In Traveler
(Kati’s Wheelchair Traveling Journals)
On the road again
(Click here for audio version)
In September 2019, we (my husband Henning, my two assistants and I) made a two-week road trip to Brussels, Belgium. It was the second time that I would be taking such a trip. We did it once before to the Netherlands in 2013.
The trip started in Finland’s previous capital, Turku. From there we took the cruise crossing the Baltic Sea to Stockholm.
After arriving in Stockholm, we drove to Kolding, Denmark to rest for the night. Many people think that we are rich. Mainly because of our attitude towards life, and maybe because of the way that I dress 😊. However, that is far from the truth. We are not rich at all. Our attitude is one of pure positive energy in mind, soul, and spirit. And, we do not waste our time and thoughts with negative energy, no matter how the media bombards us with it.
Get Kati’s autobiography; “Living Underwater”
On trips like this, we must cover the traveling, accommodation, and breakfast costs of the assistants. We must keep the costs as low as possible to make such trips.
The hotel we stayed in Kolding (Denmark) was a good one and I would recommend it to all who are traveling by road. It was just five hundred meters from the city center and had ample parking area. We had a big room for four and we paid less than one hundred Euros for one night.
The following morning, we continued our drive to Brussels, Belgium.
Our reason for going to Brussels was to attend the Fusion International Film Festival West, where the communication documentary which features the story of my life “Eyes can Tell” had several nominations. The film did not receive any awards but nevertheless we had a good time.
Making the most of our visit to Brussels, we filmed the final shots needed for our new documentary: “Beauty and the Wheelchair.”
With the working section done, we could start the holiday part.
We had one day left to enjoy the city of Brussels. After that, we continued our trip by visiting Amsterdam. Henning has family living in Amsterdam and it is always nice for him to meet with them. We stayed for three days in Amsterdam which is a city that I love. Besides being a colorful city, it is also a very accessible city for someone in a wheelchair. We even found a wheelchair accessible tour boat and I got the chance to see the city from the canals.
After Amsterdam, we headed to Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, we had proof that cheap is not always better. We had reserved accommodations at a hostel/camp area and although it was clean and well maintained, it still was too uncomfortable for me. The bed was small, and the mattress was hard. It was over thirty degrees during that day and the room had no air-conditioning. It was too hot to sleep. We were supposed to stay there for two days but at five a.m. Henning was on his tablet finding us another place to spend the next night.
In the morning we left for the city center and I got to visit and see parts of Copenhagen which I never saw before. At the end of the day, we crossed the border into Sweden and went to Malmö, to the hotel that Henning booked in the morning. My luck: the hotel was right in front of a mall which is one of the biggest ones in Scandinavia 😊.
Our last long drive; Malmö to Stockholm. Before going to the hotel, we went to a place I always longed to visit; The Drottningholm Palace (the queen´s summer palace). It was just as I imagined it to be and to walk through the gardens on a warm sunny day was truly a delight.
In Stockholm, we had our second taste of; cheap is not always better. As we approached the hotel, we saw a nice brick building and I thought to myself what a nice place. But as we got closer, we realized that the actual hotel was behind the building ad it was not nice at all. All though clean, it was old and not well taken care of and even smelled a bit stuffy. Thank God that it was just for one night.
The last day of our journey was in Stockholm city center. We had exceptionally good luck with the weather during the whole trip. We had all the time a temperature of around and over 30 degrees and no rain whatsoever. It was only on these last two days in Stockholm that we had a bit cooler 22 degrees and it was until we were walking back to the harbor to take the boat back to Finland that we got a bit of light rain.
That night we took the cruise back home to Finland. On arrival back on country soil we were tired but satisfied.
We have posted a video on YouTube about our road trip. It is called; Kati and Henning European road trip 2019. Feel free to check it out.
Get Kati’s autobiography; “Living Underwater”
(Kati & Henning van der Hoeven)
I just happened upon your Ted Talk so decided to look up your blog. I see this trip took place about a year before this horrible Covid19 virus. I haven’t traveled much in my lifetime. I’m 58 years old and just retired from teaching first graders for many years. When this pandemic is over, maybe I should just take action like you said in your talk and see this beautiful world. No excuses. Just do it! I hope you and your husband are well. I’m glad to have found you and your story! God bless you and keep you safe!
Hi Kati, thanks for sharing your story. I’ve watched several of the videos on your YouTube channel, and I’m happy that many joys of life surround you. Best, Aaron