We had a wonderful time on our ‘minibreak’. As expected, the train ride there and back were amongst the biggest highlights and we lost count of the number of times BC asked to go to the toilet. To help explain his toilet on the big train fascination, they have disabled accessible toilets which have flashing buttons to open the door, close the door, lock the door, flush the toilet, activate the water, activate the hand drying and then unlock and open the door again. For a little boy who loves buttons that make things happen, that’s a pretty irresistable combination ;-).
The town we visited was lovely too. Echuca is a well known tourist destination on the banks of the Murray river. It’s also a part of Australia that’s been hit very hard by recent droughts. It was terribly, terribly dry and the rivers are quite low. BUT the tourist part of town was very vibrant and the boys enjoyed the ride on a Paddle Steamer and a look around the museums and displays in the area.
What was a real eye-opener to me, was how low down the list of priorities disabled access is outside of the big cities. There were a few places where this was inevitable because we were visiting a historic site (eg going down the steps of the historic wharf), but in other places, it seemed not much more than laziness that a ramp hadn’t been put in here or there to make acccess a little easier. And in one place, there was ramp access to a door that meant we’d avoid carrying the stroller up some steps, but when we got to the door, it was locked! We banged on the door and asked them to open it, but the lady inside signalled for us to walk around up the steps. When we got inside, via the steps and I asked (quite grumpily) why the door wasn’t accessible, she just shrugged and said she didn’t know and the door just wasn’t used anymore. Sigh.
Aside from that, it was a great time away. The other big highlight for both BC and my DH was the spa in our lovely accommodation. BC had 4 in a day (and for those who might think we weren’t being waterwise, we didn’t change the water in between ;-).
As good as it was to get away, it was equally good to come home. It was just enough of an excursion out of the city to recharge our batteries so that we can now start all the Christmas activities ;-).