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Introduction

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by at my blog!

My name is Patrick Dembinski, and – especially after attending ICC2014 (more on that later) – I like to travel around, enjoying my independence! My original location is Stade, a small city near Hamburg in the north of Germany; but eversince 2007, I have been attending the BLISTA, a special school for blind and visually impaired students in Marburg. However, I try to travel home for the weekend at least once or twice in a month to visit my family and perhaps some of my friends at home.

In this blog, I want to talk step-by-step about the development of my personal independence, as well as possible obstacles I had to face and get clear of. I decided to write up my experiences because I heard a lot about other blind and partially sighted people (even older than I am) who always got told by their parents or other close people that they just can’t do that because they are worried something could happen to them or due to other reasons.

Being worried of people is totally okay. At some point, however, it’s a wrong approach to just tell them that they are not capable of doing it, just to keep them home safe and sound; but that’s not all. A lot of people – handicapped or not – can’t imagine how it is possible to become independent as a handicapped person in general. Therefore, I do also hope that this blog will reach some of you guys, so you can get a better point of view about what we are capable of.

I plan to keep you posted as often as possible, depending on how busy I am with other things, such as my traineeship on software development. Of course, it also depends on how often I am traveling around in the future and if there is something interesting to let you know about. I managed to catch up with all the past stories and the blog is now fully up to date! Anyway, it might still take some time to write up future activities before I can share them with you, depending on the free time available to me.

The reason why I am writing this in English is because I want to reach as many people as possible on an international basis. Should you plan to travel abroad, English is a must-have; you cannot expect that everybody – no matter where you are – speaks your native language. Anyway, for all the Germans: I shall probably write up a German version in the future, but an international approach is more important to me in first place; it already takes enough time to write up everything in one language.

Contact

In any case, if you have any questions for me or something else you’d like to talk about, do not hesitate to contact me via E-Mail at contact@patrickdembinski.org.

Happy reading, and please excuse the mess! 😉

What else happened on our Scandinavia trip?

Finally, some more news concerning the hyggelig time we had in Copenhagen and Stockholm!
There are a few reasons why it took me so long to come up with some more stories and especially why we ended up with only one audio log entry:
First off, concerning the audio log, I want to be honest: we either didn’t feel like recording another audio post because the time and place was rather inconvenient or we forgot about it when time and place was right because we just enjoyed the time and company, talking about other crazy stuff whatever came to our mind.
Secondly, ICC came right after, followed by a short break before work started and I got sick. :O

Nevertheless, I’d like to finish what I started and write up some thoughts out of my perspective about what else we did except for what we already talked about in our short audio post.
Additionally, I hope that we will also see some posts from my fellow companions’ perspectives in the near future.

On Sunday afternoon after our coffee break, we went on the free-walking tour with a group of other people from different nations and, of course, our tour-guide (a former student from the UK).
We learned a lot about the weirdness of the Danish language and if Danes enjoy something a lot like their beer, they feel hygge; and a hyggelig tid basically means a nice, great or enjoyable time. It is obviously a little difficult to really translate hygge properly, but “gesellig/Geselligkeit” in German or “gezellig/gezelligheid” in Dutch expresses it quite well.
During the tour – whereas, of course, there was a lot to see – it didn’t matter to me that I couldn’t see the attractions and POIs we came across on our tour. The stories our tour-guide told us about the Danish culture, language and history were very interesting to listen to and he also told them in a quite funny, very enthusiastic way so that it is present in your mind for way longer. Occasionally, as far as I still remember, he also sometimes described a few buildings.

After the walking tour, we had dinner in the hostel, although – thinking it over now – it wouldn’t have been necessary…
As I created a public trip on Couchsurfing hoping to find some people to hang out or even a host, Emil replied to our trip and invited us to come over. Since we already booked a hostel and the offer came one day before our trip, we didn’t need a sleeping place anymore. Still, we appreciated his offer and agreed dropping by for a hyggelig evening with him and some other couchsurfers staying with him as well.
At the end of the day, we could conclude that the time with Emil and the other couchsurfers at his place was the most hyggelig time we had on the entire trip! After a great dinner with different kinds of cakes as a dessert (all prepared by Emil and his Couchsurfing guests), we sat down in the living-room and Emil took his guitar, singing a Danish song, after which we joined him singing some English and German folk songs. Thinking back to that time, I really wish I took some more recordings…

One of the worst things that could happen to you on a trip is getting sick. As a matter of fact though, it happened, so the next morning, I stayed in the hostel to get some more sleep. When I felt better in the early afternoon, I decided to try Couchsurfing Hangouts and coincidentally, I happened to meet up with another traveler from Taiwan who also stayed in our hostel; so whereas the fresh air and the cold water helped me regenerating, we exchanged a few travel stories.

Somewhat later, Silke and Julien came back to the hostel to pick Moritz and me up. We actually wanted to see an exhibition about Vinyl records which was recommended to us, as it also featured some audio material, however, Monday appears to be the day in Denmark where most of the attractions are closed; maybe we can compare it with our good old German Sunday.
In any case, we alternatively decided to go to the botanical garden for a chill-out, after which we looked for a place to have dinner at.

The next day, we were really lucky that we went to the central station early in advance, because the train station staff told us that – due to whatever reason – the direct connection from Copenhagen to Stockholm was canceled. Therefore, they put us on a local train to Malmö and told us that someone would stand by there to get us to the x2000 train to Stockholm Södra.
In fact, there was nobody standing by on the platform to pick us up in Malmö; however, Silke did a great job finding the way to our desired platform and train. From there, at least from my perspective, the ride was a quite pleasant one, and I felt rested when we arrived in Stockholm, where we took a taxi to our hotel.
I was a little surprised when we found out that our hotel rooms were in the basement without any air-conditioning. As it was a Swedish hotel, they in general do not have any air-conditioning and in fact, they weren’t prepared for such a hot Summer season. Additionally, the rooms with two beds each were quite small and it seemed to be a little difficult arranging the luggage properly, which turned out to be easier than we first thought. Also – although we never really found out where it came from – we had a light breeze of air coming into our room and in the evening, it was a little colder down there anyway, so sleeping was not too much of a problem. Except for finding a place for dinner later on, there was nothing imparticular anymore we did that day.

Just as in Copenhagen, we booked a free-walking tour to get familiar with the city. Since I still felt sick, I stayed at the hostel together with Moritz and we ordered an Uber car later on to meet up with Silke and Julien at the port for a canal-tour by boat. And of course, no trip to Sweden is complete without some traditional Swedish food we enjoyed in a typical Swedish restaurant, before we went back to the hotel to sit down on the terrace, talking to other travelers we met there.

On Thursday, we ordered an Uber car to go to Skansen, the oldest open-air museum of the world, showcasing whole Sweden with houses and farmsteads from all over the country. It was quite a pitty that I was still recovering from my cold and therefore felt a little sick, so I decided to remain seated at a chilly place whereas the others toured Skansen. In any case, I’d love to come back to check out what I missed.

Our final dinner took place at the Hard-Rock café, where we also bought some t-shirts. 😉
Whereas I enjoyed some time on the hotel terrace socializing, Silke, Julien and Moritz went to sleep a little earlier, as their flights departed earlier than mine.

Moritz left as the earliest to catch his flight and I joined Silke and Julien for breakfast before they eventually left as well. Later after check-out, I was also on my way to Stockholm Arlanda airport.
The easiest way would have probably been taking an Uber car to directly go to the airport being dropped off at the service desk by the driver; the only disadvantage would have been the price I had to pay.
The receptionists as well as Silke and Julien told us about a city terminal close by with bus connections to the airports; tickets were priced at 99 crowns only (about €9.99 more or less) and easy to book with the Flygbus Arna app. The Uber car to the city terminal was also quite cheap and the driver helped me finding the right bus to Arlanda.
My biggest concern was how to not get lost and find the way to a service desk to claim my assistance. However, almost immediately another Swedish passenger offered his hjälp and gave me a hand finding the service desk. From there, everything went the way I was used to already, and I was astonished how smooth the ride to the airport went.
Finally arrived back in Hamburg where the journey began, my mother picked me up by car.

From my perspective, I can say that this trip was unforgettable, putting asside the occasional stress we had finding our way with three blind people and Silke as the only partially sighted person.
I enjoy traveling a lot; but the bigger the group and the more different people and their interests are, the more challenging – but also exhausting – it can be to organize a trip and possible activities, especially if three quarters of the group is blind.

ICC weekend coming up in Antwerp, Belgium!

You can now subscribe to the ICC weekend in Antwerp organized by ICC Belgium, taking place from November 2nd until November 4th. Whether you’re a participant, a parent/professional or if you’d like to help out as a volunteer, feel free to sign up! To add a little teaser: the workshop “Traveling Abroad” will take place again!

Find out more hereunder:
http://iccbelgium.org/icc-week-end-2018/

See you in Antwerp!

A train tour through Skansen

The wifi in Stockholm apparently caused trouble uploading the video, so here we go again; hope it works now…We decided it was time to hopp on a small train for a short ride through Skansen and although there’s nothing much to hear, you can apparently see a lot; sighted people I showed the video to actually thought that it wasn’t me who took the video, because it looks so professional…Feel free to give feedback and a few descriptions though, I’d love to find out what can be seen on the video as well! 😉

Site improvements June 13th, 2018

Hey folks!

I did some improvements to my website… You can now sign up with your email-address in order to keep track of what’s going on here in the future.

Secondly, I added a like-button for my Facebook page linked to this blog.

Furthermore, for everybody’s convenience, it is now possible to browse the blog by category with a dropdown list found at the bottom part of the page.

 

Enjoy reading, and please don’t hesitate to give me feedback or ask any question you might have by leaving a comment on my blog or on Facebook or drop me a line via email!

 

Have a pleasant time, and best greetings from Marburg! Cheers!