Monday, April 16, 2012

Exploring London with a Chronic Illness

Travelling in general has become more complicated for me since I gradually developed adhesions as a result of a surgery in 2005. They are now part of my body and that for the rest of my life (unless it pleases God to free me from them). Most likely they won’t kill me, which is a good thing, but they are unpredictable, so I never know what will happen within the following few minutes. I can feel great in one minute and terrible in the next. They can cause more or less severe pain, nausea or bowel issues (which means I have to be careful what and how much I eat), low blood pressure and general indisposition and weakness.

Therefore planning the trip started with how to get to London. Hermann is very fond of going by train, so if I had still been healthy we probably would have taken a train to Paris and the Eurostar from there, but since I’m unable to sit for such long hours it was out of the question. Of course one can move around a bit in a train, but not enough for my needs. So flying was the better option. We took a flight from Stuttgart to Heathrow which meant a little more than one hour by car, about 1.5 hours by plane and from Heathrow another hour by tube.

As accommodation we booked a holiday apartment, so that I could take my time in the morning and was able to eat breakfast in the comfortable clothes I usually wear in the house and with my feet on a chair which helps my blood pressure remain stable. Of course I couldn’t have done these things in a hotel. Also we were able to cook our own food, so that we decided and knew what was in there. For several days we lived on pasta with tomato purée and salad. Not very original, but good for my well-being.

The apartment was quite close to the city centre and had a tube station nearby, so we were able to get back in a rather short period of time, if I started feeling unwell (which wasn’t often the case, thank God!). Also our daily schedule was not as full as that of normal tourists. We took our time in the mornings and sometimes returned to the apartment during the day to take a break before visiting the next destination. For some people this may sound like a terrible waste of time, but it wasn’t for us. We enjoyed just being in London and also in the very comfortable flat. Even though we wished we could have stayed longer we didn’t have the feeling that we had missed anything. Instead of visiting lots of museums and other typical tourist sites, we looked at rather unusual places and met wonderful London people like Gordon and Ruth from Belmont Hall in Harrow, Laura from About London, Lauren a.k.a. Deadly Knitshade and several others – which was worth more than anything else :)

I’m really grateful for having had the opportunity to get to know a different side of London and we are both looking forward to (and planning!) our next visit already which will most certainly not be a typical tourist visit either ;)


Wendy said...

Sounds like a fun vacation. I'd love to visit your side of the world. We don't take typical holidays either, but that is because of our three energetic boys. They don't suffer museums, art galleries or shopping! And actually I don't like doing the typical touristy stuff either. I say, Be Original!

Laura said...

It was wonderful to meet you during your time in London and I reckon you should be proud of yourself for making the trip as many others would forget their dreams and stop travelling when health issues arise. You still did an enormous amount in your few days in London and seeing it at your own pace, and not as an endurance test, is something many visitors could do with learning. See you next year!