#DostupnoEurotrip. First week

When Ukrainians come to Krakow, they say, 'Wow! It's like Lviv but bigger.' And when the Polish come to Lviv, they say, 'Wow! It's like Krakow but bigger.' I will not go into details about the size of these cities in general, but a historical part of Lviv is bigger. Krakow, however, is a few steps ahead in its accessibility.

Krakow has almost the same facilities as Warsaw, which I writing about a year ago: no barriers in the streets, there are slopes at all pedestrian crossings, and there's almost no underground walkways left. And if there's an underground walkway, there's also a long ramp, which is comfortable for everyone –wheelchair users or parents with baby strollers.
There's tactile paving for people with visual impairment everywhere. Polish are trying to make their streets more comfortable by adding paving stones in the middle of regular asphalt streets. Accessibility can be achieved by using creativity and simple materials. Accessibility is not something sky-high.

There are still high vehicles, but there are more vehicles with low floor wheelchair access. The following day in Krakow, I fell down when I was getting into a low-floor trolleybus. As there was no driver call button to lower the ramp, Kostia and I decided to give it a shot. We, however, didn't take into account the fact that Kostia didn't have experience of handling a person in a wheelchair, so I fell on my back. Fortunately, my back support took the hit. It's a good lesson for us how to communicate our actions in the future :)
Even though our first experience from #DostupnoEurotrip we had earlier than expected. Kyiv International Airport (Zhuliany). Security control.

'Sit here,' said an airport staff in rather rude manner. Spain, Seychelles, Poland, Portugal…that's not a complete list of countries I've been to. And I've always travelled by plane. I'm not sure if the rules have changed or if something was wrong but it was the first time ever I was forced to move from my wheelchair to a chair.

'Would you mind moving to the chair? Is there anything else you need?' in a few hours, a Krakow airport employee – smiling – gave us a good example of communication with a person, with or without disabilities. Wheelchair doesn't define anything.
Meanwhile, his colleague in Kyiv had a puzzle to complete. What's the solution? There is a wheelchair that needs to be scanned (width: of 56 cm) and a baggage scanner (width: 50 cm). What to do? Ask the wheelchair user to disassemble it? No, it's too simple. Disassemble the wheelchair by himself? No, it's too complicated. So the most suitable solution is to squeeze the wheelchair into the scanner even though it doesn't fit in. 'Sounds ok.' (с)

— Wait, you'll break the wheelchair (I interfered)
— How can it be disassembled? (Having realized that his efforts were useless, the employee asked. He wasn't addressing to me, but rather to my travel companion Kostia Ichko.)
— Give me the wheelchair, I'll disassemble it. (I continued)
— Will you help or not? How do I manage this? (The airport employee was deliberately ignoring my presence and kept referring to Kostia)
— Talk to me! (I started to raise my voice getting rather angry) This is my wheelchair. I'm the passenger here! Why the heck are you referring to him in the first place?
My words brought the airport employee to his senses, he brought the wheelchair closer to me. One easy move et voilà! One wheel is removed. Another easy move and the second wheel is removed. I put down the back of the wheelchair, and it's ready to be scanned.

This mess always happens when they don't refer to me directly but to a person who is travelling with me this has been happening before. For people with disabilities, such attitude is quite common. People still do not understand, it's not just about the airport, it's about the fact that people should refer directly to a person in a wheelchair – not to their companion or random passersby, but to the person. This doesn't mean that airport staff is bad. It means we all have to learn how to communicate with people who have disabilities, there's a long way to go.
During this short period of the journey we met many incredible people. And Team DostupnoUA is sharing their stories, as well as our hitchhiking stories, with you on Facebook every day. If you missed them on our Facebook page, our travel blog is below.
I'm finishing writing this story in a police car. Kostia and I were arrested because we stopped at a highway (for future reference, this is prohibited). We are law-abiding citizens, so didn't resist and got into the car. Even this is an adventure and a new unexpected experience :) Where will we stay for the night? I don't know yet. But a warm and free Polish police cell doesn't seem so bad ;) #DostupnoEurotrip continues!