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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of 2009 - Accessible Destination

It's amazing how accessible this destination is.  All subway stations, train stations, and buses were accessible.  Curb cuts on every corner and smooth sidewalks.  Very walkable (or rollable) and easy to get around.  Heck, even some of the ancient buildings have had accessibility added to them.  It's Munich, the capitol of Bavaria in southern Germany.  The only kink in the armor that I could see is that maybe every third tram was an inaccessible older model but they come by every few minutes and most of them are accessible with ramps deployed behind the driver.

My favorite accessible transit feature is the elevator at the Marienplatz takes you from the platform right up into the plaza itself, just in front of the Glockenspeil.

I know there has been a dark history here regarding people with disabilities but walking around Munich today, you wouldn't know it.  Wheelchairs abound and the people are very accepting and accomodating. 

I wish I could find an American city that is this friendly for wheelchairs.  You can see our report on Munich here.



  1. I love Munich (my uncle lives there), and I think you're right about the trams, but I found the subways very difficult - the gap between the platform and the car is dangerously wide, and I had to enlist strangers to help me make the jump in my manual chair.

    Here's my Munich accessibility story (I speak German, and don't have much of an American accent): My uncle and I went to the Alte Pinakothek. Many, if not most, European museums have reduced or free entrance for disabled people. My uncle asked about free admittance, and the museum person said, yes, of course, but we must see your disabled identity card ("Behindertenausweis"). I said that I was an American, and that we didn't have a Behindertenasuweis. In vain I showed him my US accessible parking permit, the nearest thing I could come up with. No dice. We paid the regular admission and I rolled on in.

  2. On the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, I never saw more than an inch gap. In London, I saw many that were at least 12 inches.

    As far as the museum entrance, yeah, I guess it depends on who is working the entrance. We had no problem. There was one restroom, at Dachau, where the lady at the counter said to use our key (in Europe, disabled people can get a key to access public accessible restrooms). She couldn't believe we didn't have one...I had to explain that we do not have that scheme in the United States. She finally loaned one to me.

    We had a great time in Bavaria.


  3. Ah, we got the key, but had to leave a 30Euro deposit. Of course I wound up taking my key back to the States, and had to mail it back to my uncle so he could get his 30Euro back.

    You're right, I shouldn't complain about the Munich gap, the London gap is potentially deadly!

    Glad to hear you had a great time - I'm ready to go back (as soon as it warms up and the Christmas bomber TSA reactive panic has died down a little).

  4. I'd go back in a minute. I'd even put up with the new restrictions...though I'd rather not...but I'd wait until the weather warmed up a bit.