Martyn Sibley
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Martyn Sibley is a passionate disability campaigner, who is dedicated to inspiring, informing and changing the world around disability issues. Although he requires support with all aspects of daily life, (whether crossing the road, accessing public transport or overcoming stereotypes) he lives independently, drives a car, runs his own business and has undertaken trips to Australia, America and many parts of Europe. Read more on www.martynsibley.com

Entries by Martyn Sibley

Bask For All: Part Two

(0) Comments | Posted 28 June 2016 | (01:39)


Welcome back to my musings on the beautiful area of the Basque country in northern Spain. The long wait is finally over to hear all about "the most accessible hotel I've ever stayed in".


Now, I know I'm a positive optimist with a 'glass half full' perspective on life. However I've never said such a huge compliment before about an accessible travel accommodation. That is until I stayed in Astoria 7, San Sebastian.


As I rolled into the lobby everything looked familiar and usual. Of course the parking, step free access and lift were essential. This rightly is becoming more normal these days for disabled travellers. Then we headed for the room, named the 'John Travolta' room (every room is named after a famous actor due to the San Sebastian film festival theme). After being struck by the many photos of the famous actor, I was struck by many more surprises.


We were shown how the ceiling hoist (something you rarely ever see in a hotel) was designed to go from the bed to the bathroom, over the toilet and into the wetroom shower. There was also a double drainage system allowing a support assistant to stand with more room (and without floods).


The real kicker for me was the assistive technology that was installed. By using a variety of hardware options (a large or small remote control, or a bleeper system for those without arm function, or the iPad provided, or your own smart phone with the relevant app installed) everything was possible!


I could open and close the main door and bathroom door. I could turn on and off the lights. I could raise different parts of the bed. I could operate everything on the TV. I was in accessible tourism heaven!



Here's the Pulp Fiction style video that showcases everything I've described

Unfortunately I couldn't stay in the room for the whole trip. There was serious accessible tourism work to do. So back to our itinerary...


After the vineyard discussed in Part One, we visited the small area of Getaria. With some tapas and coffee, we enjoyed the views and spoke about the project together. Then after some press interviews, we headed for a Michelin Star dinner at Kokotxa Restaurant.


Those who know me will agree I've always been a fussy eater. Or 'tiquismiquis' in Spanish. Fortunately my beautiful Kasia is slowly kicking this out of me. Nonetheless I can still appreciate good quality food and drink. Our trip to Kokotxa didn't disappoint.


We were served up local delicacies including:


- Seasonal vegetables and tubers
- Ravioli squid cooked with broth and corn
- Hake pil pil (one of my favourites!)
- A delicious piece of Iberian pig
- Raspberry sponge, cakes, fruits, yoghurt and mint.


The flavours. The smells. The colours. What a fantastic experience!


On the third and final day we started with a round table discussion. People from local disability groups, the local governments tourism department, private sector tourism businesses, and so forth, all attended.


I'd had a feeling of some magic ingredients at play throughout our trip. The inclusive sports centre on the beach front. The accessible bars and restaurants. The accessible transport. The super hotel. I was surprised how accessible the whole city was! At the discussion it all fell into place.


Martyn-meeting-other-people-(disabled-and-not) - CopyLocal disabled people were very integrated in local decision making. They were accepted as citizens with rights and customers who have money, like anyone else. This equality, joint decision making, and co production resulted in many amenities being accessible.


The clever guys from Bask For All saw an opportunity to package up the area as an accessible destination for disabled holiday makers. The general tourism department understood the economic benefits of this too.


Naturally the local disabled people and the prospective travellers will demand more from San Sebastian, the Guipuzcoa region, and beyond. However in creating and showcasing such an inclusive place; it creates a catalyst of opportunity, success and goodwill from all stakeholders.


We finished the day with a cooking class at San Sebastian food. We learned all about the history and culture of the Basque people, and how it's showcased in their food. I had a height adjustable table, cut the meat and peeled the potatoes. No more excuses for me!


Kasia-and-Martyn-holding-a-potatoAfterwards we all ate our final meal together. It was delicious. Doubly delicious because we had made it. It was great to chat about our experiences together, how everything was so accessible, and how it should be a blueprint for the rest of the world. Well done and thank you to Bask For All, San Sebastian Tourism, Guipuzcoa Tourism Diputación and Basque Tour.


Have you been to San Sebastian before? Did you find it to be very accessible too? Do you know of similar destinations elsewhere? I'd love to hear your experiences too :-)


Martyn Sibley

World Changing Blogger | Facebook | Twitter | Linked In | Google+
Ceo and Co-Founder Disability Horizons
Co-Founder Accomable
Co-Founder Accessible...

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Driving Through Europe With My Thumb

(0) Comments | Posted 24 June 2016 | (12:20)

Martyn-and-Kasia-with-mountains-and-lake-in-the-background

At the end of April, Kasia and I left the United Kingdom on a big adventure. Due to my disability the vehicle we took had a ramp for access and hand controls for me to drive. The car was packed...

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Bask For All: Part One

(0) Comments | Posted 31 May 2016 | (10:29)

Last December I spoke at an accessible tourism conference in Barcelona. After being on stage, many significant people approached me - including Javier from Barcelona Special Traveller, Cristian Rodriguez who now runs Disability Horizons in Spain, Isabel Godoy from Costa Brava tourism, and Ruben Gonzalez from Bask...

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Think. Act. Pause. Learn. Repeat.

(0) Comments | Posted 18 May 2016 | (13:54)

martyn and kasia in greek ruins

Time has flown by once again since my last post. With the solar system, earth and my mind still in tact (just about); all is ok though. I'm currently writing from our second (or is...

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Are We a Step Closer to 3D Printing Disability Equipment?

(1) Comments | Posted 5 May 2016 | (18:23)

For some time now, along with many others, I have been watching if and how 3D printing can revolutionise the mobility sector. It would be too easy to take cheap shots at certain companies in the current market place. However I'll just say that product innovation, value for money,...

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Can We Fight Discrimination With Data?

(0) Comments | Posted 2 May 2016 | (19:08)

I've finally found an hour to write a blog post for you all. Apologies it's been so long. I'm currently musing as Kasia watches a movie on her Amazon Fire, while we bob along in our Pont Aven cabin (with Brittany Ferries) from Plymouth to Santander. We're heading to...

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Accessible Travel Week: Accessible Accommodation

(0) Comments | Posted 3 April 2016 | (18:03)

Accessible travel week ribbon - low res
Are you unsure of the most accessible places to stay when travelling? Does the thought of staying anywhere other than your bedroom, where you have all your equipment, panic you?

I'm running an awesome...

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Launching Accessible Travel Week

(0) Comments | Posted 29 March 2016 | (20:31)

5.e Mount Teide Tenerife

I have always had a passion for travel and for helping others. It's very rare in life that two things we enjoy can go together. Ever since I left my London job and travelled more; this...

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My Visit to the Thermal Waters of Archena Spa in Spain

(0) Comments | Posted 28 March 2016 | (13:44)

Nearly a week has passed since landing back in the UK from Spain. Unfortunately we were delayed for 3 hours, but with other flights being cancelled, we were actually lucky to get home. This week took me to Virgin Atlantic HQ near Gatwick and a Holiday Inn hotel around...

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Accessible Murcia

(0) Comments | Posted 20 March 2016 | (18:15)

For a few months Kasia, her brothers crew in Peterborough and her parents in Poland were planning a 2 week holiday in the sun. With access, finances and children to consider - it proved tricky to arrange.

Finally we found a place on Owners Direct near to Torrevieja...

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A Heartfelt Post on the Disability Benefit Cuts

(0) Comments | Posted 14 March 2016 | (10:41)

These past days my news apps, Twitter feed and Facebook timeline have been all about the disability benefit cuts. This post may not have perfectly researched stats, inside knowledge of government policy, big media clout, or total rationality; but it's from the heart.

Since leaving my...

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Published Author, Keynote Speaker and Accessible Travel Expert

(0) Comments | Posted 27 February 2016 | (23:54)

I cannot believe it's almost March. This year is flying by. I've been feeling guilty for not writing to you more. However I've been hibernating, planning and organising the coming months. Whilst this isn't conducive to articles, it is going to provide loads of content for you very soon...

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Highlights and Hopes

(0) Comments | Posted 31 December 2015 | (20:17)

Martyn in Tenerife - featured

For this year's 'New Year' post I wanted to summarise my highlights from 2015. I haven't gone into much detail, but I've linked to the original posts if you want to go deeper. Finally I've shared...

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Accessible Skiing in Catalonia

(0) Comments | Posted 12 December 2015 | (17:21)

Accessible Skiing in Catalonia

It's not so surprising to hear that Kasia and I visited Barcelona again last week. We do love a little trip there! What is less known, however, are the reasons why we went this time and...

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I'll Rest in the Afterlife

(0) Comments | Posted 27 November 2015 | (22:07)

I always tend to get a bit more philosophical in the winter. With the recent Paris attacks and the Serious Case Review (SCR) of the 3 killed children with SMA I have been feeling extra thoughtful. Instead of just going round in circles or having thoughts of hate,...

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Accessible Tenerife

(0) Comments | Posted 12 November 2015 | (18:57)

Tenerife is situated in the Canary Islands. Some might say it is a tiny bit of land off of West Africa. For me it is a lot more! I've visited this wonderful island many times and simply love it.

My first trip was with my family when I...

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Accessible Cambridge with the European Network of Accessible Tourism

(0) Comments | Posted 11 October 2015 | (18:21)

Martyn and Kasia in Cambridge
What a busy fortnight! I hope you enjoyed the posts on the Spanish conference, our trip around Madrid, and my views on improving air travel for disabled people. Today I'd like to tell you about...

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Accessible Air Travel

(1) Comments | Posted 7 October 2015 | (10:30)

Fortunately air travel is possible for most disabled people nowadays. There are some people who cannot be transferred onto the plane, sit comfortably, not use the loo during the flight and/or get their wheelchair on board. This must be addressed asap. Of those who do travel, the process is...

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An Accessible Whirlwind in Madrid

(0) Comments | Posted 4 October 2015 | (12:49)

An Accessible Whirlwind in Madrid - featured

In my last post I talked you through the Accessible Tourism conference I spoke at in Spain. Now I want to share with you how I got on in Madrid outside of my...

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Speaking at the International Accessible Technology and Tourism Conference in Madrid

(0) Comments | Posted 30 September 2015 | (16:34)

Last week I was invited to Madrid by the huge national Spanish Charity, Once. They are funded from the sales of lottery tickets, and run many projects for disabled people. Their staff and board of trustees are heavily represented by disabled people which I applaud.

The conference was...

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