Your Hotel in Coimbra downtown

Accessible Travel in Coimbra

We will visit Coimbra through the look of Paulo Cortez and try to understand how friendly the city is for people with reduced mobility. Paulo, now 43 years old, says he has two dates of birth. The day he was born and the day he fractured his neck and became quadriplegic. In both these lives, he always had fun, he dated, married, and today he already has a son, Zezinho.

Paulo has no doubts that today the accessibility that the city offers to people with reduced modality are much better. He recently went to the University of Coimbra and was surprised by the great conditions it offers. On the other hand, the accesses from the University to the Old Cathedral are not very good due to the steep cobblestone pavement. The downtown area is now ” wonderful”. There are lowered sidewalks and municipal car parks are free for people with disabilities who have the distinguishing sign. In free parking lots like in shopping centers there are also places for people with reduced mobility. Here the main issue is the disrespect of people who use those places improperly. Paulo also compliments the special transportation services that Coimbra Town Hall offers. Only Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto have this service. In addition to the low-floor vehicles and wheelchair access ramps that exist on some lines (those for access to the hospital are mostly adapted), there is also a door-to-door transportation service from Monday to Friday, from morning to night. In order to have access to this transport it is necessary to make a prior appointment (239 801 100 – ext. 304). “Pantufinhas”, a bus which links the Lower and Upper City, also offers access ramps and wheelchair fastening devices.
Paulo also explains that he makes an effort so his condition doesn’t prevent him from leading a normal life. He frequents restaurants and bars and says that these spaces are not always adapted, but solutions are quickly and helpfully found. He refers Restaurant Albatroz, famous for its Suckling Pig (traditional dish), in Fornos, as one with the best conditions.
While recognizing that conditions are better today, there is some work to be done. It is necessary to awaken consciences. Many obstacles that people with reduced mobility face are related to the lack of respect that exists. Elevators, parking spaces and sidewalks are used improperly. On the other hand, there are still some infrastructures that can and should be improved like the Train Station that doesn’t offer the best access conditions.
Althought the serioussness of the subject, our conversation with Paulo was light and casual, like him. He tells us that the recent acquisition of a Batec (electrical equipment) has greatly improved his quality of life. Zézinho, who asked his father to accompany him on bicycle rides, had his wish fulfilled with the acquisition of that Batec chair, the first in Portugal. The Choupal park is now the local for family fun times. Because love and willpower break all barriers and obstacles.

Positives in Coimbra:

– Coimbra University
– Paço das Escolas
– Joanina Library
– Machado de Castro Museum
– Downtown of Coimbra
– Shopping Centers
– Public transportation
– Choupal (with a Batec chair)
– Restaurant Albatroz
– Hotel Oslo Coimbra

Negative points:

– Coimbra B Station
– University access to Sé Velha and Quebra Costas (pavement and sidewalks)

About Paulo Cortez
Paulo, now 43 years old, says he has two dates of birth. The day he was born and the day August 8th, 1989. Apparently it was a day like so many others. Paul was 16 years old, a happy and full of energy young man. He went to Buarcos beach and found some Spanish girls who quickly caught his eyes. They ended up going to the beach together. In love with one of them, they exchanged compliments throughout the day. Attracted to the sea where the young woman was, Paulo Still hesitated for several times to enter in the ocean. However, he eventually dove and then his life changed. He fractured the cervical and became quadriplegic.
Despite a long period of hospitalization at the University of Coimbra hospital (HUC) and Alcoitao, at 17 years old Paulo returned home. He had always ran away from school. But at that moment, standing still would be no solution. He quickly finished high school and took a computer course. Interned in the HUC and that is where he continues today. During this period he always lived surrounded by friends and did the normal things of a young man of his age. He had fun, he dated, he married and today he already has a son, Zézinho.

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Hotel Oslo - Coimbra
Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
3000-175 Coimbra, Portugal
Tel. +351 239 829 071
(national landline call)
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