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A slightly digressive introduction to today's post. First, y'all may remember that I play baritone saxophone in the Baltimore Symphonic Band. Well, since last September, the band had been planning a trip to Eastern Europe to perform some concerts. I figured I wouldn't be able to go, as the trip involved considerable walking and other exertion, and [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet was going to go while I stayed home. Back at the beginning of January of this year, though, my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly (we had expected it this year, but not so soon.) Which resulted in (a) S not having to worry about trip-cancelling insurance in case his dad took a turn for the worse just before the band was due to leave in July, and (b) S coming into a bit of money, enough to indulge in a couple luxuries, such as a new tuba for him, a new saxophone for me - and, this scooter!, which I could have sworn I posted about but I don't see it here. So anyway, this scooter is airline-approved, and about a third lighter than the next lightest scooter around, and folds into a shape and size smaller than a full-size suitcase. So, we suddenly realized, I could go to Europe! Because I would not have to try to walk long distances through airports, and walking tours of each city we visited, and uphill and down! (My walking ability varies, but is much less in hot weather such as July, maybe a couple hundred feet - less than one block, without having to rest and catch my breath - and uphill, it's maybe four steps before having to rest.)

So, scooter in hand, we went to Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria in July, and there are posts about it over at my regular blog, [livejournal.com profile] bunrab. But I thought I'd share a few extra pictures and thoughts with you guys, who might be more interested in the scoot's abilities than the run of the mill LJ-er.

Me in my band uniform, on the scooter, in Opatija, Croatia, on the road leading down to the amphitheatre where we were to perform:

Croatia has lots of palm trees! There are many seaside resort towns; Opatija, where we stayed, is one of them, and this picture was taken in another town, Pula, which we visited with our tour group.

One of the things Pula is famous for is its ruin of an amphitheatre from Roman times - Croatia is not really far from Italy, and the Romans had quite a presence. Anyway, you will note that the ruins are up a hill; this is about the steepest hill the scoot could do unassisted. For anything steeper, it needed just a light push from a person to help it get going - not a serious effort as if the person were trying to shove the whole weight uphill by themselves, just a slight push.

Our trip ended in Vienna, Austria, and Wien turns out to be extremely scooter-friendly because it is extremely bicycle-friendly. There are bike lanes everywhere, curb-cuts for bikes everywhere, places to lock a bike outside every building; the step-up onto public transportation is quite low compared to the step-up onto most US busses or trolleys; and also practically every cafe has sidewalk seating so I didn't have to pull the scoot inside and up stairs. Here's me in a bike lane:

And at a cafe, eating pastry; you can see the scooter folded up just at the right edge of the picture. It takes about 10 seconds to fold up, and about 15 seconds to unfold; less with practice and the right phase of the moon and the wind in the right direction.

Date: 2008-08-08 12:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ainetl.livejournal.com
oh yay!!! i was wondering where you've been! it's so wonderful that you were able to make the trip to europe with your band. i'd love to go to Croatia sometime. it looks like you had a great time. :D


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