Thursday, 18 September 2014

Experiencing life as a handicapped person in Kristiansand

We all take our health for granted. Think about those in wheel chairs or those without hearing or eyesight. Life is very tough for some people and we need to remember that.

Yesterday I met a blind man with a guide dog in the city centre. We spoke for a while and he told me that they were going to have an experiment the following day with some colleagues at the Kristiansand Kommune.

They were going to experience life as a disabled person; blind or wheelchair bound.

I met all of them at the kommune reception. There were some wearing sunglasses with tape over them making it impossible to see. Others had their glasses slightly covered to experience life as a slightly blind person. Some had a walking cane, some in wheelchairs and some with special walkers.

It was not easy!
Just getting out of the building was a chore with some having difficulties opening the doors.

The blind man then explained to them that they needed to stay on the brick paths as they are designed to lead blind people around the city.

Up markensgata, some tried to enter a store as did this lady in a wheelchair. She said it was quite easy, but hard work pushing herself along the street. "good exercise" I said.

I heard the blind man say that they were not allowed to get help, they had to try and figure it out on their own. That was a good lesson...

I spoke to him;

Man: I lost my eyesight 25 years ago as a result of diabetes so whenever I leave the house, I map out the directions in my head and use the guide dog to divert me from obstacles. It is not easy, but that is life.

Me: It is very difficult to see that you are blind because you are looking directly at me.
Man: I can see that you are standing there, but I cannot see your face.

Another man walked up to him and the blind man recognised him well before the man said hello.

Me: That was amazing. How was that possible?
Man: I recognise his walk and build, so that is an easy way for me to remember people.

My advice to people is to enjoy life and your health. 

Take a walk in the forest with your kids, kick the football with them and make the most out of it because there are many who cannot.

Kristiansand is a city that has dedicated a lot of time into making sure handicapped people are able to enjoy the city like everyone else, so there are special ramps for wheelchairs, special toilets and larger entrances to stores. Of course parking is also prioritised.

Enjoy life!

Adam Read
Visit Sørlandet
adam (at)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Beautiful morning in Kristiansand

When is it a good time to write a blog? What do you need for inspiration? Today, there was no such problem.

I decided to take my boat to work today as I am meeting a friend after work and we are going to take a little boat trip around Kristiansand. When I got to the boat house this morning, it was about 10 degrees celcius. A little cold, but no issue when you have the right clothing.

One thing I did not expect, was the mist and fog.

Going up the river it looked amazing as I approached the bridge to Kjevik airport.

Then I came to Hamresanden beach and the landing lights for Kjevik airport.

A little after the lights, I got closer to the fog.

But approaching the Varoddbrua bridge into town was different and it has to be said dangerous.

Visibility was at about 5 metres. The sun was trying to break through it, but the fog was just too thick in some areas.

Slowly approaching the bridge into the city, I drove very slowly and got some great pictures.

Past the old German bunker and lighthouse.

Coming through the mist and fog.

Looks like someone else had the same idea as me, so I was not alone...

Entering the harbour.

And finally parking at Fiskebrygga in the city.

It was a great experience and I have to say that I did not even feel the cold. In fact it warmed up quite quickly and in the end I needed to take off my jumper and jacket.

In conditions like this, you need to be smart as a boat owner. A GPS with tracking is a must in conditions like this. You can program your GPS to record previous trips and because I have gone into Kristiansand hundreds of times, I can simply follow these tracks.

Lights are important. Make sure they are working and ON.

Unfortunately I do not have a horn on the boat, but this is something I will buy. You can get those that do not need to be connected to electricity and can be used for a full season before replacing them.

If you live in Kristiansand and work in the city, I can recommend taking your boat into work one day. You cannot really start the day any better than that.

Adam Read
Visit Southern Norway