Meet Kris: a 23-year-old Dutch girl travelling across Europe with Interrail. Diagnosed with Ehler Danlos syndrome, Kris is exploring Europe in her electric-powered wheelchair. With her Instagram and YouTube adventures, she's sharing her adventures to show that travel is possible for anyone.
Thinking about travelling with Interrail? Let Kris show you the way!
Hey, I'm Kris!
I'm a 23-year-old girl from the Netherlands. I'm in love with rainbows, animals, vegan food, different cultures, jokes and new adventures. Because of my illness and late diagnosis (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome), I missed out on school and having a social life for most of my childhood. But the day my wheelchair arrived, I chose to deal with my physical handicap and started the best journey of my life.
Right now, with my backpack on my electric-powered wheelchair, I'm on my own and travelling through every country in Europe!
I'm travelling by train so I can travel with the lowest climate impact and see more of every place I pass. I share my story and adventures on YouTube and Instagram to inspire people to look for the beautiful things in life. And damn, it's a big challenge, but life is definitely beautiful!
What's travelling like for me?
So, I'm able to walk, but will use a wheelchair for long distances. I don't need any special facilities other than space for my wheelchair in the train and my accommodation (usually hostels). As I can't walk up long flights of stairs in my accommodation (usually hostels), I need a lift to get my wheelchair to my room, or use a downstairs bedroom if possible. I can walk up small flights of stairs, too, if I can store my wheelchair somewhere.
On the train, getting on and off with my wheelchair can be a real challenge. Some trains are accessible, but most of the time I need ramp assistance to get in. That's not something a lot of train companies are used to booking for solo backpackers like me!
When I'm finally sitting in the train and then arrive at my next destination, it feels like a really exciting victory! I'm now on my way to Estonia after two months of travel through Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. These countries are a real winter wonderland - they were so beautiful! Now, my plan is to travel from the Baltic States to Eastern Europe, and then to the south of Europe. Wherever the train stops, I will explore!
I finally have the feeling that I can make my life a good one. No matter the challenge, I will make the very best of every day!
Do you have experience travelling with a wheelchair yourself and do you have information and tips to share? Or are you less familiar and have some questions about travelling with a wheelchair or Kris' journey through Europe in general? Let us know in the comments
Curious about the rest of her trip through Europe? Check it out here:
Stay tuned for more on Kris' journey here on the Eurail Community, and of course also on her YouTube and Instagram channels (Dutch).
Trenitalia (the main carrier in Italy) have information about assistance here. A service dog should not be a problem.
Do you have any experience booking train travel in Italy? I plan to bring my mother and family this June. My mother also requires a wheelchair for long distances as well as a service dog. Not sure how this will all work out. Any suggestions appreciated!
Baltic Countries i have no experience with wheelchair (but many trains were new and low level means quite easy to board.
For Poland (PKP Intercity) it´s wise to call atleast 48hrs before depature their Service Hotline or the International Booking office +48 22 3919757 They will ask some details and finally mke an a pointment where the Service Staff will met you :/
As there is a big hole between Kaunas & Bialystok You may use a bus Or take two ferries to get to Poland like Riga/Tallinn - Stockholm and then Nynäshamn (near Stockholm) - Gdansk
Ceske Drahy have a online form but just in Czech and recommends atleast 24hrs in advance :/ https://www.cd.cz/cestovani-zdravotne-hendikepovanych/-29456/
Please wish her well on her trip. To paraphrase "Wheelers do what losers won't"