Updated: Aug 22
I will start by saying that the trip to Arles, France to visit the curator of the In-Corpus Photography & see my works on exhibition has been amazing that it's difficult to put it all in one post (if I want anyone to read it that is)
So I might as well start at the begining with a seemingly impossible trip down to Arles, meeting Sophie Muret & seeing my own works up on the walls at galerie Vox.
I decided that with a flight at 06:30 in the morning that the best thing to do was to stay in hotel near Arlanda airport (Stockholm). I finished writing some thank you and what to do next cards when I arrived at the hotel, set my alarm 03:15 and jumped into bed at 8. Slept like a log and woke up, looked at my phone and it was 06:20!!! 10 minutes before my flight. I must of slept through my alarm.
Panic stations when I phoned Ben (who was still at home in Njutånger), while he started searching for a new flight I packed my suitcase and set off for the airport.
We found a Transavia flight to Paris, it was a good time as it was due to take off at 10:30 (this actual time might not be perfect - it was defiinitly between 10 and 10:30). Using the SNCF Connect app I began searching for trains - after a while I relised that this Transavia flight and trains south could work.
There is no longer desks to buy flight tickets at the airport so a quick download of the Transavia app, find the flight I needed and book - I was surprised that the tickets weren't completely over priced!
Anyhow to Paris I went - followed by a taxi ride from Olney airport to Paris gare de Lyon - train to Avignon - train Avignon TGV to Avignon Central - train Avignon Central - Arles
There was lots of head scratching with my wheelchair, electric bike attachment and my suitcase - but we got there in the end!
Sophie, who I have been speaking to for over a year now, was there to meet me. Have you ever met somebody who straight away you feel like you've met them before; for me meeting Sophie was like that. Sophie is a wonderful, energy full woman, how with a giving heart wants to share all the good in her world with others.
We went straight ot my hotel in the centre of Arles, Best Western Atrium. Unfortunately the lift at the main entrance was not working and they had completely missed that I had asked for an accessible room.
I will get this off my chest now about the hotel and then its said. They gave me a room with a shower but no shower chair. The bathroom was so small that my wheelchair didn't fit in and I had to crawl to the shower. The shower had a high edge all around it and to shower I had to sit on the edge and lean back so that as little water escaped as possible, I also only showered two times because my body just couldn't do it.
Due to the lift not working I had to leave and go in the hotel via an underground parking lot. It stunk down there and quite easily was very degrading to have to enter the hotel like this and not through the front door like others.
One final thing and for me is nearly the biggest thing - I had chosen this hotel as they have a swimming pool and when it is over 35°c a swimming pool is a god send BUT you've probably guessed already that the pool was inaccessibly with two very nice extravigant staircases leading to the pool with no other way of getting to it.
Ok thats enough about the hotel - so basically if you have a disability then this hotel is NOT for you
Lets concentrate now on the positives because the trip had many more positives than negative experiances!
After Mondays adventures it was nice to have time to land and explore on Tuesday morning. It's a beautiful town, roman architecture mixed with slightly later buildings. I admit that I don't like big cities or towns but there was something about Arles that made me feel very comfortable - lots of people sightseeing and there for all the galleries and exhibitions; but somehow it did not feel overcrowded or uninviting for me and that is a big plus.
Tuesday morning Sophie was busy in Marseille so I set off with my wheelchair and my PAWs Cruiser from Rehasense (links after the picuture gallery at the end of the blog) - I would of struggled without the electric bike attachment as there are hills everywhere and cobblestoned streets - but most of all in 38°c the last thing you want to do is push yourself around. A little tips aswell is that when you are driving with your bike attachement then you have a nice breeze!
By lunchtime I was getting the hang of the streets and quickly picked up on what was where. I met Sophie in the main square and together we went to her gallery, La belle Ètoile Arles, the space that Sophie has created is a space with three rooms that are open to wonder easily through the gallery space. With carefully selected fine art photography prints, on matt paper and 3 large glass mounted images. The space is calm, welcoming and full of only good energy. We sat and talked about photography and Arles.
We then went to see the exhibition at gallery Vox. Only a few streets away from La belle Ètoile Arles it is a new gallery space that is hosting this summer the In-Corpus exhibition "Love for Photography - Photography for Love"
An exhibition of many photographers, from all over the world. A space for both new photographers and the more experienced. It is not always easy to hang an exhibition of so many photographers but Sophie has done a fantastic job at making the exhibition space flow. I felt extra thankful when I saw my pictures hanging in the back of the gallery, with extra spce on a piano.
What a welcome at my first international exhibition - so bloody proud!!
And here I leave it for today otherwise I will never publish part one let alone more