Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Centre Parks

It does seem like an age since I updated this blog and have a long list of things I want to post about. Truth be told I haven’t been on the computer much lately, not needing to be on it for my uni work and with the sun peeking its head out for a few days, oh and of course there was the Olympics, I’ve just not felt the need to be online.

Anyway, shortly after Team GB was selected for the Paralympics, I went to Centre Parks with some visually impaired friends. The perfect retreat to take my mind off of things and to take a break from training. However, I was a little apprehensive about going, as I had never been to Centre Parks before and was concerned that the staff wouldn’t be very helpful, as more often than not people freak out when they see you have a disability!

I was definitely pleasantly surprised. On the Friday we went swimming and bowling. Swimming is one of very few activities that is free at Centre Parks. They have a wave machine, lazy river, which I think is more like a crazy river, hot tub style pool and several slides. I dared to go down a couple of the kids slides, but that tends to be my limit, I always manage to near drown myself with these things for some reason.

Saturday morning was rock climbing, which I have done several times before and really enjoy, as it’s one of few activities that I am a natural talent at! If rock climbing was a Paralympic sport, I’m fairly sure I would be the champion. The outside wall was quite tricky, but I managed to get up it no less than five times and not to sound boastful or competitive because that’s totally not in my nature obviously, but none of my friends managed to get to the top! That afternoon I had a full body mud treatment, which was different, yet my skin felt great afterwards and that evening we stuffed our faces with Bella Italia.

On Sunday we began with the zip wire and there was something quite petrifying about being told, ok now jump! I bet everyone gets that flash of seeing themselves plummet to the floor. The staff were really good about explaining about, which rope to throw away, unclip etc. After the zip wire, two of us did abseiling, which I was completely pathetic at! I personally put it down to being left handed and the only way to control the rope which lowered you down was with your right hand that apparently doesn’t know how to grip, so I kept sliding really fast. Feeling absolutely exhausted by this point since it’s around a half hour walk to each activity that afternoon I did the gladiator challenge, which took the meaning of challenge to a whole new level! It was split into two sections. The first side I went up was a simple ladder, only it swung, so it felt like I was climbing up upside down. I thought I was strong, I definitely didn’t feel it! The other side also swung, but not as dramatically and was a combination of beams, tyres, cargo nets and polls. The instructor was really good regarding explaining what was above me each time and eventually I got to the top and stood on the beam, I think it was a blessing that I couldn’t see how high up I was, as it felt pretty damn high!

Sunday evening was spent relaxing in the spa, which was a combination of aroma steam rooms, foot spas, hydrotherapy pool with sprays and sun loungers. Whilst there we got a free facial and did an Italian ritual, which resulted in covering yourself with ice, warming yourself back up in the sorna, more ice including a bucket being poured down my back, more heat, plunge pool where the instructor kindly pulled the rope to release the freezing cold water and then we finished with more heat. I can’t remember what it was supposed to be good for!

All in all it was a good trip, but unless I win the lottery won’t be rushing back anytime soon. The activities are quite expensive; I could have had a week abroad all inclusive for the same price! The staff are welcoming to disabled guests though and have an access bus to help get around the place if needed.

What you can’t see, can’t hurt you!

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