Category Archives: Guest Authors
We have never been to Dubai, but would love to see it someday. But I find it a little scary!
On the surface conditions for gay Dubaiians might seem bleak, but thanks to some quickly acquired gay friends I learn quickly that, despite the legalities, a vibrant gay scene flourishes. In fact, thanks to a huge population of young professional expats, the scene is one of the most multicultural and diverse around.
I break my Dubai gay club virginity at one of the most popular hangouts. Entering via an underground carpark on a Saturday evening, my male friend and I encounter the uneven door policies that are rife throughout gay venues (a vague attempt to curb gay activity).
Men arriving solo or in all-male groups pay more, queue separately and are often denied entry altogether.
Inside, the place is packed to the rafters with a United Nations of men: butch Lebanese and their Asian playthings mingle with trendily dressed Europeans and a smatterings of Australians, Americans, Canadians, alongside Indians and Pakistanis.”
READ MORE HERE.
GayTravel.com proudly announces that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) is Gay Travel Approved
Royal Caribbean International® is the first and only cruise line to receive the sought-after distinction of being Gay Travel ApprovedSM by GayTravel.com, a trusted resource for LGBTQ travelers. The global cruise line, a leading innovator of adventurous vacation experiences has shown an ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ community by demonstrating a spirit of diversity and inclusion on all of its 25 ships that visit exciting destinations around the world.
The Gay Travel Approved Seal of Approval is awarded by GayTravel.com to select travel partners that offer a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ travelers. This accolade is reserved for travel partners whom a panel of experts, editors and tastemakers have deemed deserving of a higher level of recognition by the LGBTQ community.
“This designation has been a long time in the making,” said Steve Rohrlick, CEO of GayTravel.com. “Our GayTravel Cruise Guru Stephen Prisco has sailed on more than one-hundred Royal Caribbean cruises. The recent appointment of Grant Van Ulbrich as the first openly-gay Diversity Executive on a major cruise line and the steps he is implementing are indicative of Royal Caribbean International’s commitment to the LGBTQ community. It is therefore our distinct pleasure to bestow GayTravel Approved 2016 to Royal Caribbean International.”
“Royal Caribbean has always been known and recognized for extraordinary service that is warm and attentive and remains committed to creating a diverse, welcoming environment on each and every one of our ships,” said Grant Van Ulbrich, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Royal Caribbean. To take our efforts to the next level, we recently introduced a new Diversity and Inclusion department and one of its first priorities is to focus on continued training and education for our international crew members.”
With its parent company’s perfect rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and a rich history of hosting LGBTQ charters, groups and luminaries, it’s not surprising that LGBTQ travelers are frequent guests. One such guest and avid sailor is GayTravel.com’s Cruise Guru Stephen Prisco.
“From the moment I set foot on my first Royal Caribbean cruise, I felt like I belonged,” said Prisco. “On every one of my cruising adventures, I feel like I am home and that Royal Caribbean is my family. The strides that they have taken to welcome our community onboard and the incredible innovations they have made to their fleet are just a few of the reasons I continue to return time and time again…”
GayTravel.com encourages the LGBTQA community to offer recommendations for Gay Travel Approved travel destinations, accommodations, cruises, tours, events, restaurants, and venues:http://www.gaytravel.
About Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 46-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. Media can stay up-to-date by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter, and visiting RoyalCaribbeanPressCe
GayTravel.com connects the LGBTQA community with gay friendly destinations, hotels, cruises, tours, events, entertainment, attractions, clubs and restaurants throughout the world. Their mission is to provide the community with safe, welcoming and unique recommendations to ensure that every vacation is both pleasurable and memorable. For additional information, visit www.GayTravel.com or call (800) GAY-TRAVEL.
GAY COUPLES SHOULD SEE ASIA
Stefan and Sebastien, a gay couple traveling the world and owners of the Nomadic Boys travel blog, spent 18 months traveling in Asia last year and absolutely loved it.
Although most Asian countries don’t have the best reputation when it comes to gay rights, here are their five reasons ( HuffPost Gay Voices) they think traveling to Asia is fun, romantic and above all, important for supporting and inspiring local LGBT communities.
Check out their site and their social media stuff! Nomadic Boys is owned by Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac.
The Rainbow of Copenhagen
By Sebastián Sáenz @sebastiaenz
Denmark is truly an understated place.
When most people plan their holidays they obviously think of a relaxing and warm beach, or probably Paris, the most visited city by tourists every year in the world, and for very valid reasons of course. But that is exactly why Copenhagen is an ideal destination, where tourists can forget about the hours waiting in line and under the sun to ride the Space Mountain or the crowds of Times Square. Oh, and of course, it’s LGBT friendly.
This peninsula is absolutely breathtaking. Ancient traditions, sublime views and a rich history await all of us in this fantastic country. Don’t forget to get a Danish bread, other local beers besides Carlsberg and Tuborg, and an open sandwich with cold fish or seafood. Denmark is a magnificent opportunity to embrace the beauty that the snow can bring (however, visiting during the short summer might be better), along with the contrasting warmth of the locals, who always welcome visitors with a smile and, thankfully, in English and with a broad mind.
General touristic spots include activities for everything you can imagine. For those who enjoy cultural exhibitions, the National Museum, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the Glyptoteket, the traditional Open Air Museum and the modern architecture of the National Aquarium will satisfy your thirst for knowledge. For a nice walk, the best options might be the hippie town of Christiania, Nyhavn for a nice meal at the colorful quayside, the Tivoli Gardens, or Strøget, the shopping street.
If you rather be enchanted by luxurious castles and palaces, Amalienborg, Frederiksborg, Rosenborg and Kronborg (which inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet) will make you feel like all you are missing is a crown. And the must visit destination is the 100 year old statue of the Little Mermaid, at Langelinje Pier, inspired by the fairy tale of local and gay celebrity, Hans Christian Andersen.
Regarding more specific spots for our community, there are plenty of alternatives. For a nice stay, we can always opt for the already-known-for-being-
So, pack all your fabulous winter accessories. Copenhagen must be at the top of our list, no matter if we go backpacking by ourselves, with friends to have fun at clubs and bars, with our partner for romantic dinners and walks, or (why not), with our diverse family visiting fun museums.
Attention all gay tourists: Mexico City brings it all! We are talking about one of the biggest cities in the world with so much to offer you’ll need holidays after your holidays just to recover. And even though it’s chaotic, the traffic is constant and it’s packed everywhere, believe me, it’s worth, and you’ll even want to recommend it and come back.
And, before we start, just a few tips. Rush hours are from 7 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 9 pm, so you might want to stay in one place during those times, or walk if you want to go somewhere. Public transportation is cheap, I recommend to use taxi apps or taxis your hotel gets for you, the subway is usually faster and safer than buses, the Metrobús is ok but usually busy, and as for green options, the city counts with a public bicycle service. Also, this is the second city with more museums in the world, so get ready for a lot of culture. Even though the city is relatively safe, tourists may want to dress discretely, not show huge expensive gadgets everywhere, and avoid lonely streets late at night; just in like most big cities. And of course, this is one of the friendliest cities in the world, so feel free to peck or hold hands in public, since most people are relatively tolerant. So, let’s begin:
1: Bus Tour
As a tourist myself a technique that has helped me quite a bit is, as soon as I arrive to a new city, I take the bus tour in order to get a lot of basic information in a few hours, see where everything is, how far things are, and what I want to visit calmly. Mexico City actually has several hop-on-and-off-bus-tours, so manage your time wisely: City Center (more historic), Polanco (one of the poshest areas in the city), South (traditional), Guadalupe Basilica (more religious), Canteens, Lucha Libre, Palaces and Nocturne. Ask at your front desk the nearest station to hop on! turibus.com.mx
This is one of the most beautiful areas in the city, with a huge forest, lakes, cultural activities such as folk performances and ballet, the Anthropology Museum, the Estela de Luz Structure, and the Castle, with a breathtaking view of the city. Subway stations: Auditorio (Orange line) and Chapultepec (Pink Line).
3: Colonia Roma
This might be the best area to eat ANYTHING you want, and for any pocket. In this nice and welcoming neighborhood, most of the best restaurants are on Álvaro Obregón Av. and its surroundings. I particularly recommend the trendy Mercado Roma (Querétaro 225). Stations: Subway- Insurgentes (Pink line) and Chilpancingo (Brown line). Metrobús: Álvaro Obregón, Sonora, Michoacán and Campeche (Red Line).
A very traditional neighborhood. The two main plazas host the church, the kiosk and the Coyotes Fountain. There are plenty of excellent restaurants such as Corazón de Maguey and bars with live music such as El Hijo del Cuervo. A few blocks away you can find the Frida Kahlo Museum and the park, Viveros. A cart churro, a street ice cream and a coffee from Café La Selva are true musts. Subway stations: General Anaya (Blue Line).
Our kryptonite. For those who enjoy the best labels, Presidente Masaryk Av. at Polanco is a must, where you would find the up-scale international designers (Polanco subway station, Orange line). For malls with cinemas, restaurants, food courts, and of course, shops; Perisur (Perisur Metrobús station, Red Line), Antara (Polanco subway station), 222 (Insurgentes subway Station, Pink line) and Santa Fe (only accessible by car) might be the best shopping options of the city. And for a cheap and wide variety of art crafts, the Ciudadela Market in the City Center (Juárez subway station, Olive Green line) is THE place. If you are looking for High Mexican Design (not sombreros or ponchos), Pineda Covalín is one of the top fashion houses that portrays traditional designs.
7: La Condesa
This is definitely the trendiest area of the city. Young couples, hipsters, fashionistas… everyone wants a piece of La Condesa. Facing La Roma (opposite side of Insurgentes Av.), this neighborhood offers a massive range of restaurants, parks for romantic and canine walks, stores, coffe shops, weekend bazaars, but above all, the best bars to start any memorable night. Any bar on Tamaulipas St., Michoacán St., or around Mexico’s Park or La Cibeles Fountain (such as Wallace Bar or the terrace of the posh Codesa DF Boutique Hotel) is very likely to be quite busy at night, even during the week, but is the place to see and be seen.
8: City Center
Of course the Historic City Center has to be on the list. At “El Zócalo”, tourists can find the National Palace (with murals of Diego Rivera, Frida’s husband), the Cathedral, Bellas Artes Palace, the Central Alameda, the Templo Mayor Museum, and the pedestrian Madero Av. (with shops and restaurants). The quintessential traditional restaurant is Café Tacuba, but I recommend the terrace of the ancient Mexico Hotel, with the best view of El Zócalo. Subway stations: Zócalo (Blue line) and Bellas Artes (Blue and Green line).
What you’ve been craving. Even though there are LGBT clubs all over the city, this is how I would arrange a crazy weekend of tequila shots and phone numbers: one trashy and cheap night at the City Center’s Marrakech Salón, Marra 2.0 and La Purísima (Bellas Artes subway station), one trendy and up-scale night at Envy (only Friday) or Guilt (only Saturday) (Polanco subway station), and a universal night barhopping at Zona Rosa (Insurgentes subway and Metrobús stations), the gay district. The pink zone has clubs for all, such as Lollipop (with Karaoke), Nicho (for bears), El Taller (underground just for men), Botas (strip club) and Kinky (probably the most popular). The key is to get to Amberes St. and just go with the flow.
The Mexican Champs Élysées. On this avenue tourists will find the emblematic Angel of Independence Monument (the symbol of the city), the Diana the Hunter Fountain, the National Auditorium (where Coldplay and Shakira have performed, just to name a couple), Chapultepec and Zona Rosa, and it’s also very close to the City Center. It is the perfect way to finish any week since, on Sundays, the central lanes are closed for bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, dogs and baby strollers during the day. Stations: Subway- Chapultepec, Sevilla or Insurgentes (Pink line). Metrobús- Reforma (Red line).
WHAT is the one thing you CAN NOT travel without?
people it me be something as simple and small as an iPod. For others, they might insist on bringing along their favorite pillow. I travel with my lucky underwear!!
But for Alain, The Sojourner, he doesn’t go anywhere without his rainbow
What started off as a Halloween costume in 2006 has now become a global
movement, with Alain taking the wig to 11 countries and countless
He’s even started a photo collection of friends and strangers wearing the rainbow.
‘I pose with it in every country I’m going to. I did it in the Great Wall of China, in Angkor Wat in Cambodia, in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York and some other places.
‘Why am I doing this? It’s because travel is supposed to be fun. It’s not just about the exciting places you’re gonna land on, not only about the incredible people you’ll be meeting or the unscripted lessons you’ll learn – but also about how you make the best out of it!
‘As a couch-surfer, I’ve met hundreds of people and hosted some of them. And the good thing is, they’re ALL willing to wear the rainbow wig, without really thinking about my sexuality.
Follow him on Facebook or his blog!
GAY COUPLE DEPARTS
CHICAGO FOR YEARLONG EXPLORATION OF THE USA.
DJ Doran and Joe
Morales embark on a year long trek across the USA aboard their 33’ vintage 1979
Bluebird Wanderlodge Motor home named “Priscilla” to discover Gay America and
write and film about their experiences for their web show The Adventures of
Joey & DJ
Chicago, October 1st, 2013- DJ Doran and Joe
Morales the stars of the web based travel and adventure show “The Adventures of
Joey & DJ” and seen on Out n About TV have departed Chicago on their 52
week journey to discover and explore Gay America aboard their 33’ vintage 1979 Bluebird
Wanderlodge. The first part of their route will take them across the northern
part of the country to Buffalo New York and Niagara Falls.
The second leg will be through Vermont and New
Hampshire and then down the eastern coastline to Washington DC. From there they will head west to intersect the
infamous Route 66 and follow its legendary path to LA before heading north on
The Pacific Coast Highway to Oregon and Washington State. The final legs of their adventure will have
them zigzagging their way to down from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf Coast
“We will have the chance to experience the USA aboard
“Priscilla” in a way that allows us to take our time exploring the places we
visit and get to know the Gay and Straight people that we meet during our
adventure in a much more personal way ” says Doran.
This post sponsored by:
Barb Snelgrove is a true Vancouverite
(second generation, to be specific) and she loves her hometown! Barb is a
reporter with OutlookTV/OUTtv, writes for various on-line publications
and hosts QueerFM RELOADED Radio on 101.9FM. She has won numerous awards
for her work as a LGBTQ community advocate and will be inducted into
the Canadian Q Hall of Fame later this year.
Q: What are the best tips for travellers to get up-to-the-minute info about LGBT events and happenings during their trip here?
A: The Trifecta of local LGBTQ Vancouver info can easily be found online. In addition to Tourism Vancouver’s site [www.tourismvancouver.com], there are two great sites called GayVancouver.net and GayVan.com. Also be sure to plan a trip to gay Vancouver institution Little Sister’s Bookstore [in Davie Village] – they will be happy to offer ideas!
Vancouver has many gay men’s bars and Davie Village seems to have
plenty of men, but is there a favourite club or neighbourhood haunt
where it’s relatively easy to meet women?
LGBTQ landscape is always evolving, and many of our bars are happily
mixed (Fountainhead Pub, Junction, Oasis). But for hot girl-on-girl
action, check out FlygirlProductions.com or monthly events such as Lipstick Jungle (at Ginger62) or LaLa Salon. There is a thriving scene on Commercial Drive and many “pop up” events are centered there.
Q: What are a couple of Vancouver’s “hidden gems”?
A: La Bodega Restaurant
(operating at the same location for over 30 years – they must be doing
something right). Main Street, for great window shopping. Granville Island
always offers lots to see; and while you’re there, rent a small boat by
the hour and view the city from a water perspective. A picnic dinner on
one of the West Side beaches (our fave is Spanish Banks) is a great
idea for watching one of our amazing Vancouver sunsets.
Paradise is a strong word.
But ask anyone who has been to Maui, Haawii and they say it
is truly a paradise in every way.
For the gay/lesbian couple seeking a romantic haven, the island of Maui is waiting to welcome you with bright rainbow leis.
From snorkeling to whale watching and lounging and relaxing on a remote gay beach, Maui is paradise found.
With a population of less than 150,000 people, the gay scene is much smaller on Maui than in Oahu but there’s a small, tight knit LGBT community and a lot of great activities geared toward the gay tourist. The gay population is mainly concentrated
around the Kihei area in South Maui, but gay people live all over the
Whether you want to surf, canoe or kayak, opportunities abound on gay Maui for the outdoor enthusiast. (which I am not! However, Maui was the perfect place for me, to unplug, and RELAX!). There are several companies that offer visitors outdoor equipment and training.
If you’re looking for something lower impact, Maui is the leading whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands. Head to the beach and try to spy a Humpback, dolphin or sea turtle. Stick around and be sure to catch one of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever experience. No Ka Oi Adventures offers nature-based excursions organized for LGBT travelers. The operator specializes in nature-based excursions and offers the queer traveler small group tours featuring off-the-beaten-path destinations on the island.
The first step in planning your memorable jaunt to the Valley Isle is finding the right accommodations. Luckily there are several gay and lesbian owned or friendly hotels and resorts on the island. Some of these properties, like the Maui Sunseeker, offer LGBT specific packages and host commitment ceremonies. In 2012, Hawaii became the seventh US state to legalize civil unions. What better place to be married and have your honeymoon at the same time?!
Industry insiders have said they expect that the law legalizing civil
unions, which took effect Jan. 1, 2012, will lead to a boost in tourism among
same-sex visitors. Hotel executives said they’re actively reaching out
to the gay and lesbian community with promotions and packages aimed at
couples who are eager to make their commitment official.
The amazing coastline is one of the main reasons to visit Maui and Little Beach is the most popular gay beach on the island. You’ll find this nude beach in Makena State Park, South of Wailea at the end of Wailea Alanui Road. It’s a little tricky. You’ll have to walk past the Big Beach and over the lava-flow trail to get there. It’s a great place to meet and greet the local gay set and gay tourists from all over the world.
After a day of fun in the sun, you’ll want to experience the local gay nightlife. Don’t expect to a wide variety of dance clubs and other gay venues like you’d find in Honolulu, but you’ll definitely have a great time.
One of the most popular bars for gays and lesbians on the island is Ambrosia. Named by Maui Time Weekly as best bar (two years in a row), Ambrosia offers daily entertainment and eclectic décor. If you want to try some exotic local drinks, you’ll fall in love with Ambrosia. Their wide varieties of specialty martinis are extremely popular and are the perfect way to cap off an adventure-packed day. There are also great drink specials and a happy hour every night from 6pm to 9pm.
Betty’s Beach Café is also a great place to eat, drink and be Mary! Their Sunday brunch is out of this world, featuring amazing omelets, egg scrambles and signature cocktails. No trip to this tropical venue would be complete without trying one of their “Betty” drinks. From the Bettie Paige (red wine, peach schnapps and pineapple) to the Betty Rubble (a Blue-beri Hawaiian), there’s truly a vice for everyone. Happy hour is always a blast at Betty’s. Every afternoon from 2pm to 5pm enjoy $3 Mai Tais and $4 Longboard Kona Beers. Stay or come back later in the evening for Betty’s evening happy hour, from 9pm to 11pm every day.
October is a great time for gay travelers to experience Maui. Maui Pride is October 5-7, 2012 and it’s always a celebration to remember. The festivities begin that Friday with an Aloha Reception at the Maui Sunseeker. This mixer is a great opportunity to get to know the local queer community and hobnob. But space fills up fast! Book as early as you can.
The main event will be held at the Maui Tropical Plantation on Saturday, October 6. Entrance is free and there will be a wide variety of vendors and activities. That morning the Pride committee will also be sponsoring drag races and other fabulous events. Saturday night, return to the venue to hula your ass off! DJs will be spinning and live performances (including the local Deborah Vial Band) are scheduled to entertain the masses. The final day of the Pride festivities kicks off at Stella Blues for breakfast (8am to 10am). Cap off the final day with a snorkel tour or hidden waterfall hike.
Before you leave Maui, during Pride or any other time of the year, you MUST take a helicopter ride overlooking the island. Air Maui and other operators offer flights for tourists and it’s only about a 45-minute flight. The sea cliffs are breathtaking! The waterfalls, awe-inspiring.
When the luau is over and you’re depressed that you have to leave the dream vacation of a lifetime, take solace, when you say “aloha” it means goodbye and hello. The friendly islanders will be there to welcome you back with sweet, sun-kissed smiles!
Guest Author Jon Fairbanks – Gay Travel Team Member
For more information about Maui or other LGBT destinations please visit www.gaytravel.com
Photo credit Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
By Davey Wavey, of gaytravel.com
Special Guest Author:
I just got back from a week-long Pilates adventure in the south of France, and I have only one word: Wow.
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about the trip. For one, it was a group trip with planned day excursions—something I’ve never done. Second, as someone who enjoys warm, friendly people, I was put off by the reputation of rudeness that the French people seemed to have earned. Third, the trip was gay—and the idea of being surrounded by a group of gay men for a week was nothing short of overwhelming.
In my mind, group trips were to travel what McDonald’s is to food. Everything seemed packaged, processed and lacking flavor. I was wrong; traveling with friends-to-be enhanced the trip several-fold. As someone who has only traveled alone, I quickly realized that group trips are safe, easier and free from logistics. All the work was done for us. We’d start each day with a Pilates class and the hop of the van for the day’s adventures. There was no thinking, planning or fretting over maps. It was all the fun of traveling without the stresses and tensions.
When it comes to rudeness, the reputation of the French people precedes them. I anticipated upturned noses and well-honed attitudes, but found only warm, loving and hospitable people. In fact, shopkeepers, waiters and residents alike were all genuine and friendly. After buying some cheese, a storeowner gave us some free samples of her Parmesan frits for the car ride home. Another, a complimentary bottle of wine to serve with dinner. Maybe it’s different in Paris—but the south of France is teeming in good energy and loving people. I couldn’t help but think that some sort of cosmic karma was at work; if you are warm and friendly, people will tend to mirror that back to you. Maybe a smile really can go a mile.
Not only was the trip a group experience, but it was also gay. Very gay. The trip was organized by a husband-husband team and all the vacationers were gay men. That’s a lot of gay, and the idea of being surrounded by so much gayness seemed a bit overwhelming—but my hesitation proved to be unfounded. The organizers were incredible and each of the vacationers brought something amazing to the experience. We bonded over our gayness, and it was insightful and empowering to hear the stories of our varied experiences and across different generations. We made something of a community within a community, and I’ll cherish the connections we forged.
The moral of the story is pretty-straight forward:
Challenge yourself, what you believe and what you’ve been told. Despite the concerns of myself or others, my Pilates adventure in the south of France proved to be one of the best vacations of my life. If you’ve never taken a gay group trip, do it. And if you’re looking for a place to visit, I hear that the French people are very friendly.
Wanted…………16 Men Who Love To Travel, Savour Food, Experience Wine Just half an hour from noisy, bustling Milan, Lake Como is a jewel-like oasis of tranquillity, a magical combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks. One of the best vantage points for this breathtaking view is in Piazza Cavour, on the banks of the lake in the town of Como. Most people speed through the Veneto on their way to our favorite Italian city, Venice. From the train, the landscape sometimes looks flat and unappealing, yet its small cities are fascinating treasure troves of art and beacons of fine living, and only a few miles to the north the Alps begin, their foothills dotted with charming towns and lined with picturesque world-class vineyards. If Tuscany is a legend, Umbria is a little-known medieval fable, its green heart beating in the shadow of its more famous neighbor. Beautiful Tuscan hills, vineyards and Renaissance cities with a journey through the bucolic landscapes and enchanting lakes of Umbria. Savor private tastings of Chianti and Sagrantino wine, olive oil and honey, explore the glories of Siena, Assisi and Orvieto, discover awe-inspiring frescoes and visit the hill-top treasures of Cortona and Montefalco.
& Want to do it all in Italy!
The Italian Lakes & Umbria/Tuscany June 11-25th, 2011
This 15 day holiday combines The lakes and vineyards of Northern Italy
With the hill towns of Umbria & Tuscany!
Just half an hour from noisy, bustling Milan, Lake Como is a jewel-like oasis of tranquillity, a magical combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks. One of the best vantage points for this breathtaking view is in Piazza Cavour, on the banks of the lake in the town of Como.
Most people speed through the Veneto on their way to our favorite Italian city, Venice. From the train, the landscape sometimes looks flat and unappealing, yet its small cities are fascinating treasure troves of art and beacons of fine living, and only a few miles to the north the Alps begin, their foothills dotted with charming towns and lined with picturesque world-class vineyards.
If Tuscany is a legend, Umbria is a little-known medieval fable, its green heart beating in the shadow of its more famous neighbor. Beautiful Tuscan hills, vineyards and Renaissance cities with a journey through the bucolic landscapes and enchanting lakes of Umbria.
Savor private tastings of Chianti and Sagrantino wine, olive oil and honey, explore the glories of Siena, Assisi and Orvieto, discover awe-inspiring frescoes and visit the hill-top treasures of Cortona and Montefalco.
– Private Airconditioned Vehicle and Driver
– 7 Nights Umbria – Double Room
Apartment Accommodation Torale
– 4 Nights Lago di Como –
Double Hotel Room Villa Stupenda
– 3 Nights Veneto –
Double Room Corte dei Soave
– Specialties of the region Umbrian Dinner
– Veneto Dinner Villa Perez-Pompei-Sagramoso
– Private Boat Tour Lago di Como
– Dinner and tour Isola Comacina, Lago di Como
– 7 Breakfasts Lago di Como & Veneto
– Private BBQ Lago di Como
– 2 Hands On Cooking – Dining Experiences
– Wine Tasting in Montefelco (Brunello Wines), Chianti, Soave
and Valpolicella (Amarone Wines)
– Complimentary Italian Mobile Phone for your personal use
– Tour hosted and escorted by Jack Clement, Love To Travel With Pride
EARLY BOOOKING BONUS RIGHT NOW!
Save $200.00 per person
Pay Your Deposit By 31 March 2011
Join us on this small intimate tour of Italy!Call today for
your perfect holiday
1 800 565 2238 or email jclement (at) lovetotravel.ca
At Europe’s door yet on the threshold of Asia, Turkey is truly a land of contrasts.
Here you can scale the icy heights of remote Mount Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark, cross the historic Euphrates and Tigris rivers, follow in the footsteps of St Paul or simply relax on the golden Mediterranean sands of Patara beach.
Vibrant Istanbul, straddling the blue waters of the Bosphorus separating Europe from Asia, beckons with its skyline pierced by countless minarets, chaotic bazaars and a history redolent with harem intrigue and despotic Sultans
The gay population of Turkey has grown rapidly over the last 10 years. Subsequently, Turkish gay men have started interacting with other gay people from all around the world, and there have been considerable developments in gay travel.
The gay bars and clubs have also started publishing their own business websites, like Turkey Gay.net , which would have English pages for gay visitors from other countries.
Gay Cafe Bar in Istanbul
Gay and Lesbian Istanbul Hotels
Turkey Gay Travel Agency
Turkey Budget Tours and Hotels
Turkey Gay Lesbian Guide
International Gay Guide
Despite the fact that Turkey is a Muslim country, it reveals a very different attitude to other Islamic countries towards lesbian and gay people. Turkey is progressive and highly western and allows gays to have a measure of freedom of expression and access to fulfilling careers and romantic intimacy. Turkey is the only Muslim country in the world where homosexuality is not illegal since the republic was founded in 1923.
Many tour groups are no bigger than 12-15 and are ideal for travelers that are easy going and fun loving people that enjoy getting to know other people and approach the new culture they will visit with a sense of curiosity. At the same time, a small tour group offers a camaraderie and intimacy amongst members where you will bond and make lifelong travel friends. A spirit of adventure, people and new places will ensure that gay vacations to Turkey will be a memorable experience for you.
These exciting gay vacations to Turkey offer delicious meals and up market accommodation in conjunction with professional tours. Themes for the tours include easy adventure filled trips, cultural and historical sightseeing, party vibe or quiet safaris or romantic cruises as well as nature walks.
Gay tour operators offer tour packages customized from interesting cultural sightseeing and various outdoor activities. You get to visit places that are off the beaten track and see exciting, well-known spots where you get to experience unique subtleties that most tourists don’t get to experience.
Tour operators allow you to create your own tour if you cannot find a suitable package on the website suitable to your schedule where you can create your very own itinerary. Choose from the normal tour guides and books to create your own itinerary. Pick from any or all of the sights mentioned or request a place that was not mentioned, anywhere in Turkey. Greek Islands tours and Blue voyage cruises within Turkey are offered for private groups, big or small to fit in with your vacation period.
When you plan your gay vacations to Turkey, it is good to know that the major tourist attractions and famous sights are all connected by reliable public bus transport, whether the destinations are long or short distance.
A trip to Cappadocia, in central Turkey, gives you the chance for a unique lodging experience: staying in a cave. (above) The soft volcanic rock has been hollowed out for homes for at least two millennia.
The Turkish railway system is not very reliable and comfortable at all. Domestic flights are available from Istanbul to all other local as well as all international airports. Charter flights are only available during peak tourism season and are rare even then.
Vacations to Turkey ideas penned by Howie Holben. His company, Spirit Journeys , is a gay travel association and advances spiritual gay tours world wide.
GUEST AUTHOR LYNDON EVANS
shares his take on Kent, Connecticut.
When folks think of travel and tourism in Connecticut most think of the southeastern part of the state from Essex/Deep River over to Mystic and up to the casino area of Uncasville and Mashantucket. But I’d like to tell you about my part of Connecticut the western side.
Recently the Litchfield County Times ran an article by Kathryn Boughton about same-sex marriage and how the village of Kent is becoming the place to celebrate nuptials.
A quiet revolution has been taking place in Kent as same-sex couples have made their way to the beautiful little town to solemnize their marriage vows. Town Clerk Darlene Brady said that the number of marriage licenses issued in the town has more than doubled since a New York State minister started to promote Kent as a location for gay and lesbian weddings. She reports there have been 161 gay marriages in Kent since 2008 and another 13 civil unions performed before that.
Also boosting the number of same-sex marriages are the occasional unions between current town residents and weekenders, she added. But the largest number of weddings comes through the Rev. Sara Henderson of Pawling, N.Y., who has reached out to the gay community through her Web site, gaylesbianweddings4u.com. Ms. Henderson is an interfaith minister and a graduate of The New Seminary in New York City. She was ordained at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. On her Web site she defines “interfaith,” as a “spiritual philosophy [that] honors and values the fundamental beauty and wisdom in all religious traditions/spiritual paths.”
While Kent may becoming the “Rainbow Wedding Capitol of CT”, Kent and the surrounding area has a great deal to offer those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of other tourist areas of Connecticut. Kent (and similar small towns in Litchfield County) has long been a getaway, second home or primary residence for many writers, actors, artists, singers and politicians. Sorry no name dropping .. okay just one, Henry Kissinger.
Kent is a reasonable drive from New York City time wise and once you get off I-84 in either Danbury or Brookfield, you traverse Route 7 in the northerly direction (Route 7 begins in Norwalk, CT and ends at the Vermont/Canadian border) towards New Milford. As you’re driving up Route 7 to Kent those of you who enjoy antiquing will have the time of your life. When you get to New Milford be sure to get off Route 7 long enough to take a ride around the village square and it’s quaint New England setting. Back on Route 7 make a quick stop at one of the couple of shops in Gaylordsville and then it’s onto Kent. Route 7 in spots runs parallel to the Housatonic River and up in Bulls Bridge be sure to check out the covered bridge.
As far as places to stay, once you get away from Danbury which has the usual prolifera of hotel chain accommodations you’ll find bed and breakfast inns. One of these is The Inn At Kent Falls (photo at top) which is listed at the website Purple Roofs, is gay owned & operated, and has been voted Best B&B for 2010 by Connecticut Magazine. A photo at the Inn’s website taken during winter looks like something right out of the Miller or Budweiser Christmas holiday commercials. Speaking of winter you skiers will like staying in Kent and skiing at nearby Mohawk Mountain.
Campers and RVers will find the Kent area a place to stay with Macedonia Brook State Park in which the Macedonia Brook traverses the picnic and campground with some pools of water deep enough to sit in or swim and cool off on a hot summer day. A bit further up Route 7 and almost into Sharon is the Housatonic Meadows State Park which shoulders the Housatonic River. No trip to Kent is complete without taking in the cascading Kent Falls and driving up to West Cornwall and taking a photo of probably one of the most famous covered bridges in New England, the West Cornwall Bridge. Auto racing enthusiasts will enjoy Lime Rock Park in Sharon with its winding race course and picturesque Connecticut background. For those who just like to drive there is no better and scenic road than Route 7 going into Massachusetts and onto Vermont.
So nuptials or not, with the fall foliage season coming soon why not take a trip to Kent Connecticut and see what the western side of my state has to offer. By the way you antiquers may what to consider renting a U-haul trailer to take home the goodies you’ll buy.
A Simple Change of Mind
By Guest Author Johnny Rico
I realize that I left you at a stage of curiosity with my last blog . I wish I could satisfy your lust by saying that I had a hot steamy night with the muscle men but it would be a lie. They ended up being great guys but nothing erotic passed.
Actually, after that night, my gay curiosity dwindled. I went to the same bar twice and nothing exciting ever passed. It was the same queens showing off their new muscle shirts and snobby faces. They walked around the bar as if they owned the world from their corporate headquarters in Guangzhou.Which is exactly why I decided to put my gay side on the back burner and hang out with some foreigners from my internship.
We did the tourist thing and saw as many temples as possible. The Buddhist religion is very interesting but I can’t imagine being a monk. They devote their whole lives to a religion and live their lives alone and without SEX. Maybe I am just being naive.
We even climbed Baiyun Mountain and bungee jumped off the side . I leaped off the mountain while over looking a gorgeous view of Guangzhou and it was only 170 RMB, which is less than 20 dollars.
We also went to Chimelong Paradise Amusement Park . This park has a Safari where you can see all types of animals. I got to feed a baby tiger. The little thing smelt like body odor, seamen and burnt tofu. Luckily, the elephant ride after blew it’s musk off my clothes. I felt like Prince Ali Ababwa on top of that elephant.
In a nutshell, Guangzhou was eventful. The gay scene is nothing special, the city is smoldering hot and the mosquitoes suck your blood like greedy vampires.
Luckily for me, my job decided to move me to another city. I am now living in Xiamen. This is a very clean island city. I love living beside the ocean, except for the fact that you can’t swim in the ocean unless you are okay with growing a third nipple or rabbit ear. The ocean is polluted and you could be swimming next to a used condom or dirty tampon. But I still considered it to be the cleanest city in China.
The gay scene is
very small. They have one gay Karaoke bar which is filled with Lesbians. It is more acceptable to be a lesbian in China than a gay man. I see a lot of little cute butch Chinese girls with super hot feminine girlfriends in high heels and short skirts. If your a lesbian and have Asian fever than I suggest coming to China.
The Chinese women are far more intriguing than the men. Their slender bodies and smooth skin make for a delicious dessert. The men look more like women anyways. Chinese guys are naturally feminine. I much rather tame a bear than a turtle. I have come to the conclusion that Bears do not reside in these parts so I have decided to just be A-sexual. I know that if I do find someone that is remotely “WOOF” then the intercourse will be more like jump robbing than bungee jumping.
Sure, jump robbing is beneficial when working out or double dutching with Brandy and Monica but it still lacks thrill and excitement. I realize that the thrill is not going to happen here so I found some special DVDs and handle my own needs in private while dreaming of a sexy hairy muscular Daddy busting through the door and taking me to Pleasure Island.
I’ve been in China for 2 months now and I have thought a lot about my life. It made me realize that the crazy sexcapades are not what I want anymore. Cruising the beach or hitting the sauna for a quick fling no longer has the excitement or thrill that it used to have.
Plus, I know that 8 out of 10 times I am left unsatisfied and even thirstier for more of nothing. Sure, the hunt is thrilling but I can get my kicks in other ways. I guess I am maturing and proud of it.
Which means that I must resign Johnny Rico from his player lifestyle and affiliation with me, myself and I. Johnny was the crazy kid in the daddy store waiting for someone to pick him up and play with him. But I feel past that point now. I am ready to be the clerk at the daddy store that scopes out each one and picks them based on personality,ambition and Woofness.
So you can call me Rocko from now on. A more clever, intelligent, and confident guy that lives beneath the whore. It is time to grow up and live this life in love and amusement and not in risk and promiscuity.
A time for for learning how to love and live in a more safe, happy and healthy way.
A person is always learning and mistakes and epiphanies are always welcome.They help you to grow and figure out who you want to be.
Writing to you from Buddha himself in Xiamen, China.
I go back to the States in 4 days.
I hope you enjoyed my adventure and decide to have one of your own.
Learn to live,
creator of ImFromDriftwood.com
and one of The Advocate’s Forty Under 40,
recently announced a 50-state “Story Tour” to collect, publish and broadcast true LGBT stories from across the country. The IFD team will set out in September on a 4-month tour of the U.S. with the goal of bringing IFD off the computer screen and into America. Along the way, they will meet the many faces of LGBT America, bringing their stories to the world through videos, audio stories and written word.
IFD is an award-winning website that collects true LGBT stories from all over the world–from the smallest towns to the biggest cities–to help gay youth feel not so alone. Throughout the 50-state tour, IFD will have readings at cafes, bookstores, bars, community centers, college campuses and other venues where they will share stories from IFD and talk about the site and its purpose. Along the way, they will be filming and recording video and audio stories from LGBT people they meet across the country.
Throughout the journey, IFD will have a regular blog page chronicling their adventures. Marquise Lee, IFD’s Video Editor and founder of Crush Deviant Productions will film the journey and make short YouTube videos about their progress. As the Story Tour progresses, they will publish regular video webisodes as well as written updates about their journey.
But first…they need your help.
In order to fund the story tour, IFD has launched a fundraising campaign, where they hope to raise $15,000 through small donations and fun incentives (check out their KickStarter page for more details). That won’t be enough money for the entire 4-month Tour but it will be enough to get started. They’re also hoping to make the entire experience as interactive as possible. The IFD team is taking requests of where to visit and even asking people to open up their guestroom or couches.
IFD knows LGBT people are everywhere.
You know LGBT are everywhere.
After this Road Trip, LGBT youth will know it, too!
I Have Arrived.
Where is my red carpet entrance?
Usually when a blogger starts to elaborate on his journey, the long hours on a plane and body pains are always the first to be mentioned.But why start off on a negative note? Who cares if I had sixteen hour flight, or if I waited 3 hours at a McDonald’s in China for my ride to finally show up. What really matters is the amount of trouble I am and will eventually get into as my life flourishes in Guangzhou, China.
I arrived on Monday the 24th and was some what appalled when I learned that I had to stay at the University where my program is located. I am a city guy ( bright lights and chaos arouse me). But the University’s city is the complete opposite. It is secuestered and vapid. The excitement is non-existent. I had a few days till my internship started so I decided to have an adventure.
About a year ago, an article was published on the San Francisco Sentinel website about the police cracking down on gay men loitering in the People’s Park. I found this interesting and decided to venture and see why the police feel the necessity to harass the homosexuals. The park is located off of the Gong Yuan Qian Station, which is the crossing point between line 1 and 2. The exit signs will lead you into a small underground mall with tons of little shops squished into any available space. If you make your way to the escalator than it will take you up to a large park. The park was filled with “mature” people dancing, hacky sacking, and playing badminton. On the left hand side of the park there lies the Gay Chinese Red Carpet. Men sit on the benches along the path and watch as other men stroll by searching for a reason to stop. I walked through this meat market and felt like Naomi Campbell on the runway.
Regardless of my sexual position, I decided to sit. A man immediately stared and passed by me three times before sitting down. The men here have to resort to public bathroom jack off sessions and park flings not because it turns them on or is kinky but because many of the gay places are shut down by government or are strongly frowned upon. It is depressing.
I ended up sitting at another location. Two other Chinese guys approached me and one spoke English so we got to chatting. I told them to take me to a bar. All three of us got in the taxi and headed to a place called Velvet, which is located in the Taojin district very near to the Garden hotel. This was supposedly a straight bar that gay people took over. It started out as a mixed crowd and then around 12 the gays pour in. The managers allow only straight women to dance on the bar and have signs all over that say no kissing.They also walk around like police patrolling and if you are caught kissing too many times then they will kick you out. There is talk of the club shutting down and changing the name so that gays will no longer come. Many people come because of the international DJs. The entrance fee is 50 Yuan and the drinks are around 60 Yuan. Many foreigners party in this bar. Of course there are the local Chinese queens and “Mean Girls” that stare and act like they are too perfect for conversation. All and all the club is overcrowded and boring. But I met many friends that night.
The two Chinese guys that I came with did not want to pay the 50 Yuan so they left and I entered alone. I grooved back and forth at the bar for awhile while enjoying a Rum and Coke and some Lady Gaga. I noticed two foreigners at the bar so I approached them. One was from Russia and the other from New York. By the end of the night, New York and I had become the best of friends. I was right to make friends with New York because I had free drinks from the bartenders all night and dirty looks from the Native Chinese. It ended up being a great time and the alcohol was stronger than in the States as well. It only took two drinks to bring out my “She Wolf” howl.
I ended up returning the next night with New York and found myself being very popular. I bought a Sprite because the night before had left my stomach rocking and rolling, but the bartenders poured vodka into it while I was in the bathroom. They also challenged New York and I to a 3 way rock, paper, scissor battle that left the loser guzzling down shots of tequila. I had many people staring. I was the only person in the club who was of Latin origin. Asian is not exactly my type so any hairy masculine foreigner that walked in usually caught my attention.
An Algerian French guy strutted in and we had an instant connection. Apparently, he was a somebody in the gay scene so dirty looks and jealous turns were what the night had in store for me. One Chinese acquaintance of his even asked him why he was too good to date a Chinese guy. The Chinese guys hate when foreigners pair up. So the locals hated me but I didn’t care because the French guy’s rudeness kind of turned me on.
The French guy later asked me to go to an after party at his friends place. I showed up only to find two muscled Lebanese and Libyan guys working out in tight underwear. Three Chinese guys came with us to the party and they were too scared to enter the apartment after seeing the men.They slowly backed away from the door so I pushed through them and entered with excitement. Just then, a third almost naked muscle man from Taiwan exited the bathroom and gave me a friendly nod. I hit the jack pot here! A hairy Lebanese, a Libyan apartment owning fashion designer, a french Algerian, three arrogant Chinese, a sweat dripping Taiwanese, and an all too curious American sat discussing life, indulging in some sin and enjoying the different types of company.
This is what traveling is all about. Learning and living from other people about what life is all about. We all have our different cultures and beliefs but we still find a way to just enjoy each other. It has only been a week and I have already learned and experienced so much.
You will have to continue on my journey with me and read my next blog to find out what happens from the party and on. It is kind of juicy.
Until my next life changing experience,
Johnny, PLEASE Be Good
WHAT IS A GAY VACATION?
AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
It can mean different things to different people. Some gays like to travel in June to Gay Pride’s around the world every year. While some gays prefer Circuit Parties or Gay Cruises. Some LGBT folks go to very LGBT towns like Provincetown and San Francisco, while others are choosing Las Vegas and New York . Some gays don’t care if there is anything gay going on at all – they make their own fun and blend in with the locals.
I was at a conference recently and a lady, who I presume was heterosexual, said to me, “I don’t understand why you run gay travel sites. We don’t run heterosexual travel sites…” – uh, that’s because MOST of the world is geared towards heterosexuals!
Gay men and women often feel as though they are out of place when they go on vacation. They want to enjoy their time away from home without having to deal with any ignorant attitudes. Sometimes this can be hard. As much as I would love to see Dubai …I don’t think I am rushing there anytime soon.
Today with so many gay vacations available to book onto gay men and women can vacation without encountering prejudice. But what can you expect on gay vacations ?
These vacations can offer people who are gay the chance to take a break without facing the usual prejudices they may experience in everyday life. It can be very upsetting to have to deal with non-friendly behaviour and that is one of the reasons why these vacations are so popular. So if you want to take a vacation with likeminded people, you want to plan smart and do your research or have someone help you plan your trip.
You might be surprised to learn that there is a large and growing choice of tourist destinations to visit. As more travel operators realise that they should cater for a more diverse customer base, more destinations are added worldwide that welcome the gay dollar. This means that you will not have a limited choice when it comes to booking your vacation.
As well as being able to choose from many different destinations there are plenty of types of gay vacation to go on. Twenty years ago this choice was very limited. But things have changed. Today however there are package holidays to beach side destinations, adventure vacations and even all gay cruises. So if you were thinking that your vacation would have to be quite dull, think again, you can go on the type of vacation you love.
At certain times of the year various countries hold gay Pride events and these are some of the highlights of the year. Vacations can be taken to coincide with these events and are really great fun to meet lots of new people. So if there is an event you would like to attend, why not incorporate it into your next vacation?
For those of you who like to feel as though they are in the lap of luxury while on vacations there are some great all inclusive deals. Here you can eat and drink as much as you like when you like. Not only that but the majority of all inclusive hotels are 4 or 5 star, so they are such a pleasure to stay in.
If you are single or coupled and want to go on a vacation aimed at gay people you will have lots to choose from. You can go alone or in a group of friends, the choice is yours. The one thing that you can be sure of is that you will have a fantastic time!
Howie Holben runs Spirit Journeys , a gay vacations company that concentrates on personal growth tours. Howie has travelled the world learning from indigenous peoples. You can read more about Howie, his work and gay tours with a spiritual flavor at Spirit Journeys website.
A few months ago, Johnny Rico found us thru Facebook and our Travel Blogs. For a young gay man, he is very well traveled. He is about to embark on a 12-week life-changing experience to Guangzhou China – not known to be a big gay mecca! In fact, he tells us many bars get shut down quickly there. China is a huge and very diverse country. Gay activity is tolerated in a very few places (mainly large cities) but the political scene in China can mean rapid changes in official attitudes. The authorities have recently admitted that gays and lesbians do exist and have begun working with gay groups in a very limited way.
Johnny is taking an internship there and excited about what the summer holds for him!
They are Crazy to let me in!
I am a 21 year old college traveler. I study abroad and do internships in other countries in order to enjoy other types of people and lifestyles. — I will let your mind think up the details that are linked to the word “enjoy”.
I spent three months in Chile in 2008 and 6 months in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year. Just imagine the amount of damage you would want to do in that city if you were to have your own apartment in Argentina, an excellent mug and a big “young” appetite for sex.
So I did and my life experiences have made a lasting impression on my intelligence. But Argentina and Chile were not enough for me. I need more…and I DESERVE more. Which is why I used my witty charm and killer smile to land me a 12 week internship in Guangzhou, China.
What matters to me is the experience and the new things that I will learn from the whole experience. Isn’t that what life is all about. Learning to Live. Learning how to take the best things from life and live in them. It’s our life, learn what you love and surround your life in it because your only here for so long.
So come along for the ride and live vicariously through me. I will be posting blogs throughout my trip. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about taking advantage of the times that you pass up. Learn to live.
Until my next life changing experience,
Johnny Be Good
Watch for more of his posts soon!