, August 30th, 2014
Welcome to the Purple Roofs gay travel newsletter.
Our articles section now has five parts – local news, general interest, reviews of past events, travel event news (including upcoming events and reviews and photos of past events), and finally sweepstakes and contests.
We’ve got lots of other great stuff for you this time, too – including some great feature articles: Traveler Complaints; Eating Out in Paris; Rome and the Cinque Terre; Uruguay.
We’ve also recently launching our revamped Gay Travel Events section – more than 500 pride events, film festivals, circuit parties, and much more, now with photos, descriptions, and links to lodging for your stay.
And we’re featuring a number of other gay travel articles from around the world.
You’ll also find some great accommodation specials and discounts, tons of upcoming gay travel events, and much more.
My Gay Friendly Italy
My Hidden Italy offers private travel experiences in hidden and unique areas of Italy, combining adventure travel with quality and comfort. Our “Off the Beaten Track” itineraries focus on the Puglia/Basilicata, Sicily, Piedmont and Amalfi Coast regions.
The hotels we include are mostly historic homes or small regional hotels. Restaurants are usually family owned with local, fresh food and offer regional cuisine. We arrange for private licensed guides allowing us to explore each town with knowledge and flexibility.
Visit the My Gay Friendly Italy Website
Email My Gay Friendly Italy
Our Featured Articles This Month:
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: What Some Guests Say About B&B’s
by Don & Ray
Our last travel column dealt with some of the complaints that owners of Bed and Breakfasts had with a very small percentage of the guests staying with them. They all said that 95% of their guests were very wonderful people who they would love to have them stay with them again. It is just the 5% that are the problem. We have stayed at over 65 Bed and Breakfasts from coast to coast and we often ask other guests what they like and or dislike about the Bed and Breakfast. 95% of the time the guests give glowing reviews of their stay at the Inn. The most often things that we hear are how friendly and nice the owners are. The personality of the owners after all is one of the most important things that a Bed and Breakfast is known for. Of course the Inn has to be very clean, great breakfast, lovely location and a very nice ambiance. A few years ago it seems as though almost all Inns were filled with antiques however in today’s world, they are decorated in all types of decor and themes. We have stayed in Inns with western decor, leather decor, retro and Art Deco decor as well as rustic and chrome and mirrors.
FRANCE: Paris’ Le 404 Restaurant
by Carlos Melia
One of my favorite activities when I travel, is to discover new restaurants, regardless the destination and type of cuisine. During my last trip to Paris, invited by La Compagnie Boutique Airline, I spent four days trying all new options I have never tried before. Some where over the top like L’Oiseau Blanc at the new Peninsula Hotel Paris, and some where very casual but yet AMAZING. Le 404 Restaurant, located in the neighborhood of Le Marais, was without a doubt one of them. Le 404 offers a great selection of dishes and delights from Morocco, in a very intimate atmosphere.
ITALY: Wonderful Days in Rome
by Dolly Goolsby
Rome certainly has taken hold of me. This is a beautiful city, and huge. I think what has impressed me the most on this visit is how large, magnificent and really, really old the structures, the streets, the city walls are. Of course, I KNEW that, but to FEEL it is very different. I have been to Rome several times in the past years. The first time I came here, I found the city to be so overwhelming…..scooters and cars zooming past relics of the old Roman Empire, as if these were everyday things….the first time I wrote about Rome, back in 1996 or 1997, I described the city as ” Los Angeles with ruins.”
ITALY: The Churches of Rome
by Dolly Goolsby
What a day we had! It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and we wanted to start our Sunday in the right way, so we went to Mass at a church just 2 blocks away from our apartment. We made it in time for the 9:30 Mass. This church is called Sant’Andrea della Fratte. We chose it because it was the closest one, but OMG! What a magnificent church. Mass was held in a chapel near the front of the church, but we could see that the church was huge. We were in just a small little area. After the Mass was over, we wandered through the rest of the church. To my amazement, there were two Bernini sculptures near the main altar. Bernini is my most favorite sculpture of all the Italian sculptors. Of course, his works are in many churches in Italy, but this was such a surprise. Bernini had a way of making the marble seem to be alive. Up close, these angels were so lifelike.
ITALY: From Rome to the Ligurian Sea Coast
by Dolly Goolsby
Wow! Time flies when you are having fun! I realize it has been several days since I wrote a post for this blog. Sorry, as I do want you sharing these experiences with me. However, we had sporadic Internet access, and we were busy, visiting with our good friends, Massimo and Magda Carli, in Viareggio. Susan and I spent our last day in Rome, walking and walking some more. We managed to visit a few more churches, but the weather was very humid, so we were exhausted by the time we got back to our apartment Wednesday night. Susan had looked up, on the Internet, how many churches there are in Rome. Within the city itself are over 900 churches! We decided we could never possibly see them all! We did find one, right near Piazza Venezia, that looked interesting, so we went in.
ITALY: The Day of 900 Stairs
by Dolly Goolsby
As you know, our first day on the Cinque Terre (yesterday) was not so fun. We had rain, off and on, all day. The trails were closed. We had enough good weather to allow us to explore both the old and the new towns of Monterosso. Then the rain came back, so we had to settle in our rooms, read, catch up on emails, and of course, study more Italian. Today, however, the sun came out, and we were ready to explore. Unfortunately for me, I had told Susan that, although I have been to the Cinque Terre many times, done some of the hikes at different times, I had never been up to the village of Corniglia. If you look at a map of the Cinque Terre, you will see that the southern most villages, Riomaggiore then Manarolo, are the least strenuous villages to visit.
URUGUAY: Fray Bentos Summer Vacations on the Banks of the Rio Uruguay
by Roy Heale
This small, sleepy town is one of Uruguay’s lesser known vacation spots. From green parks, dramatic cliffs along the river, historic architecture to splendid beaches, there exists a wide variety of outdoor activities for summer fun in and around Fray Bentos, Uruguay. Recognised for “the romance of the sun, the cliffs and the river”, the town was conceived as a river port that still preserves its natural features with waters deep enough to allow large ocean going ships. This pleasant Uruguayan city is connected with the resort town of Gualeguaychu in Argentina through the Libertador General San Martín international bridge. Here the climate is temperate and humid, ranging between 17° and 20° C in the summertime and dropping considerably during the winter.
We also scour the web to bring you all the gay travel news we can find. You can see these posts on a daily basis at http://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog, or sign up for our RSS feed. Here are some of our favorites from the last month.
AUSTRIA: Walking in Vienna
I traveled to Vienna this year to attend the Life Ball, the largest fundraiser for AIDS research in the world.
CANADA, ONTARIO: Visiting Gay Toronto
The Church Street area in Toronto, Ontario, is a gay hotspot on any given day, but things turned up a notch for WorldPride this year.
CHINA: Gay Travel Marketing Comes to China
A cheerful promotional cartoon from a major Chinese travel agency shows two women sharing one hotel bed and two men tucked into another. “Take your gay best friend to visit Hong Kong,” it proclaims, offering $80 off travel packages.
FINLAND: Summer in Saimaa
I’ve always bemoaned the fact that I have traveled to Finland twice and both trips were during the winter.
GERMANY: Discovering the Berlin WallLE
With this year marking 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there’s been a lot of buzz in the city. Germany is pulling out all they’ve got and, as most things in this country, the focus is (perhaps, not surprisingly) on Berlin.
GREECE: New App for Gay Athens and Mykonos
Greece is the word. It’s no secret that some of the Mediterranean’s sexiest men and women can be found throughout Greece.
NETHERLANDS: The Jordaan – Amsterdam’s Prettiest Neighborhood?
Like in many cities across Europe, Sundays are a great day for wandering. On my recent trips to Amsterdam, I spent my free time meandering through the city streets, walking along the canals and just generally taking in my surroundings.
NORWAY: Bergen on the Cheap
Ever since Bergen was the inspiration for the kingdom of Arendelle in the hit Disney film Frozen, this Norwegian town has been getting a lot of attention from travelers
SWEDEN: Is Gay Stockholm The Ultimate Gay Honeymoon Destination?
If you are looking for a fresh and exciting honeymoon destination, and somewhere a little different, Stockholm may just be the place.
THAILAND: Sea Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
If you had told me last year that Phuket was amazing, I might’ve laughed at you.
UK: Totnes, Rural UK Town, to Get Rainbow Crossing
The rural Devon town of Totnes is to get its very own rainbow crossing, to celebrate next month’s Pride festival.
UK: The Best of Gay Manchester, England
There’s nowhere in the LGBTI world quite like Manchester’s Gay Village and there’s no time better to visit it than during Pride.
VIETNAM: Cruising the Mekong River
Cruising the Mekong River in Vietnam gave me view of what life looked like to people living on boats and on stilt houses.
USA, CALIFORNIA: More Restaurants in San Diego’s Expanding Gayborhood
We hope you enjoyed the mouth-watering reviews of restaurants and eateries in Mission Hills, Bankers Hill and Hillcrest.
USA, FLORIDA: Lesbian Travel – Playalinda Beach
Move over wooden bangles and dangly earrings, we’re shedding it all when we visit Playalinda Beach, a barrier island on Canaveral National Seashore. Yes, we understand nudism is illegal in Florida, but this is one beach you can shed your clothes and no one will notice – or care.
USA, MAINE / MASSACHUSETTS: Provincetown vs. Ogunquit
The difference between Provincetown and Ogunquit is best seen in the people who frequent the seaside towns.
USA, MASSACHUSETTS: Things Are Hot in Gay Provincetown
Not one, not two, but three things out of gay Provincetown on the wires this week.
USA, NEVADA: Living the Gay Fantasy at Burning Man
Labor Day fast approaches, which means only one thing in San Francisco (and an ever expanding radius): Burning Man is nigh. August 25th-September 1st to be exact.
USA, NEVADA: Las Vegas Pursuing LGBT Tourists
While gay couples still can’t get married in the marriage capital of the world, Las Vegas wants to let them know they — and their money — are more than welcome to the buffet of other activities Sin City has to offer.
USA, NEW YORK:
In upstate New York, there’s a 2.6 million-acre region characterized by rolling green valleys and sprawling open space, and it’s just four hours from Manhattan. Yet, Finger Lakes wine country doesn’t receive nearly the attention it deserves as a breezy summer escape or a fall foliage getaway — or an excellent anytime jaunt for wine lovers.
USA, NEW YORK: Eating Out – New York City
No matter where you live, it’s worth visiting New York City at least once a year if only to be able to talk about the newest restaurants and hottest food trends from experience.
USA, NEW YORK: Exploring the Adirondacks
As the largest state-run nature reserve in the continental United States, Adirondack Park offers plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities, from hiking and fishing in the summer months, to wintertime skiing.
General Interest Stories:
“Christian” Conservative Linda Harvey Wants Ban on Gay Pride Parades
Christian conservative Linda Harvey claims Gay Pride parades are a bad influence on young people and should be banned…
paAUSTRALIA: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 Lost Money
The 2014 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival announced a $177,644 financial loss from this year’s festival season and organizers say the event will need a radical overhaul to return to profitability.
USA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Thousands Attend Charlotte Pride
Thousands of people marched and celebrated in uptown Charlotte over the weekend for the city’s gay pride festival, Charlotte Observer reports:
Upcoming Event News:
AUSTRALIA, NSW: Got New Year’s Plans Yet? How About Tropical Fruits?
(Dec 21-Jan 1) If the glitz and glamour of Sydney are all just a bit too much for you on New Year’s Eve, look no further than the beautiful Northern Rivers region of New South Wales!
CANADA, ONTARIO: Toronto WorldPride Chooses Vancouver Artist’s Work
Jun 22-Nov 15) Vancouver’s Pablo Munoz is one of six Canadians whose work will be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario during a special exhibition marking WorldPride 2014 in Toronto.
CARIBBEAN: Transgender Cruise Planned for December
(Dec 14-21) Travel agent Jeff Land blocked cabins on a Royal Caribbean sailing in December for what he believes is the first trans cruise. “This has been a dream of mine for so long,” Land said, “because it feels safe being with other trans people.”
COSTA RICA: Gay Surf Week in November
(Nov 8-15) We’re not going to ask what you like to ride, but if it includes waves, consider Gay Surf Week 2014, which promises to offer a week of sun, fun and waves for gay and lesbian surfers and beach lovers in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
GREECE: Lesvos Island Welcomes Women’s Festival in September
(Sept 6-20) After 13 years, this festival keeps getting better, attracting women holiday makers from all over the world to this tiny Greek Isle. For 2014, the International Eressos Women’s Festival takes place over two weeks, from 6-20 September.
ICELAND: Bears, Bears, Bears on Ice!
(Sept 4-7) BEARS ON ICE is an annual event for bears and friends held in Reykjavik, Iceland in September.
NEW ZEALAND: Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week to Be Bigger Than Ever
(Aug 30-Sept 6) Hot on the heels of Queenstown becoming a gay wedding hotspot, the organisers of the resort’s Gay Ski Week have organised international travel prizes bound to grow the event’s global profile.
USA, CALIFORNIA: Palm Springs Celebrates Gay Pride in November
(Nov 7-9) “I am Pride: Stonewall” is the theme for the 2014 Palm Springs Pride Celebration scheduled for November 7-9, ending with the parade.
(Aug 31) Oakland – the East Bay’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) Pride festival is celebrating its fifth year Sunday, Aug. 31, and expanding the festival with a Pride parade down Broadway.
USA, FLORIDA: New: Gay Days Fort Lauderdale
(Nov 25-Dec 1) According to Gay Days president Chris Alexander-Manley, the event is expanding into Fort Lauderdale.
USA, HAWAII: Maui Pride to Feature Frenchie Davis
(Oct 3-5) Maui Pride is coming up in October and has an amazing array of events this year. Including a Film Festival, which will premier a short film called Princesa and a full feature film Fagbug Nation!
USA, ILLINOIS: Chicago’s Reeling Film Festival to Celebrate 32nd Anniversary
(Sept 18-25) The 32nd Chicago LGBT International Film Festival, Reeling will commence Thursday, Sept. 18 at The Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport ave.) with a screening of Boy Meets Girl, directed by Eric Schaeffer (US, 2014, 95 min).
USA, MASSACHUSETTS: Women’s Week Returns to Ptown in October
(Oct 13-19) For the past thirty years, Provincetown has hosted a festival in October like no other.
USA, NEVADA: Saturday Gay Beach Club Party at Tropicana Las Vegas This Summer
(Saturdays, Mar 9-Labor Day) The first-ever Saturday LGBTQ beach party at a resort on the Vegas Strip, Xposed!, celebrates its grand opening Saturday, March 29, at The New Tropicana resort in Las Vegas.
USA, NEVADA: Evolve Returns to Vegas for New Year’s Eve
(Dec 31) Evolve 2015, a unique gay New Year’s Eve celebration, is more than just a party – it’s a 3-day experience attracting men from more than 30 countries to Las Vegas.
USA, OREGON: Portland Queer Film Festival
(Oct 3-9) One of our favorite LGBT film festivals is coming again in October.
USA, TEXAS: Gay Music Festival Coming to Austin in September
(Sept 12-14) Couldn’t snatch a ticket to Coachella this year? Save your dollars and your feathered earrings for the biggest queer music festival in the country.
USA, TEXAS: New LGBT Play Festival To Debut in September
(Sept 4-14) Uptown Players moved its Pride Play Fest from September to June this year, so it seems TeCo Theatrical Productions is stepping in to the fall spot.
AUSTRIA: Win a Romantic Trip for Two to Gay Vienna
(Enter by 8/31) Imagine walking down gay Vienna’s infamous Ringstrasse en route to the Vienna State Opera with your loved one.
USA, HAWAII: Win Five Nights in Maui at the Maui Sunseeker
(Enter by 10/1) Step off the plane and the first thing you notice is the warm tropical breeze, full of the scent of plumeria, jasmine and tuberose, wrapping you in a wonderful feeling you’ve really arrived in paradise. And that’s just the first few moments of your escape from the normal. It gets better.Full Story
USA, MASSACHUSETTS: Win a Summer Vacation in Massachusetts
(Enter by 8/31) What’s better than a summer vacation? A free summer vacation, obviously.
USA, WASHINGTON: Win a Dream Gay Wedding in Seattle
(Nov 1) Seattle is proud to announce Marry Me in Seattle, a celebration of marriage equality that includes special year-round, customized hotel packages and offerings for gay and lesbian couples.
Gay Travel Events – The List:
Check out our brand new events list, where we list gay events around the world – http://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-events.html.
Sign Up for Our Gay Travel Sweepstakes
Hawaiian Sweepstakes: We’re teaming up with the beautiful Maui Sunseeker Resort in Hawaii (http://www.mauisunseeker.com/) to give away 5 nights in Hawaii.
Check Out Our Special Offer Section
Our innkeepers and travel agents offer exclusive specials to travelers who find them on Purple Roofs. This month, we have 99 Accommodation/Tour offers listed in 15 countries and regions around the world! No membership required.
Visit Our Other Websites:
Gayapolis: Personals, daily news, and a great gay and lesbian directory.
Gay Realty Network: Real estate professionals around the world.
Purple Unions: Gay friendly wedding vendors around the world.
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Marriage Equality News:
Also check out Gay Marriage Watch, our daily news blog about gay marriage: We bring you all the news on the fight for gay marriage daily. Join our blog email list by sending a subscription request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the full blog at http://www.purpleunions.com/blog/index.html. You can now also find us on Twitter with regular updates every day at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.
That’s it for this issue – enjoy the newsletter!
Mark & Scott
PurpleRoofs – http://www.purpleroofs.com
PO Box 4666, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
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, August 29th, 2014
click any image for full-sized pic
Our last travel column dealt with some of the complaints that owners of Bed and Breakfasts had with a very small percentage of the guests staying with them. They all said that 95% of their guests were very wonderful people who they would love to have them stay with them again.
It is just the 5% that are the problem. We have stayed at over 65 Bed and Breakfasts from coast to coast and we often ask other guests what they like and or dislike about the Bed and Breakfast. 95% of the time the guests give glowing reviews of their stay at the Inn. The most often things that we hear are how friendly and nice the owners are.
The personality of the owners after all is one of the most important things that a Bed and Breakfast is known for. Of course the Inn has to be very clean, great breakfast, lovely location and a very nice ambiance. A few years ago it seems as though almost all Inns were filled with antiques however in today’s world, they are decorated in all types of decor and themes. We have stayed in Inns with western decor, leather decor, retro and Art Deco decor as well as rustic and chrome and mirrors.
As for the complaints that we have heard from guests are that the owners are never there. Others complain that the owners are not friendly and seem not to care if they are staying there or not.
Sometimes linens and towels are not kept fresh and have ravelings. Yep, we have stayed one or two Inns like that. NOT a pleasant situation! Some Inns only change linens every 3rd day and this is a MAJOR complaint with guests!
It is nice for there to be some information about the Inn and the city in each room however we stayed in one Inn that actually had an 18 page booklet about the do’s and don’t’s about the Inn. Who wants to spend that much time reading things like that?
We were staying at in Inn a couple of years ago and a guest came down for breakfast and asked the owners about the bus line to go downtown. Rather than tell them, they told them that it was in their booklet upstairs and they needed to read it there. That Bed and Breakfast is no longer in business!
Some guests are returning guests and love staying at their favorite Inn however sometimes they notice little things like the Inn has lowered costs by changing their breakfast selections. No one wants to stay at an Inn and be served coffee in paper cups or try to unwrap a muffin from a cellophane wrapper.
If an Inn offers bathroom amenities, keep them coming. Don’t drop things like that as guests will notice.
Happy hour is very special at a lot of Inns. Don’t drop things like that either.
We realize that owning an Inn is a 24 hour job. The owners just HAVE to get away sometimes. Often they can hire a “Inn sitter” to take over but sometimes they just need to get away for a few hours. They just always need to give each guest their cell phones in case of an emergency.
We have stayed in Inns where the doors wouldn’t close to each room and the shared baths were not clean. If an Inn does have shared baths, they need to be sure and check them out often especially in the mornings. Not all guests are that clean nor that considerate of others, which is sad to say.
All in all, 95% of all Inns are operated in a very professional and friendly way. One major complaint that guests have is that when they email an Inn for reservations or even just a general question, it might take days for them to get a response. Rather than to call, they usually just book another Inn.
95% of the Inns where we have stayed are marvelous. One thing that owners do complain about is guests who are always leaving things behind and then expect the owners to ship the item to them free of charge.
We love Bed and Breakfasts and will continue to stay at them forever.
Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/
, August 28th, 2014
As you know, our first day on the Cinque Terre (yesterday) was not so fun. We had rain, off and on, all day. The trails were closed. We had enough good weather to allow us to explore both the old and the new towns of Monterosso. Then the rain came back, so we had to settle in our rooms, read, catch up on emails, and of course, study more Italian.
Today, however, the sun came out, and we were ready to explore. Unfortunately for me, I had told Susan that, although I have been to the Cinque Terre many times, done some of the hikes at different times, I had never been up to the village of Corniglia. If you look at a map of the Cinque Terre, you will see that the southern most villages, Riomaggiore then Manarolo, are the least strenuous villages to visit.
There are hills, of course, but the walk between the villages is pretty flat and level. The northern most villages, Vernazza and Monterosso, are much more hilly. Monterosso has the largest beach access, so walking along the sea wall is pretty flat. But, then there is Corniglia.
Corniglia is the center village of the 5 villages. It sits way up on the mountain top…and no easy access to the village. You might think, when the train stops at the Corniglia station, the village is right there. Not so. One gets off the train, walks up a paved path to the beginning of the stairs…..426 stairs later and you be In the village.
Once we got to the village, of course, it is smaller than the others, but very pretty, in its own way.
One could really walk through the entire village in 15 minutes.
We had lunch, then we had to descend the same 426 stairs and the walkway to get to the train station. We had a full day pass, so we went on to Manarolo by train, then backtracked to Vernazza, also by train. There has been so much rain here I the past few days, many of the trails were closed, so today, no hiking, only stair climbing.
After being in Manarolo, we went by train to Vernazza. Susan and I walked up the hill to the ristorante, Il Pirata, to say Hello to our Sicilian twin friends. Luca was there, along with his wife, and the barista, whom we have met several times. It was like old home week, Luca wanted to know why we were not staying in Vernazza, and why my “marito” was not with me, I tell you, I go to Vernazza every year with my groups, sometimes twice a year. Frank has gone with me twice, I think. And they remember him. Of course, Frank is a memorable person.
We finished our afternoon with aperitivo at the bar by the waterfront in Vernazza, sharing a botte of wonderful Cinque Terre dry white wine, waiting for the church bells to chime at 5:00. This is probably my most favorite thing to do….have an aperitivo by the waterfront, and listen to the church bells.
Eventually we made it back to Monterosso, and as the weather had been kind today, the beach umbrellas were up, and life was good once more for the beach concessions.
We were tired..at least I can say. I was tired. We had to walk up and down stairs in Vernazza, in Manarola, in Monterosso. So therefore, I can easily say, this was a day of 900 stairs. After a light dinner, a “passeggiata “, with only a few more stairs, we are both ready to call it a night.
Tomorrow, perhaps, I will get to be lazy, by the beach. If not the beach, at least by the pool. But so many adventures await. Who knows what will happen tomorrow.
So I will say,
Ciao for now,
By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Liguria Gay Travel Resources