Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Florence & Fiesole

Author: , June 16th, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

May 26th, 2010

Fiesole, ItalyBuon giorno,

Today is Wednesday already! How time flies when you are having fun!

Saturday was beautiful, so the ladies all went to the markets to do their last a minute shopping and to see more of Florence. I, of course, took everyone to San Ambrogio market in the morning.

We discovered the most wonderful hardware store ever… it had a little bit of everything in it. Tucked between the insoles for shoes was the kitchen appliances, some linens, actual Hardware items, like screwdrivers, light bulbs, but the store just kept going… there was a downstairs with a Christmas tree, among other things. It was better than going to Home Depot!

At Bella's TableAcross the street from that was a fabric store, and home decorating items. Eventually, we got over to the market to do our weekend grocery shopping. I was tired after that, so the ladies had to go to the street market without me.

That evening we had another good meal here at the apartment. We made panna cotta for dessert. Sunday again was a beautiful sunny day, so after our leisurely breakfast, some of us went up to Fiesole (picture above)  for the most wonderful view of Florence from a city that is even older than Florence.

No flat ground there, I can tell you, but the view was worth it. Two of the gals stayed in Florence and were finally able to get into the Bargello museum and see the other sights that we had not been able to see earlier.

Biking in LuccaAlthough three of the travelers had early flights on Tuesday and needed to pack, we nevertheless hopped on the train to Lucca early Monday morning.

Some of us walked the walls of the city and Thera rented bicycles and biked around.

We had a lovely lunch and came home to Florence around 6 p.m.

For our last evening together, we went to ZaZa restaurant.

Pasta from Magda and MassimoEarly Tuesday 4 of the ladies left us, Kristie and Ruth went to Pisa, Susan and I cleaned house. Massimo and Magda, our gracious Landlord and lady, came to dinner in the evening, and they even brought the main course, a wonderful clam pasta made with small clams from Viareggio, and they also brought sparkling wine go with the meal.

We had a great visit. I had made dessert, a plum clafoutis, which is French, sorry! But very good and not too sweet, to end our eating frenzy!,

Bella with her paperNow I am waiting for Christine and Kathy to arrive to make up our next journey. We will leave Friday for a three day stay in Venice, then up to Verona, then the Dolomites. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is not favorable, but we are going anyway.

My other computer crashed this morning so we are going to have a funeral for it later. Thank goodness I was finally able to access the internet with the iPad this morning.

love to all…

Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence & Tuscany.

New Book Documents Gay Author’s Seven Month Journey

Author: , June 8th, 2010

Wander the RainbowSan Francisco–based author David Jedeikin today announced the release of his new memoir Wander the Rainbow. A rare collision of fate renders Jedeikin the only match for his ailing boyfriend in desperate need of a new liver.

The couple undergoes risky transplant surgery together – but its success doesn’t keep alive their relationship, which ends soon after in heartbreak and betrayal. The experience inspires an epic seven month journey across six continents and 29 countries, uncovering unsung travel gems and hotspots in unlikely places for the gay traveler.

The book will be released simultaneously in the U.S. and Canada in paperback and e-book formats. In celebration of San Francisco’s 40th Annual Gay Pride Celebration, author David Jedeikin will be appearing at the historic A Different Light bookstore, 489 Castro Street, on Tuesday, June 22 at 7:30 pm for a special reading and book signing.

Full Story from PR Newswire

Click here for gay marriage resources.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

Winnipeg Pride Bigger Than Ever

Author: , June 6th, 2010

This year’s Pride Parade was the biggest yet, with more floats than ever before. “We’re thrilled to see that the community is overwhelmingly onboard for this year’s Pride celebrations,” said Barb Burkowski, Chair of the Pride Winnipeg committee.

“We’re seeing a growing number of members of the LGBTTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Two-Spirited, Queer) community, our friends, family members, and supporters who want to be a part of Pride Day festivities, and this year’s parade will be one that members of the community at large won’t want to miss,” added Burkowski.

Former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray, a founding member of the Winnipeg Pride planning committee, spoke at a rally at the legislature. He told the crowd of thousands that he remembered when they parade started as a group of about 50 people, with about 12 of them wearing paper bags over their heads.

Full Story from CTV.ca

Click here for gay marriage resources in Canada.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

Postcards From an Italian Adventure – Cinque Terre & Volterra

Author: , June 5th, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

May 22nd, 2010

Buon Giorno everyone,

Cinque TerraWe had 3 lovely days at Cinque Terre, returned to Florence on Thursday night, then got up early yesterday (Friday) and went to Volterra.

We arrived in Vernazza, on the Cinque Terre, about 10:30 a.m. on Monday. The weather was slightly overcast, but warm. After we got checked into our hotel, we had lunch on the waterfront, at an outdoor restaurant, devouring very good pizze and beer. Our rooms at Martina’s hotel, are very nice, but we have the top 3 rooms in the hotel, my room being up 72 stairs. I think I counted them every time I went up…

My room is a small double room, but had the outdoor terrace off of it, so that was our Happy Hour gathering place every day. It was so relaxing.

Cinque TerraAfter lunch the first day, the other ladies took off to do some walking, just in Vernazza. Because of all the wet weather before we got there, the trails between the towns was closed. Some were wet, but the biggest problem was that landslides had closed the trails with rocks and debris. I did not go for walks with them, as I just wanted to savor being in Cinque Terre again. I did go out and buy some postcards, then spent a lovely hour on the terrace writing them. When the girls got back, they brought some salami and cheese, bread and some of the great Cinque Terre white wine.

Later, we went to dinner at Il Pirata, a small restaurant at the top of the town, owned by the Sicilian twins, Giancarlo and Massimo. They both remembered us from previous years, and we were treated very well. Massimo poured wine for all of us, as we had to wait for our tables. Then they served us the most delicious seafood salads, pesto lasagne, eggplant parmigiano, among other dishes. We just had to have dessert as Giancarlo is pastry chef extraordinaire.

Cinque TerraEach day we went up to Il Pirata for breakfast, having fresh squeezed orange juice, cappucchini and pastries. I know, I know… I am not eating sugar, but my will power went right down the drain in Vernazza. (Of course, when we got back home and I had gained a kilo, I got my resolve back again in a hurry!!)

Tuesday, we woke to gorgeous sunshine. The ladies wanted to go to Riomaggiore and walk the easy part of the trail, which was open, then they hoped they could get up to Corniglia. I did not feel like climbing the hundreds of stairs to Corniglia, so I elected to go by train to Monterosso, by myself. That was very nice. I explored the old town, walked all over that area, finally having lunch at a small cafe on the beach. It was glorious.

When we had our Happy Hour Sharing Time, I found that the girls had been able to do an alternated hike, through the vineyards, up at Corniglia. We all had such a good time. That night we went to dinner at Gambero Rosso, a very nice seafood restaurant, right in the same piazza as our hotel. The seafood, being locally caught and very fresh, was delicious.

Wednesday was not so nice. Overcast, slightly breezy, threatening to rain, but we all went to Monterosso together. I had not done the Switchback of the Friars walk, so we did that, which was again, stairs, straight up (almost) to a church at the top. We also went on walks through town, visited the Anchovy packing plant and visitor center. We got to taste the anchovies, and saw a video on how they pack them. They are very good, and not anything like anchovies that we get in the United States.

After lunch, we got the train back to Vernazza, and had our last dinner at Trattoria di Sandro, which also had fresh seafood, and another wonderful meal. We bought wine from Martina, whose Dad has a vineyard there in Vernazza. Very good white wine, for 7 Euro per bottle.

Thursday we came back to Florence, made a dinner of pasta with tomato sauce and sausage, roasted some veggies, had a salad and bread, and retired early.

Yesterday we took the bus to Volterra, which is a two-hour trip from Florence, but it is such an interesting little town. We spent the day there, returned home about 7:00 p.m., a bunch of tired people. I had frozen soup before we went to Cinque Terre, so we had that, heated up, of course, cheese, salami and bread, and a bottle of our 4.40 Euro wine… which, by the way, is on sale this weekend, for 2.90 so I sent the girls back to the store to buy as much as they could carry!!

Today we went to the San Ambrogio market, we are doing laundry, and later are having a cooking session, with a lesson on making panna cotta… and another good meal for dinner here tonight… we are making the asparagus risotto with porcini mushrooms again, as it is the most wonderful thing I have eaten in a long time, plus chicken marsala, roasted veggies and salad, and if our panna cotta turns out well, that will be our dessert with strawberries.

Tomorrow, our cooking session will be learning how to make ricotta potato gnocchi….
I will let all of you know how that turns out.

Ciao for now… off to the laundromat.

Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence & Tuscany.

Gay Travel Directory Contest Offers 5 Nights on Hawaii’s Big Island

Author: , June 4th, 2010

Kehena Beach

Volcano - Big Island, HawaiiThe Purple Roofs Gay/Lesbian Travel Directory has a new contest – someone will win five nights lodging at the beautiful Bali Cottage on the Big island of Hawaii. Bali Cottage is on the rugged Kahena Beach coast – not far from the famous Hilo Farmer’s Market and Volcanoes National Park:

Unwind at this Oceanfront Romantic 2 story Private Balinese Guest House, surrounded in the natural ambiance of Kehena Beach Estates. This Jewel of the Big Island of Hawaii is tucked alongside the South East Puna coastline.

Bali Cottage, Big Island, HawaiiBreak away from the hustle and bustle of your routine and lose yourself in the serenity of our Island and all it has to offer & enjoy blissful ocean breezes and relaxation beyond compare!!

Kehena Beach is in the secluded southwestern corner of the Hilo District, the Big Island’s most lush and tropical region, which also includes the charming plantation town of Pahoa. A sweepstakes winner will be drawn on October 1st, 2010. Prize does not include air fare.

Contest Entry: http://www.purpleroofs.com/contest.html

Bali Cottage Website: http://www.thebalicottage.com/

Gay Pride in Salt Lake City

Author: , June 4th, 2010

I’ve found lots of reasons to take pride in Salt Lake City this weekend:

Salt Lake City is one of the country’s underrated gay-friendly cities, according to About.com gay and lesbian travel expert Andrew Collins. Salt Lake visitors and residents alike will converge on Washington Square this weekend for the Utah Pride Festival, which starts with an opening reception tonight and continues through Sunday.

The Pride Festival celebrates Utah’s GLBT community and includes a parade, music, rallies and more.

Full Story from About.com

Click here for gay travel resources in Utah.

Postcards From an Italian Adventure – A Sunday Stroll

Author: , June 3rd, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Florence, Italy

Saturday, May 16th:

Buona sera,

I will have to make a shorter note tonight… we have really done a lot, in spite of the rain, in the last few days, and tomorrow we leave for Cinque Terre, and I will not be able to write for 3 days.

Florence, ItalyFriday, the ladies went to Boboli Gardens, without me, as I needed to get some things done here at the apartment. Susan took them on that tour, and of course, the rains came down in buckets, at times, but they did go into the Pitti Palace, and have a chance to dry out a bit.

The afternoon turned out to be sunny, warm and very nice. I had to go to the market, then I made an apple tart for Sharona’s birthday. Susan had decorated our house early on. When the ladies all returned in the afternoon, we had her birthday pie… we knew we were going to dinner later, and allowed enough time to not spoil our appetites.

About 7:00, we left for the restaurant, I Latini. We had 7:30 seating. It was very fun, as you pay one price for everything, and one does not have to make many choices.

Appetizers were a sampler plate, with barley salad, prosciutto, salami, cheese, then the first course was a sampler of ravioli, pasta with wild boar sauce, (I cannot even remember all, because the first thing they did was open a 2 liter jug of Chianti, the bottle with the straw bottom, but it was very good.!!)

I Latini, Florence, ItalyThe courses went on: for the main course, we each chose our own, and we each got something different. I had deep fried lamb chops, which were wonderful, Sharona had rabbit, Susan had rack of lamb, Then came the dessert sampler, then biscotti with vin santo, and a sparkling moscato wine, which was wonderful.

Somewhere along the way, a second bottle of Chianti was opened. Lord, Lordy!! When we were ready to leave, Sharona asked if she could take the wine home,,, no problema!! The waiter popped a cork in the bottle, we left, following Sharona through Piazza Repubblica, and no one even gave us a second glance.

As you might expect, Saturday, we did not do much of anything… in the morning. It was raining again… but by lunch time, it had stopped enough that finally, we were able to go to the San Lorenzo market and the ladies got to do some shopping.

Today, miracle of miracles, we woke to a sunny day. We had a lovely brunch with French toast, sausages, fruit salad, and mimosas, then left to see Florence in the sunshine. We could not do the Santa Croce church until afternoon, and the Bargello was closed, also… which were the two things we really wanted to do, so we went to plan C. Got on a bus, up to Piazzale Michelangelo.

Boy Eating Gelato - Florence, ItalyThe view from up there, looking down over Florence, is spectacular. We then had a pizza and some wine, and walked back into the city.

Now we could visit Santa Croce, which we did, then stopped for gelato, finally getting back here around 5:30.

We made a simple dinner of stuffed pasta shells, stuffed with spinach and fresh ricotta, oven roasted veggies, and some leftovers from last night’s dinner…

Now I am off to bed, and will send another email after Cinque Terre.

Love to all, and Ciao for now!

p.s. the kid eating gelato is not anyone we know, but he was so into his ice cream, I could not resist!! (His Dad gave the OK)

Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence & Tuscany.

Sweden: Europe’s Most Pro-Gay Country?

Author: , June 2nd, 2010

ILGA-Europe – the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – has named Sweden as Europe’s most pro-gay country.

The scale ranked countries based on a point system, with positive points awarded to countries with such benchmarks as legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, anti-discrimination protection, and coverage of homophobia in hate speech and crime legislation. Points are knocked off a country’s score for having legal bans of homosexual acts, unequal ages of consent, and histories of peaceful assembly rights violations.

Sweden, the lovely Scandinavian home of Dag Hammarskjöld, Ingmar Bergman, and Pippi Longstocking, came in on top with a perfect score of ten points.

Full Story from Just Out

Click here for gay travel resources.

India: The Next Big Gay Hot Spot?

Author: , June 1st, 2010

When Bryan Herb steps into stores on his trips to India, he says, shopkeepers almost always ask whether he is looking for a souvenir for the woman in his life. A ring for his girlfriend, perhaps? What about a beautiful pink scarf for his wife?

Keith Bedford for The International Herald Tribune
Sanjay Malhotra’s travel agency, IndjaPink, caters to a gay clientele.
“Every single time this happens, I toy with the idea of saying, ‘I have a boyfriend, not a girlfriend.'” said Mr. Herb, co-owner of Chicago-based Zoom Vacations, which caters to gay tourists. “But I don’t.”

Homosexuality has long been a hidden facet of Indian life and, until recently, an illegal one. But change is afoot. A Delhi High Court ruling last year decriminalized same-sex intercourse, and sensitivity toward gay people and bisexuals is growing in major cities like Mumbai and New Delhi. The Hindustan Times, one of the country’s largest English-language newspapers, recently began a campaign called, “It is time to open our minds,” encouraging Indians to rethink social issues, including equal rights for gay people.

Full Story from the NY Times

Click here for gay travel resources in India.