Vancouver is for Women

Author: , August 25th, 2010

Gay Friendly _ Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Recognized by Community Marketing, Inc. in 2008 for being the top international travel destination among lesbians, Vancouver boasts one of the most welcoming and accepting communities in the Americas. World-class dining, entertainment and quality service unfold upon your arrival to the sassy city by the Pacific.

The following information and reviews may be used as a guide when you embark on the fabulous journey of visiting one of the most beautiful cities on the entire west coast. Keep in mind that the next Vancouver Pride Weekend is scheduled for July 30-31, 2011, but do not let this deter you from visiting at any other point in time between now and then. With gay marriage being legal since 2003, there is never an inopportune time to visit and partake in everything the city has to offer to its LGBT brothers and sisters.

Gay-Friendly Neighborhoods in Vancouver

The West End is a cute little jewel in the heart of Vancouver. Marvel at the floral arrangements elegantly presented along the edges of the Edwardian-style homes between Davie and Denman streets as you mosey on over to your favorite brunch spot for mimosas and great company. Pay special attention to rainbow-decorated Davie Street and take a moment to stop and visit the fabulous Little Sister’s Art & Book Emporium store for anything and everything LGBT-related you may desire during your stay. During Pride, Davie Street is the place to be with dance parties, scantily-clad women and an atmosphere that will stick to your ribs (and your heart) forever. The English Bay and Pacific Ocean are a hop, skip and jump away in the distance and make for an incredibly serene and enticing backdrop.

Full Story from SheWired

Featured Property: Trelawn Place, Arthurs Point, New Zealand

Author: , August 22nd, 2010

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Gay Friendly Otago Region, New Zealand Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Trelawn Place B&B - Arthurs Point, New ZealandWelcome to Trelawn Place, one of Queenstown’s popular and long established Bed and Breakfast (B&B). If you are looking for warm hospitality and an atmosphere that makes you feel at home, then look no further.

It is also a stunningly picturesque venue for your wedding (picture above taken from the property), with several accommodation options to suit your needs. The house is large, so you have plenty of space for privacy if you wish.

Trelawn Place is a country home and bed and breakfast only 5 minutes (4km) drive from central Queenstown. 11 km (15 minutes) from the Queenstown Airport. We offer:

  • B&B accommodation, with King sized beds
  • A self contained option in our Honeymoon cottage that can sleep up to four people
  • Our Garden Apartment sleeps four
  • The Cherry Tree House sleeps three
  • For bed and breakfast we provide a full cooked and a continental breakfast for those staying in the house
  • We offer all the peace and privacy of a tranquil retreat
  • The delightful 2 acre cottage garden is on the edge of the famous Shotover river
  • The property is surrounded by dramatic mountains
  • The Queenstown Coronet Peak ski field is the major part of our panoramic river view.

During your stay you have complimentary use of our guest laundry, guest computer, a riverside Jacuzzi and plenty of off street parking. We have collected relevant information on the Queenstown area to help you plan your holiday. Talk to us during your stay if you need help with your itinerary. There are no strangers here, only friends who have never met.

See the Trelawn Place Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: The Carlis Launch a New Apartment

Author: , August 22nd, 2010

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

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!

Friday, August 6th

I was one of 10 people who attended a dinner party given by the Carli’s in this new apartment. Lots of “bubbly” wine for a proper toast, and more food and drink than any of us needed. What a lovely evening!

The other guests were the Ochoa family from Mexico (Amanda and her family). plus 3 very interesting guests of Magda and Massimo, so there were several languages floating around the dinner table.

I really have to get busy and study my Italiano more, but when the conversations are flowing as quickly and abundantly as these were last night, it is difficult to keep up anyway. I did get the gist of some of the conversations, and thoroughly enjoyed being with the people that were there.

One of the guests, Anna, is a retired art history teacher, who taught for 40 years. Lena, the other lady present, is an architect. Lena and I did have some conversation, as she speaks some English.

Now that the Allegri apartment is officially open, I wanted to move there straight away; however, I was told that it has already been reserved for three months by some people from Canada.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see some pictures of the apartment and our lovely dinner party. There seems to be something new to do every day.

Ciao for now…

Dolly

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

Santa Rosa: Gay Friendly Heart of the Sonoma Wine Country

Author: , August 22nd, 2010

Gay Friendly Sonoma County Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Prince Memorial Greenway - Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Public ArtEarlier this month, we spent two nights in one of Sonoma’s largest cities – Santa Rosa. In the heart of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa is easily accessible from San Francisco and all of Northern California – we made it there from the Sacramento area in just under two hours.

We visited four great places to stay in the area – we’ll cover these a little later in the article.

We visited two of Santa Rosa’s historic districts – Railroad Square, and Downtown.

These districts are adjacent to one another, separated by Highway 101 and Santa Rosa Plaza, a cute little mall that provides convenient pedestrian access between the two.

Downtown

Cantina, Santa RosaWe’ll start with Downtown.  We snuck in lunch here in one of our favorite restaurants that we didn’t even know was still around.  Regular readers may remember us mentioning The Cantina – one of our old favorites from Walnut Creek, California.

“Our” old Cantina was converted to a new name and concept, “Maria Maria”, several years back, and I thought I’d never have another bowl of their delectable tortilla soup.

But the one in Santa Rosa is still there, and I was able to enjoy a bowl of the tortilla soup and a wonderfully cheesy quesadilla.  Highly recommended if you find yourself in Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa Downtown MarketWhen we returned downtown later in the afternoon, we ran unexpectedly into the Santa Rosa Downtown Market – a farmer’s market plus that runs every Wednesday evening in the summertime (ending at the start of September).

There were fresh produce, arts and crafts, street food vendors, games for the kids, and much more, stretching three or four blocks through downtown.

Treehorn Books - Santa RosaWe also found a group of street preachers on their soap boxes loudly bellowing at the mostly disinterested crowd – captive audience and all that, I guess.

And we chanced across a fantastic little used bookstore – Treehorn Books – on Fourth Street in the heart of Downtown.

You’ll also find some really cool artwork here, from painted benches in Old Courthouse Square (and check out the architecture of the Courthouse itself) to statues and sculptures here and there.

If you’re at the corner of 3rd Street and Santa Rosa Ave., look up at the AT&T Building – there’s a really cool piece of art up there made of a bunch of little interlinked silver discs that flutter and flow in the wind.

Bench Art - Santa RosaAT&T Building

But the most predominant artworks are the statues scattered all around Santa Rosa of Charles Schultz’s beloved Peanuts characters.

Schultz made Santa Rosa his home, and if you’re traveling with kids or just feeling a bit of nostalgia, you’ll find the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa too.

Woodstock in Santa Rosa

Railroad Square

Crossing through the mall and under the freeway, you’ll find the Railroad Square district.  It’s tiny – only a couple blocks long and one block wide, but we found some of our favorite places in Santa Rosa here.

A'Roma - Santa RosaFirst of all, for breakfast or morning coffee (or even for a quick gelato snack in the afternoon) try A’Roma – a cute coffee shop on the district’s eastern edge with free wifi and a cool, funky atmosphere.

We loved the sign in the store – “We Are All Made Differently – Celebrate Diversity” and the drinks and food were pretty good too.

Also in the eating category, one place we really liked and one that we didn’t.

Syrah Restaurant - Santa RosaFirst, the good place.  Syrah is a cute little bistro in an old, converted warehouse covered in ivy.   The food was reasonably priced but very good, and for the hungry, there’s a five or seven course tasting menu with the option for wine pairings.

This place reminded us a bit of Quince in San Francisco before it moved to North Beach – cute, great gourmet food, and wonderful service.

Now for the not so good.  We’d walked past LaCoco’s Italian Restaurant earlier in the day, and it looked realy cute and Italian.  So we stopped in for dinner the first night, and boy were we surprised.

Prince Memorial Greenway - Santa RosaThe food was ok, not great, not bad, but the service was awful (except for the busser/waterboy, who was really on his toes).  Our server would disappear for lng stretches, and it took us 1/2 an hour from when we asked for the bill until it arrived at our table.  And we had to ask for it three times.  Our server seemed more interested in talking to the new table that had come in than in taking care of us.

There are also many cute little antique shops in this district.

Belvedere - Santa RosaFinally, we took a walk along the Prince Memorial Greenway (pictured at right and at the top of this article) – a creek restoration project that runs .6 miles from Santa Rosa City Hall to Railroad Square, and features picturesque bridges, pedestrian, and bike access to this beautiful creek.

Finally, Santa Rosa doesn’t have any gay or lesbian bars at this time, but someone suggested that we check out Belvedere (at left) – a bar/restaurant where many of the gay and lesbian folks in Santa Rosa are said to go to hang out.  It’s in a little seedier part of town, so if you go at night, we suggest driving.  It’s about four blocks north of Downtown.

As we mentioned earlier, we visited four gay friendly accommodations this trip:

Melita Station

5850 Melita Rd, Santa Rosa, CA, 95409, USA
Lodging Type: Bed & Breakfast
Hosts: Tim & Jackie
Phone: 1 707 538-7712
Email: info@melittastationinn.com
Website: http://www.melittastationinn.com

Melita Station - Santa Rosa, California

The closest property to downtown Santa Rosa that we visited this trip was Melita Station, a converted railroad station that dates back to at least 1887.  This is a charming bed and breakfast just a short way off of Highway 12, less than 10 minutes by car from downtown Santa Rosa.

Melita StationThe inn features 6 guest rooms, including a completely accessible, large suite on the inn’s ground floor.

There’s even a double room – a full bedroom and a smaller room with a daybed, perfect for families or friends traveling together.

The beds looked plush and comfortable, and the decor was warm and welcoming.

Your hosts, Tim and Jackie, are originally from the UK – their work brought them here, and they loved the area so much that they stayed to open their beautiful B&B.  We were greeted by Jackie upon arrival, and she was a welcoming, gracious host.

The property is surrounded by nature – it rests in a fork in the road, but the back patio is lush, quiet and filled with flowers.

While we were here, we saw hummingbirds and a beautiful crane as it flew by, and there were deer in the near vicinity.

Melita Station is also a green, eco-friendly property – the inn is solar powered, uses a ground well for water, and Jackie a trained chef, serves wonderful gourmet breakfasts each morning, using organic, locally sourced products wherever possible.

Melita Station is perfect for a romantic getaway, a base-station for exploring the Sonoma Valley, or for anyone coming to Santa Rosa for business and looking for a place to stay with more personality and warmth than your typical hotel.

Melita StationMelita Station

Vine Hill Inn

3949 Vine Hill Road, Sebastopol, CA, 95472, USA
Lodging Type: Bed & Breakfast
Hosts: Kathy Deichmann
Phone: 1 707 823-8832
Email: Innkeeper@vine-hill-inn.com
Website: http://www.vine-hill-inn.com

Vine Hill Inn - Sebastopol, California

Vine Hill Inn - Sebastopol, CaliforniaWe also visited two properties in nearby Sebastopol – 10-15 minutes west of downtown Santa Rosa. The first of these is Vine Hill Inn, an old converted farmhouse adjacent to a gorgeous vineyard. The house sits on almost two acres, and has been completely renovated over the last twelve years by the owner, Kathy.

Originally built in 1893, the house has a delightfully twisty history: it survived the big quake in 1906, only to be sold by the bank for back taxes in the seventies for just $11,000. Suffice it to say, it’s now worth quite a bit more.

View from the Upstairs Bedroom - Vine Hill InnKathy is very gay friendly – her nephew and his partner run the inn for her when she’s away on vacation, and she loves having gay and lesbian guests.

Vine Hill Inn features four guest rooms, but the star of the bunch is the large upstairs room that overlooks the vineyard. The view (at right) is fantastic, the room has a romantic jacuzzi tub (but be forewarned, it’s not really big enough for two) and, like the other rooms, features a comfortable queen-sized bed.

There’s even a pool on the property, perfect for the summer months.

Tucked away on another part of the property, behind a screen of bushes, you’ll find goats, chickens, and even an old horse – Kathy takes in rescues from a local organization when she can.

Children are welcome, as are small pets – Jackie only allows one pet at a time, so call ahead to confirm.

Vine Hill Inn is the perfect romantic getaway in the wine country, close to Santa Rosa and the area’s major wineries.

Vine Hill Inn - Sebastopol, CaliforniaVine Hill Inn - Sebastopol, California

Sebastopol Inn

6751 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, CA, 95472, USA
Lodging Type: Inn
Hosts: Ashok Mukherji
Phone: 1 707 829-2500
Email: sebastopolinn@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.sebastopolinn.com

Sebastopol Inn - Sebastopol, California

Sebastopol Inn - Sebastopol, CaliforniaIn the heart of Sebastopol, just off Highway 12 at the historic Gravenstein Station, the Sebastopol Inn offers more of a traditional motel or small hotel set-up.

The property is new, built just ten years ago, and its position at the back of the center ensures peace and quiet.

The rooms here are large, and the suites are even bigger – all of the rooms we visited were comfortable, clean, and welcoming.

Sebastopol Inn - Sebastopol, CaliforniaEach of the suites features a kitchenette, so you can do some of your cooking “at home” while you’re here.  There’s also organic coffee provided.

There’s a heated pool on site, and a hiking and biking trail winds through wetlands behind the Sebastopol Inn.

The property is entirely non-smoking, and no pets are allowed.  The current owner, Ashok, took over the property in 2005, and welcomes the gay and lesbian community.

Just ten minutes from downtown Santa Rosa, the Sebastopol Inn is the perfect place to use as a base for exploration of the Sonoma Valley, and for business travelers visiting the Santa Rosa Area – the property offers wifi internet access in-room.

Sebastopol Inn - Sebastopol, CaliforniaSebastopol Inn - Sebastopol, California

Glenelly Inn & Cottages

5131 Warm Springs Rd, Glen Ellen, CA, 95442, USA
Lodging Type: Bed & Breakfast
Hosts: Kristi Hallamore Jeppesen
Phone: 1 707 996-6720
Email: glenelly@glenelly.com
Website: http://www.glenelly.com

Glenelly Inn & Cottages - Glen Ellen, California

Glenelly Inn & Cottages - Glen Ellen, CaliforniaOur final property this trip is in Glen Ellen, about halfway between Santa Rosa and Napa, not far off of Highway 12.  Most of the 10 units here are in the two main “motel” style buildings, but the two standouts are the adorable, newer cottages (pictured above) that are nestled below the main building.

The main buildings were built circa 1910, but the cottages are much newer, and offer a more private, romantic getaway with lots of living space.  They also have a/c, something the main building don’t have, but you’ll rarely need it here in the cool wine-country climate.

Glenelly Inn & Cottages - Glen Ellen, CaliforniaThere’s a full breakfast server every morning in Glenelly’s dining room.

There’s also a large patio area (above left), shaded by a giant oak tree and table with umbrellas, perfect for relaxing with a good book or enjoying breakfast on a beautiful spring or summer morning.

The property is very quiet, and surrounded by lush green vegetation.

Glenelly is the farthest of the four from downtown Santa Rosa, but its proximity to the Napa/Sonoma County border makes it perfect for exploring both of these famous wine countries.

Glenelly Inn & Cottages - Glen Ellen, CaliforniaGlenelly Inn & Cottages - Glen Ellen, California

We’ll close this article with things that make you go hmmm… Santa Rosa edition.  We saw this sign during our travelers, and didn’t have the heart to illuminate the owners about the possible other meaning of “Back door guests are best”…

Back Door

Ontario’s Buckhorn & The Kawartha Lakes Region

Author: , August 21st, 2010
by The Westwind Inn, Buckhorn, Ontario, Canada
Email The Westwind Inn | Visit the Westwind Inn’s Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Central Ontario page

Want to Get Married in Ontario, Canada? | Looking for a Realtor in Ontario, Canada?

Buckhorn, Ontario, Canada

We invite you to discover the beauty of Buckhorn and its surrounding area, there are few places in Canada as visually stunning as the Kawartha Lakes area with open spaces, waterways and and abundance of birds and wildlife, with many unusual geographical features.

Buckhorn, Ontario, CanadaThe Buckhorn area is rich in culture with its many art galleries, antique stores and flea markets with hundreds of world class cultural events and attractions.

From Spring through Fall, canoe, kayak and boat rentals are available. If you dream of catching that big fish then this is the place to drop your fishing line, with an abundance of Pickerel, Small and Largemouth Bass, Muskie, Perch, Crappie and Panfish, and for our European friends some very large and abundant Common Carp.

Buckhorn, Ontario, CanadaSandy beaches and picnic areas provide enjoyment for those who prefer to stay on land, with hundreds of miles of nature trails and canoe routes for the more adventuresome.

Winter in Buckhorn is just as much fun with access to snowmobile trails, cross country skiing, snowshoe trails and ice fishing a short distance away, with endless possibilities.

Did you know?

Buckhorn, Ontario, CanadaThat the Missisauga Indian along with a number of other tribes used the lakes and streams in the area as a means of transportation and a source for food through fishing. The 20′ high rock, located near the bridge on the shores of Buckhorn rapids, known as “Council Rock” is believed to be the site of Indian Council meetings.

That in 1839, Buckhorn’s population was 50.

That lumbering was a chief export industry with a number of mills built in the area producing squared timbers, ship’s masts, shingles, barrels etc. These products were transported via the inland waterways to Quebec for shipment to Great Britain and Europe. A large portion was also shipped down the Erie Canal (opened in 1825) to New York.

Buckhorn, Ontario, CanadaThat there is an historical plaque between Lock31 and the dam honouring John Hall, the first settler of this area (1827), who constructed a dam and sawmill there in 1830. Two millstones, recovered from the rubble near the site of the original mill, are on display. Look for the stone with the square hole. It moved while the other remained stationary during the grinding of grains into flour.

That John Hall became the first postmaster, and for matters of the Royal Mail, the settlement was named “Hall’s Bridge”. However, John Hall’s collection of deer antlers, which he displayed on the outside walls of his mills, which gave rise to the name Buckhorn. It wasn’t until 1936 the hamlet became officially recognized as by its present name.

Buckhorn, Ontario, CanadaThat John Hall died in 1883 at the age of 96 years, but not before he gave every female in Hall’s Bridge (Buckhorn) a plot of land to build a home in order to encourage the continuing growth of the hamlet.

That Harvey Township (Ward) was named after Sir John Harvey who gained notoriety in the War of 1812 and later became the Governer of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland.

That a little way down Adam & Eve Road, on the north side, you will see 2 large glacial rocks. Folklore has it that if a young couple can hold hands and each touch one of the rocks, their lives will be blessed.

That Folklore tells a story about beautiful Sandy Lake, also known as “Lake of Spirits”. In the south bay, visible from Lakehurst Road is a large, heart shaped rock known as the “Giants Heart”. There on calm days, ripples form over the rock formation, causing it to look as though the “Heart” is beating. This lake is land locked and has no feeder river. But water flows out of the lake and down Sandy Creek to Buckhorn Lake. Where does this water come from?

Westwind Inn - Buckhorn, Ontario, CanadaWelcome to the Westwind Inn. A unique Ontario Resort perfect for adults seeking a natural lakeside escape. Close to Toronto and Ottawa. Our tranquil retreat in Beautiful Buckhorn offers 35 rooms, an easy drive just 170 km’s north east of Toronto, 20 km north of Peterborough. Westwind Inn is perfectly situated on 60 acres of beautifully manicured, yet natural grounds with extensive perennial gardens and over 1200 feet of scenic shoreline. Watch the otters and mink play and experience the soothing sounds of nature. Discover Ontario’s natural Kawartha Highland wilderness with towering pines, pink granite rock and rugged landscapes with abundant wildlife all in a pristine natural habitat. A short drive, yet a world away. Your perfect Ontario lakeside country inn getaway surrounded by crown land with endless biking, hiking and boating opportunities at our door step.

Westwind Inn provides a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for those seeking a refreshing and natural lodge experience at an exclusive Ontario resort. Join us, unwind in our relaxing and peaceful surroundings, clean and comfortable rooms perfectly designed for two, with fireplace, private balcony, antiques, large full bathroom, cozy sitting area and personal touches to help you feel at home. Enjoy superb lakeside dining with an unsurpassed view and great hospitality. Consider us for your: relaxing holiday, couples retreat, honeymoon, spa weekend, fishing trip, golf getaway, group retreat, meditation or relaxation retreat, family reunion, conference or weekend wedding retreat.

KLM Launches Travel Contest Geared to UK Gay/Lesbian Community

Author: , August 21st, 2010

KLM SweepstakesJust got this from KLM:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has launched its first ever gay online game in the UK. The airline, which is a staunch supporter of the gay community in the Netherlands, has previously worked with the LGBT community in London but this is the first time the airline has targeted a UK-wide audience.

The game, entitled “The KLM Gay Getaway!”, which can be accessed at www.theklmgaygetaway.co.uk , focuses on the gay capitals of the world. Players get a whistle stop tour of the top KLM gay destinations as they answer a series of multiple choice questions about each city. The view-master mechanic flicks up images of various cities with the questions overlaid on top of the images. At the end of ten questions players can register their details in order to be put into a prize draw to win flights to a gay KLM destination of their choice.

Verane Brissaud, Marketing Communications Manager, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines UK & Ireland, commented “The UK’s LGBT community is very internet savvy and many are very well travelled. We wanted to remind the LGBT community that KLM is an option for them when planning their next holiday, not only because we fly to the most gay friendly destinations in the world, but also because we fly from 15 airports in the UK to the rest of the world, via one of the world’s gayest capitals – Amsterdam. ‘The KLM Gay Getaway!’ is a fun, light-hearted game that we hope will engage with audiences and get them talking about KLM – and hopefully flying with us!”

Enter the contest here.

Postcards From an Italian Adventure: Lugano, Switzerland

Author: , August 21st, 2010

Gay Friendly Switzerland Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

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!

Lugano, Switzerland

Monday, August 2nd

Lugano, SwitzerlandI arrived in Lugano by train about 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. It was beautiful!! While the sun was not still high up in the sky, it was still daylight, and no rain!!

I got on a funicular (see! I told you) that took me from the station down to the old part of the city, near the waterfront.

My hotel was not hard to find, as it sits right next to the funicular station. Hmmmm! this could be a noise problem… but I checked in, and my room was in a hallway far away from the funicular track, so it was quiet.  I promptly set out to see the lake, and to find food.

Lugano SwitzerlandLake Lugano is gorgeous….set in between beautiful mountains, and miles and miles of clear blue water. The city has taken great pains to keep the water front clean and pretty. There is a walk way, and a bike path, that goes from one end of the city to the other, about 3 miles of walking and viewing this beautiful lake.

At the far west end of the town, Paradiso, there is a funicular that goes to the top of one of the mountains. That first night, I just walked along the water front and enjoyed every warm moment, with no umbrella.

Lugano, SwitzerlandI took a picture of the Hotel Victoria, in Paradiso, where we had stayed in 2001. Still beautiful… but I couldn’t afford it now.

Finally, I decided to find somewhere to eat. Then the sticker shock set in… the prices on the menu were outrageous.  19.00 Swiss francs for a pizza (one franc is equivalent to 1 USD). I did not have a pizza, but my dish of pasta alla vongole, with a bottle of water, and a glass of wine, cost 35.00 francs. No wonder the Burger King and McDonalds were doing so well, although, when I looked at their prices, a Big Mac cost 6.50. and small fries, 2.50. I did not get desparate enough to eat at those places, though.

Lugano, SwitzerlandAfter my expensive dinner, I decided I did not have enough money to have more than one glass of wine, so I simply gave up and went to bed.

The next morning, though, I took a nice long walk again, along the 3 mile stretch of water front. I got a ticket to take a boat cruise on the lake that included a cog wheel train ride from Capolago to the summit of Mt. Generoso.

The boat left Lugano at 10;15, and an hour later we were getting on the cog wheel train, to go up to the mountain. The view from the train was spectacular. That area has many vineyards, and farm lands.

The trip up the mountain took 40 minutes, winding through forests, and occasionally dangling (I thought) over the edges of cliffs. Finally, we arrived at the station, and from there many hiking trails wound through the mountains. The shortest trail was the 20 minute walk up to the summit of Mt. Generoso, where there was a 360 degree view. From that vantage point, I could look due west and see as far as the peaks of Jungfrau, a mountain that I had been on a few years ago, with Marj.

Lugano. SwitzerlandAs I turned, facing east, I could see Lake Como, and across the lake to one of the villages, I think it was Bellagio, but could not say for sure…how close and yet so far.

It was great fun, just going up the mountain and seeing the cows and the sheep along the trail. I asked one of the sheep if her name was Dolly, but she just baaah’ed at me… not in English, so I took that as a No.

I spent the day there, just wandering little baby trails, until it was time to get on the train again, and go back to the lake, while we were coming down the hill, a small deer crossed the tracks, and just stood there for a bit, watching.

Lugano, SwitzerlandWe got on the boat, and another hour later we were in Lugano. I walked the path along the lake again, and veered off to find a lovely park. Eventually, I had to eat, so had another expensive, not so good, dinner. with one glass of wine.

The next morning, I had several hours before my train would leave for Florence, so I went up hilly streets, climbed stairs, found a very ornate church, St. Lorenzo. Then down closer to the water, I found St. Rocco church. Both were plain on the outside, but ornate inside.

The first thing I noted in Lugano, though, before even seeing the lake, was that the primary language is Italian… I was so happy!! Even if I cannot speak the language, at least it was familiar and beautiful, compared to the German language I had been hearing for the past several days. Interessante, no??

I left Lugano by train, changed in Milano for the trip to Florence. I was fortunate enough to get one of the fast trains… one hour from MIlano to Bologna, and another hour to Florence. Fantastico.  I got to Florence at 5:00 p.m., dropped off my bag, and headed for the supermarket. After carting my groceries home, I just had to do a walk through my favorite city. I was very happy to be home again, although the Vienna adventure was fun.  I am much more comfortable here in Florence.

Each of the different cities I visited has their own unique personality. I enjoyed being in each city, but love some more than others. Salzburg will always be one of the places I will want to see again.  Vienna cannot be equalled when it comes to opera and Strauss waltzes. Innsbruck is also very inviting, with all the mountain trails calling you. Lugano is breathtakingly beautiful, if you can afford to stay there. I am glad that I had the opportunity to do this tour. Now I will see more of Italy.

Ciao for now!

Dolly

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

Featured Property: Castro Suites, San Francisco

Author: , August 21st, 2010

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Gay Friendly San Francisco Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Castro Suites - San FranciscoA home away from home, our executive suites are in an architecturally updated and restored 1890’s Italiante Victorian in The Castro, the geographical center of San Francisco. This beautifully appointed lodging has two suites, one with a view to downtown and the bay, one opening into our private garden, and provides guests with a sophisticated, comfortable setting – a mixture of the best of contemporary furniture, original art, crafts, plants, and accessories from around the world.

THE UPSTAIRS SUITE: In the LIVING ROOM are a sofa (which opens into a queen-sized bed), two lounge chairs, a writing desk and chair, a working fireplace, a television with cable service and VCR, and an amplifier/tuner and CD player.

The BEDROOM has a firm queen-size bed, two dressers and ample closet space; there’s also a full bath. The fully-equipped, EAT-IN KITCHEN HAS A LARGE DINING TABLE and chairs, and such amenities as dishwasher, microwave, and clothes washer/dryer. There is a full BATHROOM. We request that no smoking be done in the Suite, but one may smoke outside on the patio or balcony.

THE GARDEN SUITE: Similar in size to the first suite, this one has a LIVING AND DINING ROOM which looks out on and opens into our garden. The separate BEDROOM has twin beds which can be made up as one large king-size or as two separate singles. There is a FULL BATHROOM. This suite has a private entrance from the street. The furnishings are similar to the upper one, including a sofa/bed in the living room.

See the Castro Suites Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Tokyo Hosts First Pride Parade in Three Years

Author: , August 16th, 2010

Japan’s gay and lesbian community marched in Tokyo on Saturday at the first gay parade in three years, campaigning for greater acceptance in a socially conservative country where being openly gay remains taboo.

Police said about 4,000 people in flamboyant costumes, waving rainbow flags and dancing on trucks rallied at the 7th Tokyo Pride Parade, the biggest gay parade held to date in Japan which has a traditional, family-orientated society.

The parade returns after a three year absence because the organizers struggled to find enough staff for the event with many gay Japanese hiding their sexuality at home and in the workplace.

Full Story from Canoe.ca

Featured Property: Calgary Westways, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Author: , August 16th, 2010

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Gay Friendly Calgary/Alberta Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Calgary Westways - Alberta, CanadaThis 1912 heritage residence radiates the Arts and Crafts ambiance, retains its heritage character with its original box beam ceilings, magnificent built-in china display cabinets, leaded glass windows and hardwood floors. Guests are welcome to relax in the cozy living room that is enhanced by a living flame gas fireplace, or surf the web at the communal computer station on the enclosed heated front porch.

We are renowned for our table layout where hearty breakfasts are served on fine bone china and accompanied with cut crystal and silver at the mahogany Duncan-style dining table where guests from all over the world engage in friendly conversations.

After a hard day or night out, then come relax in our deluxe 32 jets hot tub located on the deck at the rear of the house. The deck is surrounded with privacy cedar lattice screens and is clothing optional.

See the Calgary Westways Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here