Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Hadley Park B&B, Red Beach, North Island, New Zealand

Author: , April 29th, 2013

Hadley Park B&B, Red Beach, New ZealandPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Lovely Home, Stunning location, Great Hosts: Enjoy our quality B&B on the Hibiscus Coast surrounded by 12 beautiful beaches and 3 golf courses. All our rooms have ensuites with TVs and free wi-fi. Max and Noel will ensure that your stay is happy, friendly and relaxed.

See the Hadley Park B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Auckland

The UK’s Most Gay Friendly Cities

Author: , April 29th, 2013

LondonPlanning a trip to the United Kingdom? GayTravel.com has a list of the top five gay friendly cities in the UK:

The UK is one of the best places to be gay thanks not only to laws protecting and promoting equality, but a fairly liberal-minded population. Saying that, there are definitely some cities that offer more for the gay traveler than others – here are five of them.

Manchester: While Queer As Folk may be over a decade old, there’s no denying that Manchester’s Canal Street is considered one of the finest places in the country for a gay night out. There really is something for everyone, with lesbian bars such as Vanilla and Coyotes, the all-male Eagle Manchester, or the very mixed and cheap as chips G-A-Y Bar. With many places to stay near the Gay Village you can party for as long as you want without having to worry about making it back to bed.

See the other four at the link above.

Click here for gay travel resources in the United Kingdom.

World-Class Cuisine in Istanbul

Author: , April 29th, 2013

Istanbul, TurkeyHeading to Turkey for an exotic vacation? Joseph Schmitt reports on Turkish cuisine:

Admittedly, before my first visit to Turkey, my experiences with Turkish cuisine hadn’t gone far beyond an occasional morsel of Turkish delight or a heart-pounding cup of Westernized Turkish coffee. And an airplane is usually the last place one would expect to find culinary insights into a foreign culture. I shudder to think of a first-time visitor to the United States judging our gastronomic prowess based on a choice of “meat or fish” served with reheated whipped potatoes and a pre-packaged brownie! I quickly learned, however, that Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com) not only still retains some of that pre-deregulation glamour now only found on foreign airlines, it’s also a regular winner in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards (www.worldairlineawards.com)–in recent years taking home top place for “Best Economy Class Airline Catering” and “Best Airline Europe.”

One of the best parts of visiting a truly foreign country is sampling the unique cuisine.

Click here for gay travel resources in Turkey.

Gauteng’s Club Babylon

Author: , April 29th, 2013

Club Babylon GautengWhat are gay clubs like in other parts of the world? LustralBoy reports from South Africa:

Editor at Large, Ludwig, hit the dancefloors at Baylon and ETC, camera in hand, to capture the weekend energy and unbridled fun of these two establishments. Babylon, named after Club Babylon from legendary gay drama, “Queer as Folk”, has, in its three year life, become a local institution. Neither hidden away nor tucked discreetly in the corner of a dingy alley, Babylon proclaims its pride without inhibition.

Sounds like fun… maybe it’s time to plan a trip to South Africa…

Click here for gay travel resources in Gauteng.

AMTRAK From Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

Author: , April 29th, 2013

Santa Barbara - Carlos MeliaSo here is a funny story. After a week of work in Los Angeles for Rubin’s Special Appearances for Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, we were invited by the new Orient-Express property El Encanto, to visit them in Santa Barbara. So we book our car to drive along the Pacific Coast on last Saturday morning, enjoying the lovely views and the amazing weather. Well not quite so. !!!!! A week before our trip, we realize that both of our Driver’s Licenses were expired. This shows we are both, although non of us are born in the United States, that by now we are two true New Yorkers – who needs to drive when you live in the heart of Manhattan right?

So the questions was: How to get from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, in time, not to miss our relaxing weekend at El Encanto. We both knew that the drive was an experience itself, with all the lovely views of the Pacific Coastline… so we were disappointed to miss that. Luckily we found the right option, Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

If you have read my previous reviews on Amtrak, I have not been one of their fans in the past, but I must say that this time, they brought the European Rail service flashback to us. Connecting San Luis Obispo and San Diego through Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the Pacific Surfliner offers a unique vantage on the Southern California seascape. To get a closer look, you’d have to be on a surfboard.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in California.

 

Quick Escapes for Business Travelers in Kansas City

Author: , April 29th, 2013

Tell a Kansas City resident that they’re located in a flyover state and see what happens. Actually, don’t do that. For those traveling to the heart of America for business or pleasure, you’ll find plenty of extracurricular activities to make the most of your visit. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into KC, here are two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

EAT: Webster House is situated next to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. There’s plenty more to do than just dining here (shopping and gawking at the artwork, to name two), but the food is truly exceptional. Webster House is on the National Register of Historic Places, so if you’re into atmosphere, you’ll find it in spades here. It’s the ideal location for a client dinner – or just a splurge for you and your colleagues.

Authored By Darren Murph – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Missouri.

NH Horseback Riding at ‘Rocky River Ranch’

Author: , April 29th, 2013

horseback ridingRocky River Ranch http://www.glynnhouse.com/area/id24.htm in nearby Campton – 10 minutes from the Inn – offers six rides daily including sunset rides. Scenic trail rides include trips around the ranch and along the beautiful Mad River. Options include rides for beginners, intermediates, advanced riders, overnight camping rides and 2-day wilderness adventure rides. Pony rides are also available.

Make the romantic Glynn House Inn during your Lakes Region getaway. You and your partner will experience elegant surroundings, delicious food, uncompromising service and genuine hospitality. A full gluten free breakfast is always available. Take your favorite four-footed canine pal on a winter break too and reserve one of four pet friendly rooms. View the Glynn House www.glynnhouse.com/ website for additional information about the Inn and local activities.

Heifer Parade: at Canterbury Shaker Village – May 4th

Author: , April 29th, 2013

AutumnCome celebrate the return of the Brookford Farm cows to the Village pastures with a Heifer Parade www.glynnhouse.com/calendar/#may_2013 of the festively adorned animals to their first spring grass. Canterbury Shaker Village is only a short drive from the Inn.

Use the romantic Glynn House Inn as your New Hampshire getaway base. You and your partner will experience elegant surroundings, delicious food, uncompromising service and genuine hospitality. A full gluten free breakfast menu is always available. Bring your favorite four-footed canine pal and reserve one of four pet friendly rooms. View the Glynn House www.glynnhouse.com/ website for other special offers plus additional information about the Inn and local activities.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Dreamcatcher Apartments, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Author: , April 28th, 2013

Dreamcatcher Apartments - Port Douglas, Queensland, AustraliaPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Port Douglas Luxury Beachside Accommodation: Colourful Apartments in secluded tropical beachside location. Stylish and comfortable, close to town and your adventures to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest

See the Dreamcatcher Apartments Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Queensland

Ecuador, A Legal High – Part Two

Author: , April 28th, 2013
by Ryan, BudaBB, Budapest, Hungary
Email Ryan | Visit BudaBB Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Ecuador page

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBB

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBBeyond Quito one suggested place to plan a few days is Otavalo, a charming town with a 70% indigenous population just 59 miles north. Located in the northern Sierra region, a bus from Quito will cost you $7.00 for the 3 hour ride, but most hotels run a shuttle day tour for $35-45.00 per person.

Unlike Quito, Otavalo gets hot and generally stays hot until the sun goes down. Located at 8,856 feet above sea level, the sun beats down. Light pants and short sleeved shirts are best. Have your sunscreen handy.

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBAn excellent choice for a stay is Hostal Dona Esther (www.otavalohotel.com) just off of the main square at Juan Montalvo 4-44 y Bolivar. Be aware that breakfast here is not included in the rates; pay attention to the menu prices, so there are no surprises at check-out time. There are few alternatives for breakfast in the city, so if you are a morning feeder, partake here.

In Otavalo you can walk just about anywhere you want to go; the city is very compact. Otavalo gained fame for its extensive handicraft market held on Saturdays, but due to its popularity, a smaller version is held daily. It is recommended that you do plan a Saturday visit as the city explodes with street vendors that bar almost all traffic in town.

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBOn the main square of the daily market, you will find the upstairs restaurant Buena Vista (Salinas 5-11). Plan ahead and reserve the single table on the balcony to view the market transactions below. If you are in need of a caffeine fix, The Daily Grind on the central square can fix you right up with their excellent espresso drinks or hot chocolate. There are only four bar stools for seating, so get the java to go and sit in the park to people watch. It is a worthy time investment to spend a couple of days in Otavalo making sure you are there on a Saturday.

From Otavalo, you can arrange a day tour to visit Cuicocha (Guinea Pig) Lake, a lake formed in a 3,000 year old crater. For outdoorsy types, there is a 5 mile hike around the rim of the crater which takes 4 hours minimum to complete. It is not for the faint of heart or those who have avoided the gym for the last 5 years.

Venture to Cotopaxi National Park where you will discover the world’s highest continuously active volcano. Once in the park, you can hike, horseback ride, mountain bike or camp. What is not recommended is the tour to Parque Condor, where the emphasis is on the raptors; your chances of seeing one are slim. For the side trips, bring a sweatshirt or jacket. It can get cold up on the volcanoes.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBFor anyone interested in becoming an ex-pat, a trip to the southern Sierra city of Cuenca is a must. As the third largest city in Ecuador, it is a haven for US, Canadian as well as European ex-pats. The cobblestone streets and colonial buildings are what make it feel more like a town than a city, but like Quito, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Prior to the Spanish, Cuenca was the second largest city in the Inca Empire after Cusco in Peru.

The original inhabitants were the Canari who lived in the area for centuries starting at about 500 AD, before being conquered by the Incas in the late 1400s. The Museo del Banco Central has been built on the Pumapungo archeological site, which once held an Inca palace. Admission is $3 and well worth the nominal cost. Besides the colonial and religious artwork, there is a magnificently large display of life sized dwellings from various regions of Ecuador.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBOutside of the museum, as you tour the ruins for free, you can look over the cliff to see the outstanding botanical garden below. For the hale and hearty, climb the steps down to see the garden up close and possibly run into a llama or two on the way. There are about six llamas tethered in the area, but the babies run freely. When you walk beyond the gardens, there is an aviary with a variety of birds. Now it is time to hike up the stairs again as the only exit is back through the same way you entered.

The center of the city is graced with Parque Calderon, marking this as the historical center of the city. Aside from lush trees, statues and fountains, you are likely to be bewildered by the sight of stuffed toy horses of various sizes, along with an elephant and generally a living St. Bernard dog. These are all props for the photographers that eke out a living getting children or adults to pose while getting a photo snapped and printed on the spot.

On this square sits two cathedrals, Catedral Vieja aka Iglesia del Sagrario built in 1557, it is the oldest structure in the city. Stones from the Inca ruins were used in its construction. Catedral Nueva replaced it in 1967, after 82 years of construction. It was started in 1885. Since no city can have two cathedrals, the elder one closed as a house of worship. The architecture for the Catedral Nueva aka Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion was based on the Battistero in Florence.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBIt is in this city where you will have one myth dispelled. Panama hats are not from Panama, but are from Ecuador. After their creating a sensation at the Paris World’s Fair of 1855, they had to be shipped from Ecuador to Panama and from Panama directly to Europe. Hence, Panama received the credit for their origin. Made from the fibers, paja toquilla, from the leaves of the Carludovica palmate palm, a craftsman may take 3-6 months to create one superfine hat.

In Cuenca, now the central hub for Panama hat making, there are numerous places to buy your Panama. First stop in at Casa Paredes Roldan-Sombreros Barrance at Calle Larga 1-41 set between General Torres and Padre Aguirre. There you are able to see some displays of the hat making process and if lucky, one of the apathetic, dour salespeople will give you a demonstration. Best bet is not to buy a hat here as they are very high priced. You will find many other options around the city.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBOne of the joys of Cuenca is the small street malls that are down an alley or the abundant street vendors selling everything from batteries to avocados. When the hunger pangs set in, one good choice is Raymipampa right next to Catedral Nueva. If you can get a table near the window, you will have a view of Parque Calderon. Prices are moderate and the menu includes meat, poultry, and seafood.

What is a delight about this restaurant decor are the light fixtures using various kitchen elements. One light may be a teapot, cup and saucer, while another may be forks, spoons and knives, but all are done in an antiqued blue to cut an chance of glare. Note that many restaurants are only open Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday through Tuesday are dead zone times in this city.

If you want to find the ex-pats for a chat or just jealously gawk at them, you will find many hang out at the Coffee Tree restaurant located at Calle Larga and Borrero. One would think that with the immense ex-pat commerce, the menus would be translated into English, but guess again.

Bone up on your Spanish for most things in Ecuador, but don’t let a language barrier put you off. Another new, but very charming eatery is La Vina at Juan Jarmillo y Luis Cordero. There is also a La Vina, so look for the n to find the right place. La Vina has beautiful murals on the outside walls as well as the interior. It can be quite romantic for dinner.