Purple Roofs LGBT Travel Newsletter – June 20th, 2015

Published Date Author: , June 20th, 2015

Welcome to the biweekly Purple Roofs Newsletter. Every day, our LGBT Travel Blog brings you featured LGBT travel articles, as well as tons of news and helpful travel tips, which we summarize here for you every few weeks. And you can also join our Facebook Travel Clubs for our daily discussions and your travel questions (it’s free!):

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Featured Articles:

The Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China - Carlos Meliaby Carlos Melia
After several weeks of being away traveling across China and then France, today I resume my postings and blogging. So much to catch up. I’ve recently spent over 20 days traveling in China and Hong Kong. My first post is about one of the absolute highlights of our trip, The Great Wall of China. The Wall snakes its way up and down mountains and stretches, in total, for 5,400 miles. Built in numerous sections, work on the Wall started as early as BC 500 though it was only in about BC 215, when China became the country that we know today, did various sections start getting linked and the Wall take on its current form. Meant as a defence against the invading Mongols it was never a success, as the Mongol Invasion in 1211 proved. The Ming Dynasty Emperors once again set about rebuilding the Wall though it was never again used as a defence mechanism, instead slowly eroding and in parts, completely crumbling away.

Following the Emperor’s Steps at The Forbidden City

Carlos Melia - Forbidden Cityby Carlos Melia
One of the main highlights of my recent trip to China, was other than visiting The Great Wall of China, spending a full morning following the Emperor’s steps at The Forbidden City in Beijing. This was a Half-Day Private walking morning tour, which also included Tiananmen Square. We were picked up at our hotel, Rosewood Beijing, and driven to main gates of The Forbidden City or also known as Imperial Palace. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City was designed to be the centre of the ancient, walled city of Beijing. It is enclosed in a larger, walled area called the Imperial City. The Imperial City is, in turn, enclosed by the Inner City; to its south lies the Outer City.The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987,and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

My Two Latest Favorite Lunch Options in Hong Kong

Hong Kong - Carlos Meliaby Carlos Melia
I have been to Hong Kong a few times, and I am very outspoken about the fact, that it is one of my top five favorite cities in the world. Every time I visit I discover new options, and of course repeat over and over my favorites. During this visit, I truly enjoyed two gourmet experiences, introduced to us by local expert Food and Lifestyle Consultant Geoffrey Wu with The Forks and Spoons. Oddly enough, none of them are Chinese, but trust me we covered that during our time there, for our dinners. Both restaurants are totally different and both true hidden gems. Both restaurants can be booked online prior your arrival to Hong Kong, and I strongly advise it. Carlos MeliaThe first one was Fofo by el Willy – Traditional and Contemporary Spanish Cuisine with the menu designed by the award-winning Chef of “el Willy” and executed by Catalan Chef Alex Martinez Fargas.(see photo below with the Chef). Including the from the traditional tapas, rice and Iberian Ham, to new innovative dishes like Scallops Ceviche, and some off the menu item that the Chef premiered with us before including them to the new summer menu.

Partying at Athens Pride

Athens Pride - Briand Bedfordby Briand Bedford
On Saturday the 13th June the 11th the largest Gay Pride Parade in Greece took place in Athens. With officially 32 000 participants this was the largest gay parade that has ever taken place in Greece. Important sponsors of the parade include Shark Energy Drink, the Greek gay publication antivirus, the Hilton Hotel Athens and the Greek airline Aegean. The first Athens Pride took place in June 2005. Although various “pride” events had been held in the city since the mid-1980s, Athens Pride 2005 marked the first Pride Parade through the city center and past the Hellenic Parliament during daylight hours. Approximately 500 people took part in that event. Athens Pride is an all-volunteer, non-profit registered partnership operating under the Greek Civil Code since 2006. Its primary function is to organize the annual Athens Pride festival and parade.

Tel Aviv Pride – What We Love About Pride

Boys Tel Aviv Prideby Wani Azahar
On Friday June 12, 2015, the culmination of Tel Aviv Pride Week, upwards of 180,00 people took part in the record-breaking Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 2015, which featured creative parade floats, amazing musical performances, plenty of dancing, daring outfits and the absolute freedom for every person in attendance to be him/herself. In search of the true essence of pride parade, we scoured through the ocean of hot bodies, vibrant costumes and talented performances to find out what Tel Aviv Pride goers truly love about the parade and what Pride means to them. One thing we can tell you ahead of time is that, predictably, love is a common theme. “My absolute favorite was the amazing party at Charles Close Park at the end of the road. It was filled with fun people, crazy outfits and most importantly – a lot of love,” Shira from Israel (right) recalled. “Not only that, I also loved the difference performance trucks lining the road. The dancers are very talented and it was so nice to see other parade-goers join in the fun as they formed little circles to dance.

Dolly Travels: Orvieto

Orvieto - Dollyby Dolly Goolsby
We arrived in Orvieto about lunch time yesterday. Once we got settled into our rooms at Villa Mercede, we set out to find some lunch. The weather is great, the city is just as beautiful as the last time I was here. For those of you who have never been here, I will tell you that Orvieto is one of the first hill towns that you will see, going north from Rome towards Florence. This town sits 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The best way for me to describe it, is for you to imagine a giant flat-topped mushroom with a big, thick stem, sitting in the most lovely green valley. I hope that when I post some pictures, you will see the resemblance. This town is centuries old. There are churches from the 13th and 14th Centuries A.D. With all the little rabbit-warren streets, winding around the city, one might be afraid of getting lost. You might get lost, but not for long. Similar to being on an island, you will be on this mushroom cap…eventually, you will see the Torre de Moro, with its clock face, or a spire from the Duomo, and find your way back to your hotel or to your friends.

Dolly Travels – Bagnoregio and Civita, Orvieto

Civita - Dolly Goolsbyby by Dolly Goolsby
Today is our last day in Orvieto. Early this morning we caught a bus which took us to the nearby town of Bagnoregio, another Umbrian hill town. This was an hour’s ride on a very twisty road, but through beautiful country. Once we arrived in Bagnoregio, we had to walk a little over a mile to get to the ancient, almost isolated village of Civita. That is Civita, sitting up on a hill. We had to walk on that footbridge you see in the foreground to get to Civita. This little village is really very old. Its origins go back to Etruscan times. It is very small now. One can walk across the city in about 5 minutes. However, the structures – the houses, the church, some other buildings – are kept in pretty good condition. Of course, over the centuries, some structures have fallen down, walls have eroded, and the village suffered a major earthquake in 1695.

Dolly Travels – The Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre - Dolly Goolsbyby Dolly Goolsby
We have been so busy, I haven’t been blogging. Please forgive me, and I will try to get you up to date on our travels. We went from Orvieto to Vernazza, by train last Thursday. That was a new experience for some. Although it seemed like it took forever, in fact, the trip was only about 6 hours. However, we started our day by leaving Orvieto by funicular to get down to the train station. Susan helped everyone get on the little car with their luggage, then the doors closed and Susan was left behind. We got to the train station, and when the next funicular arrived, thankfully Susan was on that one. But she was not a happy person. Once we got on the train, we travelled to Florence, changed trains, on to Pisa, changed trains, on to La Spezia, changed trains again and on to Vernazza. By then, it was 2:30 in the afternoon and we were all hot, hungry and tired.

Dolly Travels – We Are in Florence Now

Florence - Dolly Goolsbyby Dolly Goolsby
I want to send a little bit of news. From Florence, before we get too busy again. We arrived here Sunday afternoon. We are staying a bit further away from the center of activity than we usually stay, but we are still only 10 minutes away from the Duomo, and in a very nice neighborhood. I couldn’t believe it when the taxi pulled up to this lovely building, and a very nice Italian gentleman introduced himself, as he was there to get us into the apartment and oriented to the apartment and the neighborhood. We had to converse entirely in Italian, as Marcello did not speak English, and I must say, Janis and I did very well getting all the information straight. We are on the ground floor. Those windows are our living room windows. This is a beautiful apartment, I am almost sorry I am only staying here for a week.

Dolly Travels – Venice

Veniceby Dolly Goolsby
Wow! How time flies. It seems like jus a few days ago we started our Italy trip in Rome, now here we are in Venice, with only one more day left for our group travel. What adventures we have had, though. I last posted from Florence, and as usual, since Florence is my favorite Italian city, I enjoyed that week the most..going to the museums, to the mercato, walking through Florence, sharing meals in the apartment… all are lovely memories. When we got to Venice Sunday afternoon, we were met by the apartment owner, who walked us to our apartment. About the time we got settled in, down came the rain. It had been raining off and on all morning, but now it came down in buckets. I had been so excited to get this apartment with the terrace on the top floor, but with the rain, we still haven’t been able to sit out there and enjoy being outdoors, looking over the roof tops.

MEXICO: Puerto Vallarta Mexico for LGBT Families

puerto-vallarta-203218da-lby Tim Wilson
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has done an outstanding job attracting the family to the destination, Huge all-inclusive resorts with large pools, family friendly activities, family beaches, and kid’s clubs abound. But, what about the LGBT family? This is a relatively new niche in LGBT tourism that presents a great opportunity for Puerto Vallarta. Olivia Travel and R Family Vacations, two of the largest players in LGBT travel, recently announced a partnership to produce an LGBT family vacation at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Puerto Vallarta has everything to attract the LGBT family. Let’s see what and why! LGBT parents state they are more interested in choosing a family friendly vacation destination than an LGBT friendly destination. Puerto Vallarta is a very family friendly destination. Large, all-inclusive resorts exist throughout the city. Large gay friendly chains like Costa Sur, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt are reaching out to the LGBT market, and eventually to the LGBT family. Gay properties in the romantic zone like Hacienda Escondida attract the LGBT Family also.

USA, HAWAII: Win a Trip to Maui Pride

Maui Sunseeker sweepstakesby the Maui Sunseeker
Imagine jetting off on one of Virgin America’s new flights to Maui to bask in the warm Hawaiian sun on a white sugar beach, just steps away from your well-appointed Maui Sunseeker Penthouse Suite. Now imagine doing this FREE! Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort, Virgin America and KOFY TV present our “Maui FlyAway with Pride” Sweepstakes! One lucky sweepstakes winner will receive TWO ROUNDTRIP TICKETS from San Francisco to Maui on Virgin America plus a FIVE NIGHT STAY in one of Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort’s luxurious Penthouse suites. Entries may be submitted online at www.mauiflyaway.com between June 1 and June 30, 2015. Entries may also be submitted at the KOFY TV booth at Civic Center Plaza during the SF Pride Festival on June 28. The winner will be randomly drawn on July 4th, 2015.

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That’s it for this edition of the Purple Roofs Gay Travel Newsletter!

–Mark & Scott
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