Gay Danube Cruises – Passport Magazine

Author: , January 3rd, 2018

gay Danube cruises

Just say the words “the Danube” to people who’ve been there, and they’ll sigh longingly, and probably start a word salad of superlatives. The romance and beauty of this fabled river, which flows from Germany all the way to the Black Sea evokes a kind of magic, and justifiably so.

And that alone – plus the fact that you can do this river on all-gay cruises (offered by companies like the award-winning Brand g Vacations) – should be enough to have you running to your laptop to book one.

But just in case, here are a few more good reasons:

1. It has some of Europe’s most exciting and memorable cities, like Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest. It’s like a sightseeing superstore, except you don ‘t need your CostCo card. (Incidentally, Prague isn’t actually on the river, but it’s the starting point for most upper Danube cruises, so it’s considered a Danube port.)

2. The river runs through so many countries, it has multiple itineraries available, like Prague to Budapest, known as the “Upper Danube”, and Budapest to Bucharest, or the “Lower Danube”.

By Eric Poole – Full Story at Passport

Europe Gay Travel Resources

Gay Budapest – Castles, Markets and Cuisine

Author: , December 7th, 2016

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From their controversial media law to their discriminatory anti-gay constitution and crippling national debt, Hungary is often in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. As a lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans tourist you may have doubts about visiting a country where it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against a person based purely on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, as a gay man who lived in gay Budapest for just over a year with my partner, I experienced less homophobia than in more ‘accepting’ countries such as my native Scotland.

I’ll be honest, if you plan your holidays based purely on whether or not your chosen destination has a good gay scene, you might as well just give Budapest a miss. However, if you love beautiful architecture, history, culture and are a glutton for good food then I strongly recommend you give Budapest a try.

Full Story at Gay Star News

Hungary Gay Travel Resources

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48 Hours in Gay Budapest

Author: , September 25th, 2016

Gay Budapest

Cradled by the undulating curves of the Danube, the Hungarian capital has changed beyond recognition over the past decade. The city carries a heavy history of occupations, sieges, conflicts, revolutions and uprisings. But today it’s one of the most desirable European destinations for young people studying, working and holidaying. Here’s our guide to 48 hours in gay Budapest.

When you’re in town for a few days, there’s really no time to waste in getting to know the city. Companies like Underguide offer a variety of tours that can act as crash courses on various different aspects of the city’s history and culture. They tailor-make tours to fit all different tastes and interests, on themes like communism, art nouveau, Jewish culture and cakes.

My lovely tour guide Orsi versed me in Budapest’s complex history and its visible relics around the city. For example, the first bridge over the Danube built in 1849, named after István Széchenyi [above]; the 96m tall Basilica [below] built in 1905, where St Stephen’s mummified hand lies.

Full Story at Gay Star News

Hungary Gay Travel Resources

​Viking River Cruises – Grand European Tour with Gay Travel Info

Author: , May 13th, 2016

grand European Tour map

Viking River Cruises

Grand European Tour with Gay Travel Info

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

The Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour is simply one of the best cruises that we have ever experienced. It’s that easy to describe.

Where else can you enjoy a 15-day cruise with 12 guided tours visiting 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, while enjoying 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks during onboard dinner and lunch service, concerts ranging from Austrian classics to baroque organ music, lectures on Germany, Holland and the European Union and free Wi-Fi?

Our Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour was the perfect mix of relaxation, education and exploration.
BudapestBUDAPEST, HUNGARY

Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It has been called one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. We arrived after sunset but it’s beauty was still clearly evident.

The night view from the top deck of the ship is simply stunning. The palaces, government building and bridges are all lit at night. Have your camera ready because the reflections in the river make for fantastic vacation photos.

On the morning of our second day, we chose to enjoy the “Hungary’s Graceful and Inspiring Capital” tour.

Budapest is a mix of classical and modern architecture separated down the middle by the Danube river but connected by the Chain Bridge since 1849.

Our tour began in modern Pest where we viewed the beautiful Andrassy Avenue, the Hungarian Opera House, and the Heroe’s Square monuments.

We crossed the Chain Bridge to the historic Buda side of the city. where we strolled the Castle District. At this hilltop castle complex, we explored the turrets of Fishermen’s Bastion, medieval Matthias Church and the spectacular views from Buda Hill.

After our morning tour, we still had plenty of time to explore on our own. We walked from Pest to Buda across the Chain Bridge over the Danube and back again. We walked down to the imposing Parliament Building and also spent time contemplating “The Shoes On The Danube” memorial to the Holocaust victims that were executed here on the banks of the river.

If we had just had a little more time, we would have loved to have visited the famous thermal baths that were once enjoyed by ancient Romans.

For gay traveler information, visit http://www.budapest.com/city_guide/gay_budapest.en.html

ViennaVIENNA, AUSTRIA

Vienna is the capital of Austria. Musical icons including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms worked in Vienna. It has been called the “City of Dreams” because it was the home of the world’s first psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

Ornate is the key word for Vienna architecture. The historic structures, monuments, churches, palaces, homes and government buildings are works of art to be studied and enjoyed.

Retail stores from the most chic to the obligatory souvenir shops near the Vienna State Opera all fit the theme of historic and fashionable.

The Giant Ferris Wheel, erected to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I in 1897, offers a wonderful view of the city and an excellent photo opportunity.

We chose to explore Vienna by the “Essential Overview of the City of Waltzes” tour. We drove into the city by bus and then walked to various highlights including:

* The Ringtrasse grand boulevard lined with elegant palaces, private homes and public buildings * The Hofburg Palace winter residence of the powerful Hapsburg dynasty * The Spanish Riding School with world famous Lipzzaner horses * The gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral * The Vienna State Opera Hall with Mozart inspired frescoes

There is a two level, paved walking path along the river. Be sure to watch for the black rabbits, brown rabbits and swans. Neither the rabbits nor the swans appear afraid of humans and almost seem to pose to have their pictures taken.

Just a short walk from the Danube docking site is The Grow Shop: a marijuana store. It is a great place to take a silly photo to show family and friends back home.

For gay traveler information, visit https://www.wien.info/en/vienna-for/gay-lesbian

Wachau ValleyWACHAU VALLEY

We spent the morning cruising the Wachau Valley that is filled with beautiful hillside vineyards and castle ruins including Duerrstein castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned by Leopold V.

With abbeys, monasteries, churches, castles and the terraced vineyards with their stone wall supports all along the river, it is a photographer’s dream come true.

Find a comfortable spot on the top deck, sip a refreshing beverage and enjoy the beauty passing slowly by on both sides of the ship.

Floating down the river through the Wachau Valley is like slowly strolling through a museum containing some of the most beautiful scenic paintings in the world. Enjoy!
MelkMELK, AUSTRIA

Once the ship docked, we toured the 900 year old Benedictine abbey at Melk.

Melk Abbey has 365 windows (one for each day of the year), imperial rooms, ceiling frescoes and a library that is filled with floor to ceiling shelves holding priceless hand-copied ancient books.

The abbey also contains a strange artifact: a human jawbone in a golden stand. It is meant to honor an innocent man that was unjustly executed.

There are also extravagantly dressed mummified human bodies in the church itself.

Melk Abbey is a strange and wonderful mixture of imposing fortress, extravagant palace and sacred religious site.

SalzburgSALZBURG, AUSTRIA / PASSAU, GERMANY

Located in the beautiful Austrian Alps, Salzburg is one of Austria’s most picturesque Alpine cities.

Salzburg was once a world power dealing in salt. The word Salzburg means “salt fortress.” Later it became the birthplace of the musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It received international recognition again as the setting for the film “The Sound of Music.”

We chose the optional “Salzburg Highlights” tour. We enjoyed a walking tour of the old town which was designed and built by imported Italian artisans.

We visited Mozart’s home where throngs of people stand to have their photo taken.

We explored Mirabell Gardens where the opening scenes from the “The Sound of Music” were filmed and the cemetery where the family hid from the Nazis during their escape.

We could have spent hours in the gardens and streets photographing the statues, fountains and artistic landscaping.

For gay traveler information, visit http://www.salzburg.info/en/service/salzburg_for/gays_and_friends

Regensburg

Regensburg

REGENSBURG, GERMANY

Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The medieval city was somehow untouched by bombing in World War II. It is considered one of Germany’s best preserved cities with Roman city walls erected by Marcus Aurelias.

We chose to enjoy the “Regensburg Walking Tour.” From the ancient Roman city walls to the 12th century Old Stone Bridge to the Old Sausage Kitchen (the oldest restaurant in Germany), we walked the cobblestone streets of this Medieval city.

Our hearts were touched when we viewed the memorial to the Jewish synagogue that had been destroyed and by the Stumbling Blocks memorials in the cobblestone streets remembering those killed by Nazis.

For gay traveler information, visit http://www.gay-regensburg.de/index_ci.php

NuremburgNUREMBURG, GERMANY

Nuremburg is Bavaria’s second largest city. It is filled with beautiful half-timber homes and Gothic churches. Unfortunately, it was chosen by Adolph Hitler as the site for some of his most aggressive propaganda.

We chose to see the city on the “Nuremburg City Tour.” We viewed Nuremburg’s medieval city walls which stretch almost three miles and still have 80 original watchtowers. We passed the Imperial Palace fortress. We visited Market Square with it’s craft and vegetable stalls and enjoyed lunch at a local bratwurst restaurant.

For lovers of history, be sure to visit Zeppelin Field (the Nazi parade grounds), Hitler’s Congress Hall Colosseum (modeled on the one in Rome) and the Palace of Justice where the Nazis finally faced justice in the Nuremberg Trials.

For gay traveler information, visit http://nuremberg123.com/where-to/nuremberg-gay-guide/

Bamberg

BAMBERG, GERMANY

Medieval Bamberg is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in 902 A.D.

We toured the city on the “Bamberg Walking Tour.” For almost 5 hours, our guide walked us through the streets, along the canal and up to the hilltop cathedral which was home to Emperor Henrich II and Pope Clement II. The cathedral museum claims to have splinters from the actual cross of Jesus as well as the mounted skulls of Heinrich and his wife Kunigunde!

Beside the Bamberg Cathedral, the Neue Residenz resembles a palace. It was the home of prince-electors and prince-bishops who held both religious and secular authority. The panoramic view from the Rosengarten (Rose Garden) is fantastic.

For gay traveler information, visit http://en.bamberg.info/uferlos/

Wurzburg 2

WURZBURG, GERMANY

We decided that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to follow Bavaria’s Romantic Road to one of Germany’s last remaining medieval walled towns. Rothenburg ob der Tauber means Red Fortress above the Tauber.

Rothenburg is everything you hope a medieval city would be. It is a medieval town that still functions in modern society. Make sure that you have lots of space on your camera memory card because this place is filled with amazing photo opportunities.

We walked the city’s defensive walls from top to bottom. We climbed the dark winding stairways of the towers. We photographed beautiful gardens and stunning panoramic views of the river and valley below. We enjoyed every moment of our Rothenburg visit.

After our Rothenburg adventure, we spent a few hours exploring the Bishop’s Residenz Palace and Garden in Wurzburg. The large and ornately decorated palace features a 2000 square foot frescoe titled “Four Continents” by Venetian artist Giovanni Tiepolo. Some of the scenes are quite humorous as the artist had never seen some of the desired animals in person so he used his imagination to fill in the blanks. Some of the paintings are remarkably three dimensional and the gardens are incredible.

For gay traveler information, visit http://www.gayscout.com/en/city138/Wuerzburg

WurtheimWERTHEIM, GERMANY

The view as the ship approaches Wertheim is simply phenomenal. The colorful and historic buildings along the river reflect in the waters as the 1000 year old castle watches over from the imposing hillside.

We walked the narrow streets of Franconian style homes along the Main and Tauber rivers and viewed the 800 year old Pointed Tower which leans amusingly to one side.

The walk up to Wertheim Castle is challenging. The cobblestone street is steep, uneven and sometimes slick.

There is a turnstile at the top charging one Euro to enter the actual castle but you can still roam the outer walls and get a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the two rivers below.

KOBLENZ, GERMANY

Our morning began with a scenic and tranquil cruise through one of Germany’s most scenic regions called The Romantic Rhine. We cruised past endless vineyards ascending the hillsides and castles, castles and even more castles!

We sailed around the massive Lorelei Rock and heard the local myth of a beautiful woman named Lorelei who lured sailors to crash against the rocks.

We docked in Koblenz beside the massive statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I on his horse. Cable cars taking tourists across the river glided over our heads.

We strolled the paved walkways in both directions along the waterfront enjoying the gardens and statues.

For gay traveler information, visit http://gayguide.net/Europe/Germany/Koblenz/

Cologne 1

COLOGNE, GERMANY

Cologne is a 2000 year old city that is an interesting mixture of the cherished ancient and the progressively modern. It is where the perfume “cologne” originated that soon became greatly desired by all of Europe’s royal families.

We chose to try the “Bruhl UNESCO Palaces” tour of the Augustusburg castle. Unfortunately, you can’t win them all. The castle and grounds just could not match the previous palaces we had visited. It was less than impressive and we could not wait for our tour to end.

On the bright side, once we returned to Cologne, we enjoyed walking the waterfront promenade where locals relax, talk and exercise. A leisurely walk along the river brought us past churches, love locks on the bridge, parks with ice cream shops and restaurants, statues and a theater that resembles a circus tent. Our riverfront walk was the highlight of our Cologne visit.

For gay traveler information, visit http://www.cologne-tourism.com/city-experience/gays-lesbians.html

KinderdijkKINDERDIJK, NETHERLANDS

Kinderdijk is the kind of place that photographers dream about!

Just steps from where the ship docked, there were 19 remarkably preserved windmills. Many of them are 200 to 300 years old!

Viking offers a free tour that shares why the windmills were built, how they work and a chance to step inside a working windmill.

We chose to explore on our own rather than joining the free tour.

The blue skies and ancient windmills reflected into the dark water of the canals in a picture-perfect scene again and again.

Kinderdijk, the largest concentration of windmills in the Netherlands, offers an iconic view of the Dutch landscape.

AmsterdamAMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Our amazing Viking River Cruise came to an end in Amsterdam. Our only view of the city was from the ship’s deck just before we boarded a bus for the Amsterdam airport for our flight home.

We hope to return and explore Amsterdam one day as well.

For gay traveler information, visit http://www.amsterdam.info/gay/

SHIP & CREW INFO

Our ship had 95 outside staterooms, a sun deck with 360-degree views and shaded sitting areas, an organic herb garden, a putting green, a walking track, a lounge and bar with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows, optional al fresco dining, and 40″ flat-panel Sony TV’s.

We spoke with Captain Peter Sevcik and Hotel Manager Katja Geyersbach about the Viking River Cruise ships.

“We use Swiss Radar and GPS. We have an automatic transponder system that shows the location of our ship and every other ship on the river. The ship has eight propellers and four propulsion systems. Our engines are all electric. For low bridges, we can lower the wheelhouse but we must wait our turn in the locks,” Katja told us.

“Katja Geyersbach is the best Hotel Manager in the company,” added Captain Sevcik.

We found the crew and staff to be just as friendly and complimentary as their captain. Everyone excelled in serving their guests onboard. Program Manager Violeta Crisan was a dynamo of organization, problem solving, customer service and upbeat energy. We couldn’t have asked for better service.

VIKING CONTACT INFO

Visit the Viking Cruises website at http://www.vikingcruises.com

You can reach them by phone at 1-800-706-1483.

Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VikingRiverCruises

The Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour is simply one of the best cruises that we have ever experienced. It was the perfect mix of relaxation, education and exploration. We are ready to go again!

Steven Skelley and Thomas RoutzongArticle and photos by Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong. Copyright 2016 Sunny Harbor Publishing.

Contact Us: Sunny Harbor Publishing, PO Box 560318, Rockledge, FL 32956.

Phone: 321-446-7552.

Email: SunnyHarborPublishing@yahoo.com

Eight Cheap Things to Do in Budapest

Author: , May 2nd, 2014

Budapest, Hungary - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

Paris and London are dazzling places to visit, but these popular European cities can drain a bank account as assuredly as they can entertain. If you’re willing to travel a bit further afield, and step away from the comfort of the dollar-like Euro, a more affordable Europe still exists – in Budapest. This city teems with attractions and culture, and at a fraction of the cost of its more populous European sisters. Here’s a peek into what you can see and do in this Eastern European mainstay, and for very little money.

Visit the cathedral: Budapest’s largest church is free to visit and offers opulent interiors, as well as an eye-popping relic: the withered hand of the church’s namesake, St. Stephen, inside a gold box. You’ll need to pay a small donation to light it up so it’s visible, but for the photo op, it’s worth it. You can also climb the dome for views of the city for about $2.

See the Parisi Underpass: Blink and you’ll miss the entrance, but this glorious domed arcade is worth a few minutes of browsing and photo-snapping while you’re touring the busy, tourist-filled neighborhood near the river. Grander than the Paris arcades that it’s trying to emulate, and dust-caked from years of neglect, this gem will make you want to come back in 10 years – if only to see what becomes of this stunning space. Free to enter.

By Laura Motta – SOURCE | Hungary Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events