​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

Scams and Annoyances in Egypt

Author: , April 11th, 2016

Camels-Pyramids-of-Giza-Egypt-Cairo

Wherever I travel, scammers, touts and annoyances are unavoidable, especially in touristy areas. Or maybe, I’m a tout/scammer magnet. They are part of the challenges of travelling. And believe it or not, I’ve fallen victim to some of these people because I’m too trusty, always believing on the positive side of the experience. Call me a fool, if you want. 🙂

In Egypt, these annoyances are in a different level. I can understand the desperation of the people but being aggressive is a totally different story. There are times when my smile and polite “No, thanks” work but in many cases, they don’t.

I had to say “No, thank you,” a gazillion times before the guy would leave me alone–and in most times, they’re cursing me (judging from their facial expressions). And oh boy, they’re good in guilt-tripping, too!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Egypt Gay Travel Resources

Woods Resort, Guerneville, California – Featured Gay Accommodations

Author: , April 7th, 2016

Woods Resort

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

The Woods Cottages & Cabins at the Russian River is the perfect answer for a rejuvenating, relaxing and slightly “spirited” escape to the Sonoma Wine Country.

The Woods, a Russian River Hotel that is centrally located in downtown Guerneville, is situated between the tall, swaying redwood trees and the hypnotic flow of the splendid Russian River for the ideal getaway! Watch our video!

This Russian River Hotel is within walking distance to shops, restaurants, dancing and live entertainment. Enjoy wine tasting and tours along the Russian River Wine Road through the Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley appellations. Enjoy varietals including Sauvingnon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Barbera, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and a wide variety of dessert wines.

The Woods Resort, Russian River Hotel, offers cottages, free-standing guest cabins and multi-room suites with full kitchens, gas fireplaces, private balconies and stunning views of lush redwood forests. The resort has one of the largest swimming pools in the area and has full sun all day long. With an outdoor fireplace, stone fountains and romantically lighted landscaping, your stay at The Woods is guaranteed to make you forget the chaos of the real world.

The Woods Resort has a wireless Internet workstation available for guests in the lobby …and is an ideal venue for Russian River weddings, conferences and private parties.

Your hosts at this Russian River Hotel, Michael and Verna, are veterans of the local customer service industry with a familiarity of all the area has to offer in the way of recreation, adventure, wine tasting, dining, spa treatments and entertainment. They are happy to help you plan an exciting, memorable stay at the Russian River.

See the Woods Resort Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

Nassau, Bahamas – Free things to see and do just a short walk from the cruise port

Author: , February 16th, 2016
Prince George Wharf by Thomas Routzong

Prince George Wharf by Thomas Routzong

Nassau, Bahamas

Free things to see and do just a short walk from the cruise port

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Nassau, Bahamas is a routine stop on many Caribbean cruises. If you’re not in the mood for another visit to the Atlantis complex, here are a few sights that you can walk to within minutes from the cruise ship pier.

When you arrive at Prince George Wharf, go into the cruise terminal and grab one of the FREE tourist maps that are available to have a better idea of the local streets and any other sights you may want to add to your walk.

Sir Milo Butler

Sir Milo Butler statue photo by Steven Skelley

Sir Milo Butler Statue
Just minutes from the pier across Parliament Street, you will see Rawson Square with a statue of Sir Milo Butler, local hero who was the first Bahamian governor of the islands.

Queen Victoria Statue photo by Thomas Routzong

Queen Victoria Statue photo by Thomas Routzong

Queen Victoria Statue
After viewing the statue, turn around and at the rear of Rawson Square you will see West Bay Street and Parliament Square with the Queen Victoria Statue. The pink government buildings surrounding the white statue make a picture perfect setting. The buildings reportedly date back to the 1700’s.

 

Nassau policeman photo by Steven Skelley

Nassau policeman photo by Steven Skelley

Policeman In Box
At the Queen Victoria statue, look to your right to the intersection of Parliament Street and West Bay Street. You will find a policeman in British-styled uniform standing in the center of the intersection inside a wooden box on wheels.

Garden Of Remembrance photo by Thomas Routzong

Garden Of Remembrance photo by Thomas Routzong

Garden Of Remembrance
Follow Parliament away from the waterfront to find the Garden Of Remembrance behind Queen Victoria’s statue and the Parliament buildings. The Garden Of Remembrance contains a monument to Bahamians who have served in various wars.

Nassau Public Library and Museum
Just behind the Garden Of Remembrance is the Nassau Public Library and Museum. The Nassau Public Library and Museum was once a jail but the cells have been

Nassau Public Library and Museum photo by Steven Skelley

Nassau Public Library and Museum photo by Steven Skelley

converted into bookshelves. The library / museum contains artifacts from the Arawak indigenous people as well and colonial documents. There is a viewing station upstairs where you can get a look at the city below.

Queen's Staircase

Queen’s Staircase photo by Thomas Routzong

Queen’s Staircase
Take Elizabeth Avenue to the Queen’s Staircase. There are 65 steps to the top. It is 102 feet tall. The staircase was hand carved from the rock by slaves to provide British troops a protected route to Fort Fincastle. The staircase was later renamed in honor of Queen Victoria who abolished slavery.

Fort Fincastle
At the top of the Queen’s Staircase is Fort Fincastle. Fort Fincastle was built in the late 1700’s at the top of the hill overlooking the city and bay. There are several canons in place.

Fort Fincastle photo by Steven Skelley

Fort Fincastle photo by Steven Skelley

Straw market
Head back to the waterfront along Woodes Rogers Walk past Prince George Wharf where you started and you will reach the Straw Market and the Vendue House / Pompey Museum.

The Vendue House / Pompey Museum is where slaves were bought and sold. You will find it just past the Straw Market.

The Straw Market is like a giant flea market. The aisles are small and crowded with vendors selling tourist souvenirs. The vendors call out as you pass by and make negative comments

Straw Market photo by Thomas Routzong

Straw Market photo by Thomas Routzong

if you don’t purchase something from them.

As you head back down Woodes Rogers Walk towards the cruise ship terminal and Prince George Wharf, there are many shops, bars and restaurants along the waterfront. There are also several courtyards where art and wood carvings are sold.

Article and photos by Steven Skelley & Thomas Routzong. Copyright 2016 Sunny Harbor Publishing. Contact Us: PO Box 560318, Rockledge, FL 32956. Phone: 321-446-7552. Email: SunnyHarborPublishing@yahoo.com

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong are a happily married couple who love to travel. They write and photograph to help others see the world and see it in a new way. They have authored multiple travel and positive-themed books.

You can learn more about Thomas and Steven at www.SunnyHarborPublishing.org and www.GayTravelersMagazine.com

Bimini, Bahamas

Author: , February 6th, 2016

Bimini, Bahamas 

Bimini Window photo by Steven Skelley

Bimini Window photo by Steven Skelley

The Bahama playground for the rich and famous

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Ask just about anyone about Bimini and they will probably say they’ve heard of it but have no idea where it is. Some may know it is in the Bahamas but have no details beyond that. We learned quite a lot about Bimini during our recent visit. These two tiny Bahamian islands have a unique culture, bountiful history, visitors both famous and infamous, and a new focus as a casino hotspot for the rich and famous.

Bimini consists of the two main islands named North Bimini Island and South Bimini Island as well as numerous cays or keys. Just 50 miles off of Florida’s eastern coast, Bimini is the closest Bahamian island to the United States.

Bimini’s history contains an impressive list of both the famous and infamous.

The Lucayan natives who inhabited the islands named them Bimini which means two islands. Within just 50 years after the European explorers arrive in the 1490’s, the Lucayans had all been enslaved and relocated to other islands to work as plantation slaves.

Pirates
Pirates Henry Morgan and Edward Teach, also known as the infamous Blackbeard, used Bimini as a base of operations.

Bootleggers
Bootleggers used Bimini to smuggle rum into the U.S.A. It is said that Bill “The Real” McCoy and Al Capone made millions of dollars through rum running.

Celebrities

Bimini Hemingway sign photo by Steven Skelley

Bimini Hemingway sign photo by Steven Skelley

Ernest Hemingway spent three summers in Bimini.

His Royal Highness Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt held meetings in Bimini while Edward was Governor of The Bahamas.

Prince Wilhelm of Sweden enjoyed fishing in Bimini.

Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, Martin Luther King Jr., Johnny Cash, Don Johnson, Jimmy Buffett and Walter Peyton all vacationed in Bimini.

American Labor leader Jimmy Hoffa visited Bimini. The Bimini Museum displays his Bahamas Immigration card and states that visitors “often ask if he is still here.”

More recently, Mariah Carey rented a villa at Resorts World Bimini for a getaway.

Silence of the Lambs Bimini location photo by Steven Skelley

Silence of the Lambs Bimini location photo by Steven Skelley

The Silence of the Lambs
The final scene of the film “The Silence of The Lambs” was filmed on North Bimini. We walked to the site and took photos, of course. Standing there, it is easy to recall Hannibal Lecter saying the words, “I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”

LGBT INFO

“The Hilton resort welcomes all guests. LGBT visitors are very comfortable here. When going into town LGBT guests should remember to be respectful of local beliefs and customs,” Michelle Malcolm, Resorts World Bimini’s Public Affairs Director told us.

The U.S. Department of State offers this advice for LGBT travelers, “There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in The Bahamas,” and “Remember that you are subject to the laws and the judicial process of the country you’re visiting. Avoid excessive physical displays of affection in public, particularly in more conservative countries or regions.”

WHERE TO STAY

Resorts World Bimini 

Resorts World Bimini pool photo by Steven Skelley

Resorts World Bimini pool photo by Steven Skelley

We chose to stay at the Resorts World Bimini. The Hilton at Resorts World Bimini sits on 750 beautiful acres of prime waterfront real estate. The Hilton at Resorts World Bimini has a modern and uncluttered décor and very friendly staff.

In addition to the 300+ guest rooms and suites in The Hilton at Resorts World Bimini, there are 148, one to three bedroom, fully equipped villas for rent. The villas are perfect for a family friendly stay. Guests can bring their own groceries, cook in the villas and save money. Private Island Home rentals begin at $1400 per night. These four bedroom homes offer guests the asset of docking their boats in back.

Michelle Malcolm, Resorts World Bimini’s Public Affair’s Director told us, “We often have special events at Fishermen’s Village like foam parties and private parties. We are busiest during the Summer months. Most of our guests come from Florida for a short getaway. Our Glass Pavilion can hold up to 300 people. It is very popular for weddings. Our marina is the largest in the Bahamas with 200 slips. On a busy weekend, there are so many yachts, it is hard to find an empty slip. We have boats up to 200 feet.”

There are a number of attractive dining options at Resort World Bimini.

Fishermen’s Village offers Amicci’s Pizzeria & Gelateria, and the Healing Hole Rum Bar.

The Aqua Bar & Grill is located at the Infinity Pool which offers a gorgeous view of the ship near the Three Sister’s Rocks made famous in many professional model photography shoots.

Near the Sabor Pool, there is Sabor Seafood and Steakhouse restaurant and the Sabor Swim Up Bar. The Sabor Pool offers free cabanas.

Inside the casino is the RW Hemingway’s Restaurant which also offers a breakfast buffet.

The Paradise Bar & Grill is located at Paradise Beach. Guests can enjoy a beautiful beach, casual dining, cabana and watersport rentals and bands on weekends.

We enjoyed two breakfast burritos, a cup of coffee and a diet soda at Amicci’s on-site restaurant in Fishermen’s Village. The bill came to $39.22.

For dinner one evening, we tried the Sabor Seafood and Steakhouse restaurant near the Casino. This poolside restaurant has a very upscale décor and menu. The food is both delicious and plated appealingly. We thoroughly enjoyed our ribeye steak and pork chop dinners. Our bill came to $143.00.

Resorts World Bimini Casino is “a 10,000 square foot live action casino that features popular table games including blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, 169 slot machines and a Spor

Resorts World Bimini casino photo by Steven Skelley

Resorts World Bimini casino photo by Steven Skelley

ts Book – the only one east of Las Vegas. With floor to ceiling windows, it is the first casino in the world to have panoramic water views, and has a full indoor-outdoor restaurant that sits directly on the mega-yacht marina.”

Because the casino is located just feet from the marina, guests can sail almost right up to the casino doors.

For more information, visit http://www.rwbimini.com/

Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina
The Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina was founded in the 1930’s as an elegant dinner club but has become known as a destination for “top of class sportsmen and their families.” The resort offers watersports, sport fishing and world class diving.

For more information, visit www.biggameclubbimini.com

Sea Crest Hotel and Marina
The Sea Crest Hotel is located in the center of Alice Town in North Bimini. Their website boasts “air conditioning, compact refrigerators and cable TV in all rooms.” The nearest beach is only a few steps away. All rooms have bay and/or ocean views.

For more information, visit http://www.seacrestbimini.com/seacrest%20frame.htm

Bimini Sands Resort & Marina
Bimini Sands Resort & Marina sits “on a private white sandy beach and all condos are Marina Front or Ocean Front.” The resort has 215 one, two and three bedroom condos with full kitchens, washer, dryer, hair dryers, microwave, coffee makers, TV, patios, toiletries.

For boaters, the resort offers a 75 slip marina with 30/50 amp, diesel and gas fuel, water and slips for up to 100 foot yachts.
Bimini Sands Resort has an ocean front pool and marina pool, restaurants and bars located on property, free airport shuttle and free water shuttle that departs daily to North Bimini for shopping, museums, local attractions and the Casino.

For more information, visit www.thebiminisands.com

HOW TO GET AROUND

Bimini Bus
The Bimini Tram provides transportation throughout North Bimini from Alice Town to Porgy Bay. It operates daily, between 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Fare is $3 for adults and $1 for children.

Ferries
Scheduled ferry service is available between North and South Bimini from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The fare is $2 each way. Look for the Bimini Government Dock in both Alice Town and South Bimini.

Taxis can be hailed on the street and golf carts can be rented around the island.

ATTRACTIONS

Bimini Museum
The Bimini Museum is located on North Bimini in Alice Town on King’s Highway across from the Bimini Craft Center. The museum was started by the Bimini Historical Society to preserve the island’s history. There are pictures, stories, artifacts and relics “that commemorate those who contributed to the development of Bimini, in addition to memorabilia of Bimini’s most famous former resident, Ernest Hemingway.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose visit to the island in 1968 had a significant impact on its people. The bronze bust of his image is displayed at the Bimini Craft Center in Alice Town.

Straw Markets
Everyone enjoys a Caribbean Straw Market. Local vendors have stalls at the Bimini Craft Center in Alice Town and sell a variety of straw creations and other handmade crafts. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Bimini Beaches
Bimini might be small at only 7 miles long but it’s got great beaches especially on the west side of North Bimini. Radio Beach, Blister Beach and Spook Hill Beach are three continuous beaches stretching from Alice Town to Bailey Town. Tiki Hut Beach is popular on South Bimini and there are numerous secluded beaches on the Cays to the south. Beachcombers often find whole conch shells, colorful sea glass and hermit crabs the size of baseballs.

Conch Graveyards 

Conch graveyard photo by Steven Skelley

Conch graveyard photo by Steven Skelley

Conch shells everywhere on North Bimini islands because they are a local food staple. Walking along the streets past local eateries, you will view conch graveyards where shells are stacked 6 feet high and 30 feet long.

Bimini Nature Trail
The Bimini Nature Trail on South Bimini Island allows you to see Bimini’s plants and animals in their natural environment.

Shark Lab Tour
The Shark Lab Tour includes a boat ride to South Bimini Island from North Bimini. The friendly and entertaining staff share shark research information and allow guests to pet a shark. The tour staff picked coconuts for us to drink milk from and offered us Bahama Bread.

South Bimini Shark Lab photo by Steven Skelley

South Bimini Shark Lab photo by Steven Skelley

We visited the local Fountain of Youth well. Every participant took a sip. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll on the South Bimini Nature trail learning about local plants and animals and visiting ruins. Make sure you apply generous amounts of mosquito repellent. Our driver joked that a swarm of mosquitoes once lifted him off the ground.

Be sure to sample a local canned beverage named Bahama Goombay. It is delightful.

For a good laugh, ask the guides to teach you the “One cent, five cent, ten cent, dollar” song and dance.

For more information, visit http://www.biminisharklab.com/opportunities/publictours

The Healing Hole
The Healing Hole pond earned its name because of the healing properties reported by those who swim in it. Accessible by boat only, it is a natural fresh-water spring that pumps up lithium and sulfur inside a salt water swamp in the mangroves of Bonefish Creek.

The Bimini Wall or Bimini Road
The Bimini Road or Bimini Wall is one-half mile of underwater limestone blocks. Some believe they are a remnant of the legendary Lost City of Atlantis.

TRAVELING TO BIMINI

By Ferry
As of January 10, 2016, Resorts World Bimini ended their three-times-a-week ferry service to Bimini from Miami.

By Air
Cape Air – https://www.capeair.com/where_we_fly/caribbean.html
Silver Airways – www.silverairways.com
Tropic Ocean Airways – www.flytropic.com

By Sea
Since Bimini is just 50 miles from Florida, many local charter boats offer trips on a regular basis from both Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Of course, if you have your own yacht, there are plenty of slips and marinas awaiting your arrival.

OUR CONCLUSION

The North and South Bimini Islands are a unique blend of old-Bahamas towns and upscale resorts. The turquoise waters are stunning and the beaches are beautiful. We enjoyed our visit and may return someday to explore more of what these often overlooked islands have to offer.

Article and photos by Steven Skelley & Thomas Routzong. Copyright 2016 Sunny Harbor Publishing. Contact Us: PO Box 560318, Rockledge, FL 32956. Phone: 321-446-7552. Email: SunnyHarborPublishing@yahoo.com

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong are a happily married couple who love to travel. They write and photograph to help others see the world and see it in a new way. They have authored multiple travel and positive-themed books. You can learn more about Thomas and Steven at www.SunnyHarborPublishing.org and www.GayTravelersMagazine.com Read more…

A Gay Hipster Guide to Stockholm

Author: , January 31st, 2016

Stockholm - Adam Groffman

Listen, I know you hear “Stockholm” and you might first think “cold.” But you’re wrong. Well, you’re not entirely wrong. The city can be cold (it’s Sweden, after all). But it’s also just so very cool. There’s an incredible mix of art, culture & design, world-class shopping & style, plus (perhaps obviously?) beautiful outdoors and adventure activities all easily accessed on the outskirts of the city.

Stockholm really has it all. It’s a big city, spread out over 14 islands in the archipelago, but it never really feels like you’re moving far between neighborhoods. And the typical Swedish culture just adds to the allure of the city.

Before visiting, it’s good to know that Stockholm really embraces trends. Probably the coolest city in all of Scandinavia, Stockholm seems to get all the latest trends while the news is still hot in Brooklyn. All types of trends. Food, fashion—even music! This is a city of trendsetters (have you ever heard Swedish pop music before?

By Adam Grofman – Full Story at Pink News

Sweden Gay Travel Resources

GayVallartaBarHopping in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Author: , January 28th, 2016

IMG_70611 IMG_34491 IMG_31711

Explore the Gay Scene in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s #1 Gay Destination on Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping tour. Whether visiting for the first time or a repeat visitor, the Top rated tour is a must do tour when visiting the town.  Puerto Vallarta has more gay bars and clubs than many larger LGBT destinations. It is hard to fit it all in in one night, but it is much more fun going on the tour than going alone. Get VIP access to all the bars and clubs, No Lines, No Wait on drinks, and No Cover. Let’s Have Fun!

 

Before Purple Roofs, There Was The Green Book

Author: , January 8th, 2016

Editor’s note: I find this story fascinating. Just as LGBT travelers needed a guide to places to stay that were friendly to them, African Americans had their own guide before Civil Rights legislation forced all public accommodations to serve their community without bias.

The Green Book

For African American travelers, much of the U.S. could be a hateful and dangerous place, even into the 1960’s.

Jim Crow laws across the South mandated that restaurants, hotels, pool halls and parks strictly separate whites and blacks. Lynchings kept blacks in fear of mob violence. And there were thousands of so-called “sundown towns,” including in northern states like Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, which barred blacks after dark, an unofficial rule reinforced by the threat of violence.

So in 1936, a postal worker named Victor Green began publishing a guide to help African American travelers find friendly restaurants, auto shops and accommodations in far-off places. Green dubbed the guide after himself – the “Green Book” – and published it for decades. Green says he was inspired by the Jewish press, which had long published information on restricted places.

By Ana Swanson – Full Story at The Washington Post

New Year’s Eve Weekend in Provincetown!!

Author: , December 22nd, 2015

New Year’s Weekend, December 31 – January 3, 2016

It promises to be one of the best New Year’s celebrations with dance parties all over town including the the A-House and Crown & Anchor on Thursday night, New Year’s Eve as Provincetown celebrates First Light Provincetown.  Did we say fireworks on Saturday?  But wait, there is even more!

  • Miss Richfield entertains on Friday at 7pm and 9pm  (1/01/16)
  • Polar Bear Plunge at 2pm on Friday
  • Town Hall open house and art tour from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday
  • Fireworks at approximately 5:30pm on Saturday (1/02/16)
  • Dina Martina performs at 9pm on Saturday
  • Suede in concert at 7pm on Saturday

With over twenty restaurants open and each having their own special New Year’s Eve celebrations it’s going to be a great weekend.

My partner Bob and I own The Somerset House Inn, a wonderful B&B in the perfect Provincetown location.  We’d love to have you stay with us for the New Year’s Eve weekend and in 2016.  Make your reservations now by clicking here.  We look forward to having you with us at The Somerset House Inn as we bring in 2016, it’s going to be a fantastic year!

Seven Things to Do When #TravelingWhileTrans

Author: , November 30th, 2015

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The recent tale of a transgender woman humiliated, demeaned, detained, delayed, and derailed by the Transportation Security Administration has struck fear into some trans travelers and validated the paranoia of others who vow not to travel (or avoid airports) so as to avoid a horror story of their own.

Well, as a trans woman who’s traveled the country by nearly every means available, I have something important to tell you: whatever happens, you’ll survive.

But I know from my own experience that bad things happen at the airport screening area all the time, ranging from the simply annoying to downright soul-crushing, as in the case of Shadi Petosky. Her friends and supporters created a hashtag on social media to help others share their experiences: #TravelingWhileTrans.

And let’s face it, airport insecurity is hardly a new phenomenon.

By Dawn Ennis – Full Story at The Advocate