San Sebastián del Oeste – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 17th, 2019

San Sebastián del Oeste

!Hola!

I think I am finally getting the hang of this Spanish language. I know how to ask for someone to fix the sink. I can order food and drink, get a taxi…hmm. That is about it. An older man, a helper at Walmart, asked me today why I didn’t speak Spanish. I told him I was working on it, but he shook his head and declared I should have done that years ago. I don’t know why he felt that way, but I told him I would keep trying, but he shook his head again, as if to declare me hopeless. Oh, well. My new phrase today, direct from my language translator, is: ¿Alquiera en busca una cerveza? Is anyone up for a beer?

Today is a lovely day: a bit breezy, but the sun is shining, and all is well in Puerto Vallarta.

This morning I walked to Walmart. I can see that complex from where I sit, but to get there, one has to go around the marinas, past the Naval Base, then take your life in your hands to cross the busy boulevard. I didn’t trust the policeman who kept telling me to go, when trucks and buses were coming around the corner aiming for me. I waited until some locals crossed, then I went with them. Whew! Adventure looms everywhere.

Today is going to be a relaxing day for me. I have an appointment at a spa later this afternoon for manicure, pedicure, 50 minute massage and a facial for a cost of approximately $55. We will see how that turns out.

Yesterday, I took a tour up to an old town far up in the Sierra Madre, reported to be the oldest town in this area. San Sebastián del Oeste was established in 1605, and flourished due to silver mining. After that, gold was discovered up there, so mining for those minerals, plus lead, made San Sebastián a busy place, with the population in 1900 being around 20,000 persons. Now, there are fewer than 1,000 residents. The town is kept clean and pretty, as it is considered one of the “Pueblos Majicos”, due to its history. The town receives a subsidy from the Mexican government to keep it historically correct, including the thick adobe walls of the buildings, and red tile roofs and the architecture. The streets are made of rock: big rocks, little rocks, all cemented together in an uneven hodge podge, it seemed to me. There are sidewalks for about half of the town. I had to laugh, as we saw cars proceeding down the street, slowly bumping up and down. Not that it was needed, for the cars could not go very fast, but the speed bump on one of the side streets was constructed of a heavy rope thrown across the street. It had obviously been there a long time, for it was pretty well enmeshed into the rocks of the street.

Before we got to San Sebastián, which, by the way, is a two-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, we made three stops. Our guide told us that the first paved roads to that town were constructed in the 1960’s. Up till then, the only roads were dirt. Can you imagine, in the silver and gold mining days, goods and people had to be transported from Puerto Vallarta, where they arrived by ship. The primary means of transport, then, was by pack mule. The journey took two days.

Our first stop, about and hour from PV, was at a store called El Puente de Krystal, which I assume refers to the bridge over a huge ravine beside the store. I was happy that we stopped there, for Frank and I had visited that place on a tour a few years ago.

We watched a woman making home made tortillas from the masa de maiz. She had a big bowl of that lovely dough under the cloth beside her. When someone wanted a taco, she pulled off a ball of dough, pressed it into a tortilla, threw it onto the wood-fired stove top, let it cook until it puffed up, then she picked it up, turned it over. When it was done to her satisfaction, she pulled the tortilla off the grill, put it onto a small plate, then handed it to the customer. There were bowls of retried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded cheese and salsa prepared. The customer made his taco to his or her preference. I had two of the delicious tacos, for a cost of $1 each.

Our next stop was at a tequila factory, of course. Jalisco, the Mexican state we are in, is the birthplace of tequila, so on any tour, one ends up at a tasting of that beverage.

This place was very simple, with techniques for making tequila going back generations of this same family. They use pure blue agave, the leaves and the root, to begin the process.

I took tiny tastes of tequila, but I am not a connoisseur; others said it was very good.

Next, we visited a coffee farm. There, I did taste the product, and it was delicious. The coffee farm had been established over 100 years ago. There was a woman called Maria, who had been the mother of 21 children, who started the farm with her husband. She outlived him, so she continued the farm and coffee production. Her next-to-youngest son now runs the business, and he is getting up in years, also. Maria, by the way, lived to be 85 years old. I cannot even fathom having a baby almost every year, as she did, beginning with the first child when she was 15 years old, and her youngest, when she was 46. Holy moley! And then she ran the farm, which is about 20 acres, I believe.

We were given a lesson on coffee growing, harvesting, roasting. I also learned that this is an organic farm. An interesting side note is the farm uses natural pesticide: a mixture of oil, garlic and serrano pepper. Hmm. Sounds a lot like the recipe for shrimp ajillo I told you about in an earlier post, except the pepper or chile is different. I might try that on my plants at home and see if it will keep the squirrels away.

Our guide took us to a very nice restaurant in San Sebastián. It was tastefully decorated, and the food was scrumptious. We were served chicken mole, cheese quesadillas, shredded beef for tacos, rice and beans. I could see the cook making tortillas in the kitchen, and cooking them as needed.

We ended our tour in the town square, after visiting the church of San Sebastián.

All in all, it was a pleasurable day. After all that walking on the rocky streets, and listening to Mario tell us all the cultural information, we were a tired group that headed back to Puerto Vallarta. I was grateful to Mario, our guide, for in his real life, he is a history teacher. He gave us so much very good information, both on the history of Mexico and this area in particular, but he expanded more on the anthropological and sociological aspects of Mexico. I felt it was a very worthwhile trip, for me.

By the time I got back to the resort, though, my feet and my brain were tired. I settled into my room for a nap before I ventured out for dinner.

I stayed at the resort for dinner and was treated to a lovely sunset.

So, adios from Puerto Vallarta, until next time. This is, indeed, a restful place.

–Dolly

Original Post: Dolly Travels

Gay Rochester, New York – 2TravelDads

Author: , April 15th, 2019

gay Rochester

I had genuinely no idea what to expect when I heard that I was going to be taking a trip to Rochester, New York for a few days. I knew that it’s one of the largest cities in New York State and that was it. After spending three days visiting Rochester and the surrounding towns, I accidentally fell in love with it: a totally surprising New York destination. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed every moment (seriously, I loved it), these are the best things to do in Rochester for your own visit.

Rochester, New York actually has its own airport, ROC, as it’s much larger of a city than you might think. Direct flights from most east coast and several midwest cities make it easy to get to. If you’re planning a road trip around New York State, Rochester is located just north of the Finger Lakes Wine Region, so it’s the perfect compliment to an Upstate adventure.

Every city has a museum or two that really characterizes the history or culture that makes that city what it is. Rochester is full of really wonderful, fascinating, unique museum experiences. I know, “why start with museums?” I start here because the museums really are some of the best things to do in Rochester. They are unlike any I’ve visited in any other city.

Eastman Museum

As a photographer and art lover, the Eastman Museum was a highlight for me. Built on the property of George Eastman’s estate, the founder of Eastman Kodak, it’s an epic collection of photography equipment, a catalog of the history of photography, and the most interesting photographic art museum I’ve ever experienced. In addition to museum exhibits, Eastman’s actually home, a gorgeous mansion, is a part of the full Eastman Museum experience.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Gay Rochester Travel Resources

 

Dubai Gay Friendly Hotels – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , April 15th, 2019

Dubai Gay Friendly Hotels - The Nomadic Boys

In 1991, there was just one sole lonely skyscraper in Dubai: the Dubai World Trade Centre. Fast forward 3 decades, the city has mushroomed with over 400, including the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa (830m / 2,723ft). Dubai’s growth over the past 30 years has accelerated its reputation from a desert city to one of the the most exciting and modern places in the world, earning it the nickname: the Las Vegas of the Middle East.

Dubai is also a major transport hub, making it a useful stopover to break up a long flight. Whether you’re visiting on a holiday or a layover, it’s always a fun place to come for beach time, shopping and some fascinating culture.

Gay travellers should be mindful that homosexuality is illegal in Dubai, so take care to avoid all public displays of affection. Despite this, a large underground LGBTQ scene does exist, particularly among the large cabin crew staff who live here.

In terms of gay, male-only hotels, there are none!

Your friend in destinations like these are the large international brands, which are accustomed to LGBTQ travellers and will always welcome us. Here are our favorite Dubai gay friendly hotels.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

 

Another Day in Puerto Vallarta – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 4th, 2019

Puerto Vallarta - Dolly Travels

!Hola, mi amigos,

Good morning, everyone,

It seems that time just is flying by, as every day I find something new to do; although, most of the time, I am simply relaxing and being lazy.

My youngest son, Rob, and his wife, Amy, joined me here a few days ago, so we have been exploring the town and the marina, primarily looking for the best food and drinks.

I have been here for 11 days already and I have eaten shrimp everyday. I am still not tired of it. Sometimes I have the fresh catch of the day, which so far has been either mahi mahi or red snapper, both of which have been delicious. If I have shrimp for lunch, then I might have the fish for dinner. Or vise versa.

One of my favorite dishes (above): Camarones in ajillo sauce. I had to look up the recipe. It is very simple, actually. The chef sautés garlic and chopped dried guajillo chiles in oil, then sautés the shrimp in that. The spicy oil is poured over the camarones when it is served. Here at the Tenampa pool bar, the shrimps are served with steamed veggies, a portion of rice, and for some reason, toasted bread. It is so good. I tell myself it is a healthy meal.

In the right, you can see the shrimp salad, which is another good choice. Those shrimp have also been sautéed in the chile oil.

Another favorite dish has been the fajitas del camarones. Just so much good food here, sometimes it is difficult to make a decision.

Okay, other than the food, walking has been on my agenda, nearly every day. I start my mornings with a three mile walk, up and around the marina, stopping for a Starbucks cappuccino, then continue on back to the condo. I have breakfast, then I write, every day, for at least an hour. Afternoons are devoted to relaxing by the pool or going into town.

Or, if I am not by the pool, relaxing by the beach, under a palapa, is also a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

On Thursday afternoon, there was a big market at the marina. Tents were set up all around the perimeter of the marina, selling all different types of merchandise: food stalls, taco wagons, dessert tents, where slices of some of the most delicious-looking cakes were sold. One stall had huge pans of paella and more pans of gumbo. Fortunately, I had already eaten, or I might have made a pig of myself.

There were also Indian dancers performing.

Yesterday, there was high clouds over the city, making the day a bit cooler, but no rain.
As we walked along the Malecon, we could see the waves crashing onto the shore. We watched pelicans diving into this waves to catch fish. Those big birds dive so fast, and so straight down, I had to wonder if they every suffer broken necks. They were amazing to watch.

Today, on my walk through the marina, I once more spotted a big crocodile. I think he was waiting for me, for today, his head was out of the water, up on the rocks, and he was smiling at me.

I was too mesmerized this morning to think to take a picture, for all I could think of, was the Disney song, “Never Smile at a Crocodile”, from the movie, “Peter Pan”. Now, of course, I can’t get the song out of my head.

So, life is fun, and I am getting work done on my book. Most of all, though, I am relaxing. This vacation was much-needed and I appreciate all of you who helped me get to this lovely, restful place.

I will close with a sunset picture from a few days ago. Now, it is lunch time, and the camarones at Tenampa Bar are calling for me to come enjoy them.

So, I shall say,

Hasta la vista, until we meet again.

Dolly

Road Trip From Vegas to Bryce Canyon – 2TravelDads

Author: , April 4th, 2019

Bryce Canyon - 2TravelDads

We’ve been looking forward to this road trip for a LONG TIME. Like, I can’t even tell you how long. We are finally exploring more of the Southwest with the kids: Las Vegas and the Utah National Parks. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we’re used to cold, wet climates with lush rainforests and snow capped mountains. And saltwater on all sides of us. Our road trip from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park is going to be such a contrast to our daily life.

We’ve partnered with Best Western Hotels & Resorts to come up with an awesome spring break travel plan that includes fun, nature and family-friendly hotels in the Southwest. Our southwest road trip is all about exploring the unique nature of Utah while getting plenty of time relaxing together and recharging, you know, like you’re supposed to do on vacation. Yes, our itinerary will keep us busy, but we know how to strike a good balance of fun and calm. A road trip from Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park will be just that: balanced and beautiful.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Utah Gay Travel Resources

 

Ogunquit Inn – Ogunquit Gay Owned Bed and Breakfast

Author: , March 21st, 2019

Ogunquit Inn

The Ogunquit Inn Bed & Breakfast offers unique, historic guest accommodations on the South Coast of Maine. The B&B was originally built in the Eighteen Hundreds, and was the town’s original school house.

You can relax on one of our lounge chairs on our wide, green lawn, or while away an afternoon on the front porch in one of our cozy wicker chairs. When it’s raining out, soak up a little heat in front of our fireplace in our comfortable living room, sampling a bottle of local wine.

The inn also has a 7 person jacuzzi under the stars, a great place to soak away your aches from a day in town. We also offer free wifi internet, and free use of the movies in our DVD library.

See the Ogunquit Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Ogunquit Inn Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

 

Las Vegas Day Trip to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon Skywalk – Go Girlfriend

Author: , March 21st, 2019

Hoover Dam - pixabay

From the original Las Vegas Fremont Street to the newer Strip, Las Vegas is big, it’s bold, it’s loud and it’s game-y – but oh, so entertaining! Like heading to Orlando and never getting out to see the Atlantic or Gulf Coast beaches, so too are the exploring opportunities when you’re visiting Las Vegas.

Day trip possibilities can take you in any direction – north, south, east or west. Spend your time within Vegas but rent a convertible and explore the bigger “wild west” of Nevada.

Not many of us live close to grand canyons and wild untamed rivers. As urbanites, we live in geographically mundane surroundings day-to-day and have to take a road trip to explore those mountains, national parks or beaches that seem so close, but are oh so far away.

Within a day trip opportunity east of Las Vegas are the grandest of canyons (epic truly!), and the super-truly, awe-inspiring Hoover Dam of magnificent proportions. Both are linked to the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam holding back and harnessing the power of the Colorado River, and the Grand Canyon being etched over millennia by the Colorado River. I recommend you get out and explore these two wonders.

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Nevada Gay Travel Resources

 

Ten Great Free Things to Do in Galway, Ireland – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , March 21st, 2019

Galway Cathedral Ireland - Keep Calm and Wander

If you’re searching for a new adventure, but you don’t want to break the bank, look no further than Galway. There’s so much to do in this quaint Irish town. Here are ten things to fill a weekend without parting with any of your hard-earned cash:

Visit the Old City Walls

Anglo-Norman conquerors created the town of Galway and built an imposing wall to defend the new settlement. Amazingly, parts of this wall still stand today and it’s a must-see attraction when visiting.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Ireland Gay Travel Resources

 

Oscar Wilde Tours – Gay Tour Operator

Author: , March 18th, 2019
Oscar Wilde Tours Credit Jeffrey James Keyes117

Credit Jeffrey James Keyes117

Oscar Wilde Tours offers gay history for gay travelers: Oscar Wilde Tours organizes group tours focused on gay history, culture, and art. From Socrates to Michelangelo, from Whitman to Wigstock: come discover the richness of the gay past and the importance of the gay contribution to world culture on our tours!

See the Oscar Wilde Tours Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Lesbian Helinski, Finland – Stuff.co.nz

Author: , March 18th, 2019

lesbian Helinski

As I alighted from the tram at the Kallio neighbourhood, mid-rise container buildings fill the compact streets, giving it an industrial, no-frills attitude to it.

The quarter strikes me as idle at first impression, a slightly grungier little brother to Helsinki’s glamorous city centre. It is no wonder since Kallio is a former working-class neighbourhood. Today, it is transformed into a trendy district for artists and students to hang out.

Kallio is the most densely populated urban area in Finland, and its streets are lined with a wide range of cafes, restaurants, bars and street-front boutiques.

I am on a mission to blend in with the locals and spot some of Helsinki’s grungy hipster gems and local hangouts.

Within the terracotta brick walls exists an assuming cafe-gallery. I push through the aged-mustard door and my eyes are instantly drawn towards the bold strokes of artwork that line the walls of Rupla, the communal space sparsely scattered with indoor plants to add to the atmosphere of homeliness.

By Isabel Leong – Full Story at Stuff.co.nz

Finland Gay Travel Resources