, November 26th, 2014
Tel Aviv has announced a two-week ‘Pink Winter’ Festival for the festive period, taking place between 24 December and 7 January. The event will encompass non-stop street parties and beach parties (including a chill-out party at Hilton Beach), as well as a queer film festival.
Christmas tree and Hanukkah candle lightings will also take place on Christmas Eve, to mark the official launch of the festival.
The festival’s headquarters will be based at the Tel Aviv Gay Center at 22Tchermichovsky S. in Park Mei’r, where LGBTIs can also attend lectures, support groups and counselling sessions.
By Jamie Tabberer – Full Story at Gay Star News | Israel Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events
, November 26th, 2014
The 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival promises 17 days of parties and events from Friday 20 February to Sunday 8 March next year.
The first big event of the festival will be the popular Fair Day on Sunday 22 February which will see Sydney’s Victoria Park transformed into a massive gay pride picnic and markets with music stages and DJs scattered around the park.
Then on Friday 27 February female voices and experiences will be celebrated at Women Say Something, an annual panel discussion and forum where women role models and thinkers speak. The following day sees one of Sydney’s most popular day parties come to the picturesque Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens on the edge of Sydney Harbor – the annual Harbor Party.
By Andrew Potts – Full Story at Gay Star News | Sydney Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events
, November 26th, 2014
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a little boy who loved Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid a little too much…but he wasn’t allowed a doll of her for Christmas.
It’s a tragic tale, albeit one befitting many a queer man of a certain age who remembers the Disney Renaissance (Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture – we will not forget). But really, who doesn’t have a relationship with Disney? And more to the point, whoever said Disneyland Paris was just for kids?
Because to say a visit to the most visited tourist destination in Europe will bring out your inner-child, regardless of your age, gender or sexuality, would be an understatement – after all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves came out in 1937, meaning it must conjure memories of infancy even in some 80-year-olds.
By Jamie Tabberer – Full Story at Gay Star News | Paris Gay Travel Resources
Image via Apple Maps
, November 26th, 2014
Like the gravity of spring water running down a mountainside, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, located in the Ozarks in the northwest corner of the state, has a power to draw a diverse group of citizens and tourists … many of whom end up as citizens. It’s the kind of place that enchants you and convinces your heart that it’s found its home.
The town has been a draw since the Industrial Revolution, when weary wanderers would come from the soot-soaked north to “take the waters” at a series of natural springs, which they found to have curative powers. A modern retrospect might suggest that it was simply fresh mountain air and clean water that did the trick, but the lore evolved that the water of those springs would cure what ailed you.
Cut to modern times, when a dual resurgence of hippy artist types and Christian pilgrims to the city’s Great Passion Play helped to build up this mountain burg and establish its easy-going, inspirational feeling.
Most interesting is the LGBT contingency of Eureka Springs. Some estimates claim that up to 30 percent of the downtown businesses are gay-owned. Catch the members of the Gay Business Guild of Eureka Springs ( which you can find in different locations each Wednesday evening at their weekly “Prayer Meeting” ) and they’ll each tell you their stories of how they came to Eureka Springs, and how the charm of this hidden gem welcomed them as one of the crowd. These residents help Eureka Springs retain its status as the “gay capital of the Ozarks.”
By Kirk Williamson – Full Story at Windy City | Arkansas Gay Travel Resources
Image by Kirk Williamson
, November 26th, 2014
There’s a segment of every population that likes to hunt and fish — you just have to know how to reach them. That’s the advice of Darrell Schuurman, co-founder of Travel Gay Canada and guest speaker at this week’s Northern Ontario Tourism summit in Thunder Bay.
Schuurman said he tells outfitters if they want to attract gay and lesbian visitors to their business, first they need to spend some time at local Pride events. “Start to build those relationships. What that’s doing is showing that you’re really invested in this market, and really connected to this market,” he said.
Schuurman noted that annual worldwide spending by lesbian and gay travellers amounts to over $8-billion. A little education and staff training can also go a long way towards making LGBT visitors feel comfortable, he said. “When … there’s two men or two ladies” checking into a hotel, it’s no longer appropriate to say “Oh, definitely you need two rooms.'”
Full Story at CBC News
, November 26th, 2014
Here is a resource we found helpful during our visit to the Kauai – it’s our bible for things to do on the island. Please remember that the advice in any listed resources is AYOR.
The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook
This is our favorite guidebook series. While not a gay guide, these books are beautiful, featuring tons of full color photos, and are easy to thumb through to find great, interesting places and things to see all over the island.
Another big plus – these books, unlike most of the books we’ve seen, detail the mile markers on the highways where you can find each of these sights – a huge help in a place like Hawaii that’s not big in street numbering.
Pick up this book before you go, or stop by a bookstore on-island to get a copy after you arrive. Borders in Lihue at the Kukui Grove senter usually carries them.
Kaua’i is a fantastic, mystical place that changes everyone who visits it. Be careful coming here the first time – it may get into your blood. Farewell, Kaua’i, until next time.
Kauai Gay Travel Resources
Pink Iceland is Iceland’s only LGBT travel agency and Iceland’s leading wedding planner service.
Pink Iceland operates Pink day tours for individuals and always have small groups, with gay & gay friendly guides and a lot of fun. Pink Iceland also plans weddings for gay and straight couples in Iceland all year round as well as organizing Iceland’s Winter Pride festival Rainbow Reykjavík. Tailor made travel is Pink Iceland’s middle name and the company organizes travel itineraries tailored to your needs. Pink Iceland is the recipient of the 2012 Innovation Award of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, is a proud member of IGLTA and has received over 115 five star reviews on TripAdvisor.
Pink Iceland’s honesty policy:Pink Iceland is a privately owned company and as such it needs to make a profit. This profit pays the salaries of its staff, the rent, the wonderful and informative Pink Iceland website not to mention copious amounts of coffee for the owners. Most of Pink Iceland’s money is made through commissions. This is how it works: If our guests lets us book their tours, activities, and accommodation we collect a small (usually 10-15%) commission of the price. This basically means that you pay the same price, regardless of whether you book directly – or through us. You may think this might cause us to recommend really expensive accommodation and tours. Not so. We promise to do our utmost to come up with a plan that suits you, and your budget. We would never recommend anything without full confidence and/or personal experience of what’s on offer. Our primary goal is working with and for the LGBTQI community and without the community’s support or goodwill we wouldn’t have lasted six months in the business. It is not least through word of mouth that we grow stronger every day. Our hope is that after reading this you too will ask for our recommendations and advice and/or book your holiday through us.
, November 25th, 2014
Restaurants on Kauai are EXPENSIVE. We’re talking often 15-18 bucks for a chicken sandwich, and $30-40 for an entree at a decent restaurant.
With that in mind, here are a few of our favorites, some on the high side, some actually reasonable, in alphabetical order.
The Saddle Room – one of the best deals on the Island
We didn’t visit The Beach House restaurant this trip (which is also hear in the western section of Poipu), but it was very good, though a bit expensive, when we visited here before. It also has really romantic water views.
In the storefront that used to host DaKine Hot Dogs, you’ll now find a cute little place called the Eastshore Cafe.
It’s in the heart of Kapa’a, with a bit of an ocean view out the back. There’s live music in the evenings, and we had a charming waitress who was new to the island the week before, and who reminded me of Kirsten Bell.
The food here is burgers and fries and sandwichs, and a little pricey, but the food is good.
Ilima Terrace is a beautiful restaurant on a terrace at the Grand Hyatt, looking out over Shipwreck Beach. Ilima Terrace offers a great buffet breakfast, and the perfect island atmosphere to relax over breakfast. The Grand Hyatt has one of the most fantastic pools we’ve ever seen – it wanders in and around the huge grounds, under bridges, past sandy beaches, and is enjoyable just to walk through – and it’s a part of your view at the Ilima Terrace.
For breakfast or lunch, try the Kalaheo Cafe (at right) across the parking lot… surprisingly good basic fare and a nice sunny patio to eat at.
We had the pesto chicken sandwich and a breakfast burrito for breakfast – both were excellent.
While small and unassuming and tucked away on the edge of the Kukui Grove mall, the Kauai Bakery is also gay friendly – they made the wedding cake for Marco and Fabry’s wedding – and they boast some seriously delicious breakfast pastries.
Perfect for a quick stop for breakfast before heading out to explore the island.
There’s also a great restaurant here – Kauai Pasta (pictured at right) – right on the main highway about half a block south of Hilo Hattie.
We ate here both on our 2005 trip and again in 2014 – the pasta was fantastic.
Get here early, though, for lunch or dinner – it’s a popular place, and it only has a handful of tables.
Keoki’s Paradise in Poipu used to be a favorite, with its kitschy tropical ambiance. Tables are situated on tiers, surrounded by a lagoon and tropical plants. But we were sorely disappointed the last time we were here – we were given a water-side table – in a dark far corner of the restaurant, away from the waterfall, and near the street and some ongoing construction.
And the food was from 30 years ago – teriyaki steak that was undercooked, macadamia encrusted entrees. Beware any restaurant with macadamia nut encrusted anything on its menu. If you do insist on going, ask for a table by the waterfall, not just by the water. At least the view will be good.
Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza
The Kilauea Bakery is also here, a hole-in-the-wall place (pictured at right) with some of the best pizza on the north coast. We tried it with our Italian friends this time, and they gave it the thumbs-up. The cheese is amazing.
Koloa Mill Ice Cream and Coffee
This place served some excellent ice cream – our Italian friends actually preferred the ice cream here to the gelato a few doors down at Pizzetta – and it’s filled with chunks of chocolate, nuts, etc.
In a pleasant surprise, one of our old regulars, Neide’s Brazilian Restaurant (at left), was still in business. The Brazilian dishes are fair, but the Mexican dishes here, though basic fare, are really good, and the portions generous.
The prices, while a little higher than we remembered, are still very reasonable, and the shared courtyard is a great place to relax in the early afternoon or in the evening for dinner. A definite must-do on the north shore.
We came here for the shave ice – they have an abundance of flavors, as well as other island specialties – and judging by the line, the place is pretty popular.
They also have a restaurant that’s open at night, but we didn’t have the chance to try it.
Next on the highway is Anahola – blink and you’ll miss it – but the Ono-Char Burger at the little stand here are divine, so stop here for lunch one day if you have a chance.
Mahina Kai, a beautiful gay owned b&b, is also here, down the southern fork of Aliomanu Rd.
Right in the heart of Koloa Town, this place has great pizza – wonderful crust, delicious cheese, and cooked to perfection – even our Italian friends said so.
It has great service and a nice open air atmosphere.
They also serve gelato – it’s the first time I’ve ever had POG gelato (Passion-Orange-Guava juice – an island staple.
Poipu Dolphin Restaurant
We ate here mainly because a) it was raining and b) they had french fries, which Fabizio really wanted for lunch that day. The food was pricey, but good.
Roy’s is an island chain that has also spread to seaside cities on the mainland, and the food here was fantastic.
The service was good, but get here early. This restaurant is unique in that it sits on the main pedestrian walkway at the Village, and is in fact split into two sections by it, so if you come late, you may end up sitting on or near the aisle, with passers-by watching you eat. But we give this place a hearty recommendation.
The Saddle Room at Wrangler’s Steak House
On our way back from Waimea Canyon, we were starving, and were looking for a place to grab some lunch without driving all the way back t Koloa Town or Poipu. We happened upon the Wrangler’s Steakhouse – on the south side of the Highway in Waimea Town.
You can’t miss it – there are five paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) in cutouts on the roof. The steakhouse itself is closed at lunch, but they have a small restaurant on the side of the building – the Saddle Room, that serves AMAZING burgers and fries.
And it’s actually AFFORDABLE. You don’t often run across these two words together at a Kauai restaurant – well worth the stop (or the drive).
There’s also the Seaview Terrace at the Hyatt – a kiosk with coffee, pastries, and juices that offers the same view in a less formal setting, but for a price.
But the views are pretty incredible, overlooking the beautiful Hyatt pools and Shipwreck Beach.
The St. Regis Princevillle Hotel
With an absolutely gorgeous lobby and several great restaurants.
There’s also a small coffee/breakfast bar with a terrace that boasts the most fantastic view of the Hanalei Bay,.
This is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with some of the best views on the island.
Also at the Grand Hyatt is Tidepools Restaurant, a tropical restaurant set among the landscaped pools between the hotel and the beach.
It’s only open for dinner.
We ate here after Marco and Fabrizio’s wedding, and the staff was friendly and helpful – they took care of us when we were a little late arriving from the north shore, and served the wedding cake (for a small fee).
The atmosphere is a lot less contrived than Keoki’s, especially at night, when the tiki torches provide a beautiful glow across the water anf the Koi play just below your table
The first town you’ll come to is Koloa Town, an old sugar plantation town with a charming collection of shops and restaurants. There’s a Lappert’s Ice Cream – a Hawaiian ice cream store chain that has great locally-made ice cream. There’s also one of our previous favorite restaurants, Tomkats (pictured at right) – a local Pizza joint with a nice outdoor courtyard out back.
Unfortunately, we can no longer recommend Tomkats – when we visited the last time, we waited for almost 10 minutes before the hostess even acknowledged us, the service was extremely slow and rude, and the food was cold and greasy.
Kauai Gay Travel Resources