Venice View from the Top of San Marco Tower – Keep Calm and Wander

Venice View - Keep Calm and Wander

The view of Venice from the top of San Marco campanile (St. Mark Bell Tower) at sunset is beyond mesmerizing. It’s magical! Looking down at the red-tiled roofs and a host of unique architectural designs, I had goosebumps that I’d remember forever. Yes, Venice is crowded with tourists and even on the campanile but seeing the Canal City from above gave me a different perspective of the crowded alleys and waterways.

The domes of Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica) are so close that you’d think they’re within your reach. The sea that surrounds the island is teeming with ferries, boats and gondolas bussing around and about. The afternoon sun turns everything the city has to offer into a world so far yet so familiar when you’re in Italy. On a good summer day, you’ll see all the neighbouring islands as colourful as Venice.

Don’t just see as far as your eyes can see but keep your eyes on the sculptures that stand on top of every buildings that surround the campanile. The San Marco Square below you is one huge public space that slowly transforms as the sun is setting. Outdoor tables and chairs are neatly arranged for the diners, complete with uniformed waiters and candle lights. A romantic night ahead is fully set up for lovers, honeymooners, random stranger dates and, probably, for a happy solo traveler.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Venice Gay Travel Resources

RECIPE: Colombian Limonada di Coco – Nomadic Boys

Limonada di Coco

Colombian limonada de coco is a popular drink throughout Colombia which we loved and ordered with every meal when eating out.

It’s a lime/coconut smoothie, which is particularly popular by the coastal Caribbean region in places like Cartagena and Barranquilla. Our recipe for Colombian limonada de coco is extremely simple to make, using only 4 ingredients and a blender. This serves around 3-4 people.

Ingredients for Colombian limonada de coco

400ml (1 can) of coconut milk
3 limes, squeezed for the juice
4 tablespoons of sugar
14 ice cubes

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Colombia Gay Travel Resources

Whale Huys Vacation Rental – De Kelders, Western Cape, South Africa

Whale Huys Vacation Rental

Perched on the ocean’s edge, Whale Huys has beautiful unobstructed sea views from all living areas, dining areas and bedrooms.

Fall asleep and wake to the sound of the waves gently lapping at the rocks below. Each bedroom opens out onto its own sea front balcony.

The uninterrupted panoramic views of Walker Bay and the surrounding mountain range extend up to Cape of Good Hope.

See the Whale Huys Vacation Rental Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Western Cape Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Teatro dell Sale – Dolly Travels

Teatro dell Sale meal

Buongiorno, tutti,

I know. I promised to post about this food and theater experience on Thursday, but time seems to get away from me. So now, I will tell you as much as I can about the Teatro dell Sale.

Have you ever found a new place to eat, or a new store, or something that is totally new to you, but in familiar surroundings? This is exactly what happened to us this past week. For years, I have been coming to Florence: sometimes with Frank, or sometimes with a group of travelers, sometimes by myself. On any trip, since I am such a “foodie”, a trip to San Ambrogio mercato is a must. I usually go to that mercato several times during each visit to Florence.

After we finished shopping at the market, and started toward our apartment, Frank and I stopped at Cibreo caffe, which is just steps away from the market, to have a cappuccino. I will tell you now that there are three different Cibreo establishments right on the same block: a ristorante, the caffe, a trattoria. Yes, I had seen these before, but other than having cappuccino at the caffe, I had never eaten in the other places. Right across the street from the caffe is the Teatro dell Sale. I have seen that, also, over the years, and never checked it out. Little did I know last Saturday that not only is the teatro a Cibreo establishment, the main kitchen for all the restaurants is behind the Teatro lobby.

We saw a flyer on our table at the caffe, advertising concerts for a Flamenco guitarist on Wednesday evening, and a jazz group on Thursday. We took the flyer home, and I called for reservations for Wednesday evening.

“Come to the Theater by 7:00 p.m.”, I was told. “You must register and become a member, and sign the papers. The doors open at 7:30.” I was told that the price for Wednesday would be 37 Euro per person. We would pay when we arrived.
The price sounded cheap enough to us, as concerts back home usually cost more than that. So I told the young man on the phone to reserve two places for us. I still had many questions in my mind. The time for the concert was right at dinner time: hmm. Do we eat before or after the concert? How long does the concert last? All these questions I never asked. I never even considered that there was food to be served at the concert.

On Wednesday, we went to the theater. We had not had dinner. Earlier in the afternoon, we had a snack that we felt would hold us over until after the concert. Once we got to the box office, we checked in, filled out the forms to become members of the theater group for one year. That was 7 Euro. The concert tickets were 30 Euro. Since we were early, the hostess invited us to pour ourselves a glass of wine and relax until 7:30. She led us to a comfortable couch, right next to the wine box. Yes, it was a wooden box, with red box wine inside, but the wine was quite tasty. We could help ourselves to wine all evening, as well as get carafes of either still or sparkling water, and make our own espresso.

At 7:30, we entered the dining hall, which was a large room next to the kitchen. That kitchen had large windows, where we could watch the action. When we found places to sit, we then headed to the big table, where bowls and platters of salads, cooked vegetables were, and helped ourselves to this appetizer course.

Next, came more dishes, but now, each time a new dish was ready to go out to the table, the chef stuck his head out the window of the kitchen, and loudly announced what the dish would be.

Being newcomers to this meal, we nearly got trampled, as en masse, the crowd surged toward the table. The only analogy I could come up with was to liken this to what happens in an aquarium when you drop food pellets in: the fish all swim to get the food, without caring who gets pushed aside. Same here: there was supposed to be a line, but there wasn’t. One just had to try to reach in a get a plate of whatever was being offered. Fortunately, two ladies were dishing up the food, so servings were appropriate.

We had mussels, then clams in a spicy broth, meatballs, several types of pasta for the course right after the appetizers. And of course, bread, hot from the oven, which was consumed greedily by anyone lucky enough to snag a few pieces.

Finally, the chickens came off the rotisserie, and they were served with roasted potatoes.

Then came dessert. They served a banana ice cream the first night, and had small chocolate brownies the second night.

At 9:00 p.m., they announced the dinner was finished. We all got out of our chairs and the staff arranged them in theater fashion in front of the stage.

The concert lasted about an hour. The first night was a solo flamenco guitarist from Spain, who was awesome. There were 3 women flamenco dancers, and they were very good, also.

Finally, somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m., we left the theater and walked home. It was a balmy evening, and a lovely walk home.

So, the next night, as I told you, we returned to hear the jazz group. The dinner crowd was not as large as the first night, and we were able to get our food without being trampled.

The menu changed slightly, as the owner of these restaurants is dedicated to serving only what is in season, what he can get fresh that day, from local sources, or at least from known sources, similar to our “Farm to Fork” program in Sacramento.

The food was delicious, the musical programs were very good. I am so happy that we found this unexpected delight, right near our Florence home.

I hope, those of you who are going to come to Florence, will give this theater a try. They are open every day except Sunday and Monday. Darn! I was hoping we would get another meal there, but, sad to say, we will leave Florence on Tuesday. But next year. My Theater Membership is good until July.

I hope you have enjoyed our food experience. I just wish you had been here to enjoy it in person with us.

Arrivederci. I will be back with more posts soon.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

Eating Out – Nashville Cuisine

Nashville Cuisine

I have a weakness for Southern food. Give me buttery grits or a biscuit drenched in gravy, and it’s instant #foodporn. Southern food and I go way back; we have history. I grew up outside Atlanta, Georgia, where the Waffle House was my stomping ground as a teen. Raised in a Korean household, I ate ban chan and bulgogi almost every day and have no regrets. My mom was an amazing cook, but when she brought home a bucket of fried chicken, it was a miracle if the chicken bones survived. There was always a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on the table at every meal, and it was mine.

It would go on everything, especially when my mom cooked meatloaf with green beans or chicken-fried steak with sweet potatoes. It’s not far off the mark to say I learned to love food through Southern dishes. There’s a level of comfort and nostalgia with every meal, no matter where I am in the country, and it truly resonates with iconic chef Anthony Bourdain’s famous quote: “Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”

Every time I plan a trip to Nashville, I arrange my itinerary around the restaurants I’ll dine at. Nashville may have a reputation for its music history, but any foodie or gourmand knows the restaurant scene is what makes the city truly special. Notable chefs have elevated Southern classics, yet you can still nom on nostalgic comfort food at a simple café. When I’m in town, I’m hashtagging #foodporn to an obsessive level, but it’s all warranted. Nashville offers some of the best Southern food in the country. Restaurants here also have heaps of personality, and foodies are treated with trademark Southern hospitality, which historically has revolved around a great meal.

Nashville is also growing faster than any other city in the south, so visitors have more reason to eat their way through the city. Thompson, Westin, and 21c Museum Hotel have recently moved in, and Kimpton and Virgin are on their way. Complementing the expansion of the tourism landscape, the culinary scene (the real heart and soul of Nashville, in my opinion) gets better every year. It has the power to move you, inspire you and, like me, make you fall in love with food. From longstanding institutions to new, buzzing hot spots, the restaurants featured here are taking dining to the next level.

By Jimmy Im – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Tennessee Gay Travel Resources

Hummingbird Inn – Easton Gay Bed & Breakfast

Hummingbird Inn - Easton gay Bed & Breakfast

Hummingbird Inn is located in the downtown historic district of the eastern shore town of Easton, MD. Situated in a circa 1865 Queen Anne Victorian on a beautiful 3/4 acre property, Hummingbird Inn aims to be more than just your standard B&B experience….more than just a place to sleep. We have 6 uniquely furnished large en-suite guestrooms which, while maintaining the Victorian charm, have also been upgraded to include the modern conveniences and amenities travelers expect. All rooms have a seating area from a comfortable set of chairs to a separate seating area in the Queen Anne Turret.

Rooms are equipped with a king or queen bed, HEPA air filtrations system, ceiling fans, central air conditioning/heating and some rooms have working fireplaces. All rooms have large bathrooms with heated towel racks, tile floors, unlimited hot water and high presser shower heads. Some bathrooms have a soaking clawfoot tub or a bubblejet juccuzi tub, and/or large shower room. We provide guests with ESA natural guest toiletries which are made using spa quality formulations, minimal preservatives and crafted vegetable based soaps.

We are a dog friendly B&B and also offer on-site dog sitting services. Now you and your guest can travel with your 4-legged pal, but enjoy a day or evening out and know that your pet is going to be well taken care of without the need to cut your time out short.

Our guests all enjoy spending time in the variety of common areas on the property such as the Guest Parlor with working fireplace and a separate sitting area in the Queen Ann Turret where we have a small lending library and a selection of board games and cards. There’s plenty of space on the grounds with a custom designed Victorian Garden under the giant Magnolia tree.

The highlight of the common areas is definitely the 1000 sq ft wrap around front porch. It’s double-width and integrated Bose sound system make an ideal setting for the ever popular “Porch Time”. Porch Time is a nightly event where you can sit outside on the porch, enjoy some nice music, the fresh air and more than likely find the Innkeeper enjoying some wine to be shared with guests. A great place to mingle, socialize and make new friends.

Every morning guests are treated to a gourmet 3-course sit down breakfast in the elegant Guest Dining room. Complete with unlimited freshly brewed coffee, fruit juices, Mimosa’s and our special Hummingbird Inn Bellini. When not enjoying the beauty, warmth, comfort and food at the B&B, there’s plenty to do in the quaint town of Easton or nearby surrounding towns such as St Michaels and Oxford. From the boutique shopping, to many of the water related activities to the wide variety of dining experiences. The area has everything from casual farm-to-table to Michelin rated fine dining.

Hummingbird Inn is 100% gay owned & operated and we extend a special welcome not only to our LGBTQ community, but their friends and families.

See the Hummingbird Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Maryland Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Corniglia, the Oldest Village in the Cinque Terre – Keep Calm and Wander

Corniglia

Corniglia is the oldest village in Cinque Terre that’s mentioned in Giovanni Bocaccio’s “Decameron.” It’s an Italian classic prose that contains 100 stories told by ten young people (7 women and 3 men) who gathered around in a hidden villa to escape Black Death that plagued the neighbouring city.

How to get (go up) there

Of the five beautiful villages in Cinque Terre, Corniglia is the one in the middle. Most day tour visitors would skip it because from the train station, they have to climb around 380 steps to get into the heart of the village. Though those steps are wide and well-kept, it’s a bad idea if you have arthritis or other medical conditions. So, for those with physical challenges, it’s better to take the bus outside the train station. If yon’t know which way, ask the guard at the information centre just when you get off. That will cost you 3 euros.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Liguria Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD – Book Review: A Body to Die For

A Body to Die For

A very recent book came out on the beautiful Hollywood star, Joi Lansing. Born in 1929 with the real name of Joy Rae Brown in Salt Lake, City, Utah she made her first major Hollywood movie, ‘When a Girl’s Beautiful’ in 1947 and continued throughout her short life and her last film was ‘Bigfoot in 1970.

A Body to Die ForAll in all, she appeared in over 30 movies including, ‘Easter Parade’, ‘In the Good Old Summertime’, “Singing in the Rain’ and ‘A Hole in the Head’ with Frank Sinatra.

The author, Alexis Hunter was also her lover and constant companion for the final years of her short life. Joi died as a result of breast cancer in 1972 at the age of 43.

Besides being a Hollywood actress, Joi also performed on television and did nightclub performances. In her movies, she was frequently dressed in skimpy costumes and bikinis that showed off her ’34D bust’. She was often compared to Mamie Van Doren and Jayne Mansfield. Among the dozens of television shows that she appeared in were: I Love Lucy, Where’s Raymond ?, Petticoat Junction, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Beverly Hillbillies and Bat Masterson.

A Body to Die ForHowever the book delves into the private lives of Joi and the author. Joi had been married and was still married to her last husband but the author, Alexis Hunter became a strong force in her life. The husband lived in another residence as Joi and Alexis lived together. When Joi was diagnosed with breast cancer, the two women really bonded as one and what a beautiful story it was.

This is a must read for anyone who enjoys the story of two people (in this case, two women) in love and the trials of trying to overcome what society did not appreciate. They even had to tell the world that Alexis was Joi’s young sister as they traveled around the country. This book is a true love story. Whether straight or gay or lesbian, readers will really enjoy this book. We recommend it highly. ‘JOI LANSING: A Body to Die For’ can be purchased thru Amazon.com

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

Davis House – Davis, North Carolina Vacation Rental

Davis House - Davis, North Carolina

The Davis House (1898) is a renovated home in the historic fishing community of Davis, NC. Originally built by Lorenzo T. Murphy the home was purchased by Alvin Davis in 1935 and was moved to the present site.

The house has remained in the family for over 80 years. Come visit Davis House as part of your experience to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

The Rental rate is for the entire house.

See the Davis House Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

North Carolina Coast Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Taking a Gaycation From China

gaycation from China

China’s LGBTI community are flocking to more rainbow-friendly cities in Asia to vacation and be free to be open with their sexuality. There are about 70 million LGBTI people living in mainland China, but because it is still taboo, many can’t live openly.

The 2016 China LGBT Community Report revealed many mainland Chinese LGBTI people are jetting off to cities such as, Bangkok, Taipei and Hong Kong to let their hair down. Enjoying the cities’ LGBTI scenes is just one reason Chinese people visit them. Many LGBTI people go to Thailand to stock up on the HIV preventative medication PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or to have gender-affirming surgery.
Sam is a studen in Shenzhen often heads to Hong Kong to hang out with his surrogate LGBTI family.

‘The reason I keep coming back to Hong Kong is because I feel more comfortable here – like I can finally live my real life,’ he told the South China Morning Post. ‘Plus my friends and family on the mainland hardly visit, so I don’t have to be scared of being recognised. ‘Maybe in future, when I have a job and can hopefully move to Hong Kong, I might come out to them.’

By Shannon Power – Full Story at Gay Star News

China Gay Travel Resources