Amsterdam Pride – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , September 28th, 2018

Roxanne & Maartje - Amsterdam Pride

There’s no time to rest, as the next Pride celebrations are already here! After a fantastic Pride weekend in Berlin, we fly back to Amsterdam. We rest and work for two days in Eemnes before the exciting new things are happening. Amsterdam Pride is a lot about partying but we also have some meetings coming up. Somehow, now that we are back in the Netherlands we get opportunities to connect with people we couldn’t connect anywhere else before (read: networking!).

The highlight of Amsterdam Pride is the canal parade on the first Saturday of August. This year will be the first time we will go on a boat of the parade. Normally we see all the boats passing by from the streets so it’s going to be a whole different experience this time. Thanks to our new Berlin-slash-gay-friend Haroon Ali we connect with some great people from Amsterdam Marketing and that’s how we get the opportunity to be on the NYC-Amsterdam boat. Why an NYC-Amsterdam boat? Next year, 2019, NYC will host World Pride. Something we are already insanely excited for. Mark June 2019 in your agenda: World Pride time! See you there?!

Amsterdam Pride is a lot different than most Prides worldwide. In Amsterdam, it started as a celebration of freedom and diversity instead of a demonstration. Prides elsewhere are usually inspired by the Stonewall riots, but in the Netherlands, that’s continued by Pink Saturday. In 1996 Amsterdam Pride started. The canal parade grew the past years till a parade of 80 boats and over 500.000 visitors! To make our boat even more special we learn a choreography. Together we will dance on the song Go West from the Pet Shop Boys, the entire boat ride.

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Netherlands Gay Travel Resources

Inside Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 28th, 2018

Basilica Cistern

Featured in some Hollywood blockbusters, such as 1963 James Bond film “From Russia with Love”, Ron Howard’s adaption of Dan Brown’s “Inferno”, and the recent one Marvel’s “Black Widow”, the Basilica Cistern is the largest cavernous cisterns of Istanbul. It is called “basilica” because it lies underneath the location of a Roman basilica long lost in the pages of history. I could not fathom how a place so marvelousas this one was used as a dump in the Ottoman rule over Constantinople. But it relieves me to know that it was discovered by Petrus Gyllius—a French researcher—and it is now open to the public, for all of us to see what’s beneath Istanbul’s famed Sultanahmet Square. This underground Byzantine water reservoir is just one of the many subterranean structures across the city.

Where is it? It’s just few steps from Hagia Sophia. Just cross the street and find a tiny sign leading to Basilica Cistern.

1. A Forest of Columns

When you see 336 pillars towering at a height of 33ft and supporting a massive roof right in front of you, it is almost as if you’re seeing countless trees of a forest. These pillars were not built. Actually, they were salvaged from different places and were reused here.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Turkey Gay Travel Resources

Las Terrazas de Dana – Ecuador Gay Friendly Vacation Rental

Author: , September 27th, 2018

Las Terrazas de Dana - Gay Friendly Ecuador Vacation Rental

Welcome to Las Terrazas! We are proud to present you a place to relax and enjoy in one of the best bird watching hot spots in the world. Las Terrazas de Dana is a family business run by two siblings, David and Ana. That’s why the mixed word “Dana”.

Mindo Ecuador is located at the hearth of Choco Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve declared on 25 July 2018 by UNESCO.

The lodge is a pioneering eco-lodge with modern design where the latest technology in metal frame construction and traditional construction blend. It’s a sustainable building that takes care about ecology and the environment.

See the Las Terrazas de Dana Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

 

The Ten Most Gay Friendly Countries in the World – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 27th, 2018

Gay Friendly Countries

This is our list of the top 10 most gay friendly countries in the world. We based our research on the following 4 studies and combined this with our personal experience of having travelled to over 100 countries as a gay couple:

  • Wikipedia: list of countries that have legalised gay marriage
  • Spartacus: Gay Travel Index 2018 of the most gay friendly countries in the world
  • ILGA Rainbow Europe: 2018 survey of the most gay friendly countries in Europe
  • PewGlobal: 2013 study of 37 countries asking “should society accept homosexuality?”

To be clear, we are looking at countries overall, not cities or regions. So for example, whilst the US has some of the gayest destinations in the world (San Francisco, the Keys, Fire Island etc) it also has so much extreme homophobia, which makes it difficult to rank it in our top 10.

In our opinion, gay marriage for us is the first and most important marker to measure how gay friendly a country is because we think that a government making the proactive stance to go from having civil unions to the symbolic step of saying “we’re all equal and we’re going to call it marriage” is a big deal! The only exception we made for this is Thailand – a destination we’ve always felt extremely welcome in as a gay couple, despite it not having equal marriage laws.

Here are our top 10 gay friendliest countries in the world:

1. CANADA

There is a good reason why Spartacus places Canada as the number #1 gay friendly country in the world. In 2005, Canada became the 4th country to legalise gay marriage (after Holland, Belgium and Spain). It also scored high on the PewGlobal study. And from our experience, unlike any other country we’ve visited, Canada goes over and above to welcome gay travellers.

Where else in the world do you see the (straight white male) leader of a country leading a gay pride parade waving a transgender flag and crying out “Happy Pride”? We saw Justin Trudeau do this in person at the Fierte gay pride in Montreal. It made our hairs stand on end to see this.

Canada is also the only country we know that hosts its own national Pride event, called “Canada Pride”. The first one took place in Montreal in 2017. The next one will be in Winnipeg in 2020. Speaking of Prides, Toronto Pride is one of the largest in the world, attracting almost 1.5 million. Finally, every main city in Canada has a thriving gay scene, complete with rainbow crossings and numerous gay events taking place throughout the year. We loved the gay scene of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in particular. Read more in our interview with Barry from Toronto about gay life in Canada.

Oh Canada Canada Canada, we applaud and salut you, and wave our big giant Nomadic Boys rainbow flag in your honour!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Last Day of Hiking in the Dolomites – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 27th, 2018

Dolomites - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

We are now on a train, traveling south to Rome. We had to leave the beauty of the Dolomites this morning, for we have an early flight tomorrow from Rome, which will bring us back to California.

I am so glad we had those last four days in the Dolomites; the hiking, the lifts, the animals, the friendly people, plus the sheer beauty of the area was so enjoyable for all of us. Danny and Heather took another trail yesterday, and I took the Trail of the Witches that they had hiked the day before. This trail is considered an easy trail, but I do believe the classification of “easy” is all in the mind of the hiker. To me, it was a moderate trail, with rocky paths, some steep uphill walking, but manageable. Also, we found that the term, “hiking”, is not a word used very much. The kids found that people from Scandinavia do not have a word for that. Those people simply “walk” on the trails. While I thought eight miles was a pretty hefty walk, the Norwegians said they do that on a daily basis. I think I must be a wimp. I have learned, also, that if a trail marker says the next point will be 20 minutes, for me, it will be 40. I stop frequently just to admire where I am.

The trail followed the outer perimeter of one of the mountains. From the trail, quite often I could see over the rim to the valleys below.

At the overlook at that northern end of the meadow, there was a memorial cross. I counted four crosses up on that mountain.

Of course, since the trail leads through grassland, there were cows. This cow, named Dagmar, was not going to budge off the trail.

She and I had a conversation, but since she only understood German, I lost the debate. Finally, I did make my way around her. I knew her name, for I could read her name tag on her ear.

The path had some pretty little scenes along the way, such as this wooden bridge over a small stream.

At last, I could see our town, Castelrotto, sitting far, far below me. At that point of the trail, if I took a few steps to my right, I could have fallen halfway to Castelrotto. I was careful.

After lunch, I competed my walk back to Compatsch, then I took the cable car back down to the station, and the bus back to Castelrotto.

The kids beat me home; we compared notes, and I discovered that they had walked the trail that I had walked the first day, through the fields of flowers, the Nature Path.

All in all, we had a delightful four days, with plenty of exercise, fresh air, good food and wine, plus the added pleasure of meeting people from different countries; all of us had come to Alpe di Suisi to enjoy the beauty of the region.

Soon we will be back home, living our ordinary lives, with the memories of this fantastic vacation to keep us happy.

I hope you have enjoyed our trip to Italy with us. I will not blog again until we are home; probably rested, also. Please tell me your thoughts and views on these blog posts. I want all of you to enjoy the places that I visit.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Dolomites Gay Travel Resources

 

Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , September 22nd, 2018

Blue Ridge Parkway

Nashville was just the jumping-off point for a road trip through Tennessee and North Carolina – a trip I dubbed the ‘Beer and Mountains’ adventure because those were the two reoccurring things of the trip: Mountain hikes, scenic mountain road drives, viewpoints and micro breweries.

From Nashville, we headed east and it didn’t take long until the flatlands turned into rolling hills and eventually into mountains: We had reached the Great Smoky Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway (for views and hikes) and Asheville (for all the craft beer – did you know Asheville had the highest number of breweries per capita in the US?) were the two reasons we added North Carolina to what was originally supposed to be a Tennessee road trip.

I’d driven parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway years ago, but back then we were on a tight schedule and didn’t have time to stop for more than one tiny hike along the way, so this time I wanted to see more than just some viewpoints along the way.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

Before You Visit Istanbul’s Blue Mosque – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 22nd, 2018

Blue Mosque

Istanbul is a culmination of Byzantine, Constantinople, and Ottoman art and culture. Although, there were many eye-catching attractions in the city, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul stands out from the rest of the list.

Remember: Since this is a holy place for Muslims, you’re expected to dress decently. If you are exposing flesh (including men wearing shorts), get or borrow a shawl near the entrance and cover the exposed parts of your skin before going in. Entrance is free.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul goes with other two names: the Sultan Ahmet Mosque and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

10 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

1. The name “Blue Mosque” is not because of its exterior, which is not even blue. It is because of the blue tiles inside.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Turkey Gay Travel Resources

Gay Panama – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , September 20th, 2018

Gay Panama

If you have not yet been to Panama it is an absolute must. We only spent ten days in Panama and were pleasantly surprised to find gay owned hotels (like this luxury boutique in Bocas Del Toro) and a great gay scene in the Panama City itself.

We met up with Roberto Broce in Panama City to find our more about ‘gay Panama’ and find out if Panama is gay friendly. Here is our interview with him:

Hi Roberto! If you could introduce yourself to our readers first that would be great!

Roberto: Hi! My name’s Roberto Broce, I’m 26 years old and I work as a marketing analyst for the Innovation Centre of a foundation here in Panama called Ciudad del Saber. I’ve been travelling for 10 years living in almost every continent around the world, partaking in several social causes in places like China and Australia. I like kitesurfing, astronomy, and adventure travelling. I’m also single!

That sounds like you have seen a lot even at 26! Ok, so our first question – What is the stereotypical view of a Panamanian local towards someone who is LGBT (either local or tourist – is there a difference)

Roberto: It depends a lot on whether they were raised in an urban or a rural environment, their age, whether they were raised in a religious home, etc.

Let’s take a straight 30 something year old male raised in one of the suburbs of a satellite city outside Panama City in a catholic home. His exposure to LGBT people in the 90s and early 2000s was limited to TV characters that would exaggerate their mannerisms and were basically living cartoons, and to carnival queens that dress up in beautiful bright, feathery outfits and act in a very flamboyant manner. His vision is that gay people are flamboyant, cartoonish characters. Not necessarily reject them but also not completely accepting.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Panama Gay Travel Resources

Queer Philadelphia – Passport Magazine

Author: , September 20th, 2018

Philadelphia

It’s all sorts of star-studded in Philly tonight. John Waters mills about the lobby of the Wilma Theater, on Center City’s Avenue of the Arts, having just witnessed the world premiere of choreographer/director/dancer Bill T. Jones’ contemporary opera, We Shall Not Be Moved. The visually dazzling production bravely revisits a shameful moment in Philadelphia’s modern history, the 1985 police bombing of a West Philly row house occupied by members of black separatist group MOVE, which resulted in six deaths, many injuries, and a neighborhood consumed by flames. The opera is a fictitious account of an interracial clique of orphaned teens including a transgender male, seeking shelter in that now haunted building.

Addressing race, queerness, class disparity, police-citizen relations, and identity, it’s a profound work, presented jointly by Opera Philadelphia’s inaugural Festival O (www.operaphila.org/festival) and the concurrent Fringe Arts (www.fringearts.com).

Following its phenomenally successful 2017 edition, the second Festival O will take place September 20-30, 2018, and it’s but one of the fresh, delightfully queer developments making this ever-evolving City of Brotherly Love a repeat destination for many travelers.

The 22nd FringeArts, which encompasses about 1,000 events over 17 days at their five-year-old home venue on Delaware River Waterfront (which includes a 240-seat performance space and La Peg, a brasserie/beer garden), as well as at spaces throughout the city, runs from September 6-22, 2018.

Dense with vibrant, edgy productions from around the world and by homegrown talent alike, keep an eye out for anything by Philadelphia choreographer-performer Gunnar Montana (www.gunnarmontana.com). His way-gay, episodic “Kink Haus” was a 2017 standout thanks to sensual, edgy, and humorous vignettes featuring agile and attractive men, women, and those who blurred the distinction, plus Cirque du Soleil–level acrobatics.

By Lawrence Ferber – Full Story at Passport

Philadelphia Gay Travel Resources

Queer History Along Route 66 – SDGLN

Author: , September 19th, 2018

Route 66 - pixabay

The subject of gay bars from the past really interests me.

Route 66, a National Treasure of the National Trust, winds its way some 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. It weaves past small towns, big cities, National Parks, roadside attractions, and also: gay bars.

As one of the first cross-country highways, Route 66 connected refugees from the Dust Bowl to safety in the 1930s, troops to military bases during World War II, and post-war Americans to California and the western states in the 1950s and onwards. While I traveled Route 66 with the National Trust from Chicago to Springfield, Missouri, I documented places in communities along the iconic highway that historically welcomed gay travelers.

The subject of gay bars from the past really interests me.

Where I live in New York City I lead a walking tour about “gay bars that are gone” and people who attend share histories and sometimes memories from LGBT spaces, dating as far back as the 1870s. These are spaces where gay Americans found joy, love, community, and solidarity in the face of great social and political adversity. To document the “gay bars that are gone” of Route 66, I came with a few important things in my suitcase: two LGBT USA travel guides from the year (coincidentally) 1966 and a rainbow flag.

The travel guides were incredible. Both are rare finds and I had to convince folks from far away to scan archival copies and send to me. One was titled: The Lavender Baedeker ‘66: A Guidebook to Gay, Interesting, Hysterical, and Historic Places in the U.S., and it was published by a company listing LGBT-friendly establishments since 1961. The other guide was a Damron Guide from 1966, which is an LGBT travel company that still exists and has been publishing gay travel guides since 1964. This third edition Damron Guide chronicled more than 900 places across the United States and Canada recommended for gay travelers.

By Michael Ryan – Full Story at SDGLN