The Prague Powder Tower – Keep Calm and Wander

The Prague Powder Tower - Keep Calm and Wander

This iconic Prague Powder Tower has an interesting history. Before it got its present-day name, this tower served as the entrance gate of the Bohemian monarchy on their way to St. Vitus Cathedral on the hill. In other words, the Royal procession started here.

If you look up and down the facade of the tower, you will find that it has a striking resemblance to the tower at Charles Bridge. That’s because this Powder Gate took its inspiration from it.

The Powder Tower was built in the late 15th century when Gothic architecture became less popular.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Prague’s Dancing House – Keep Calm and Wander

Prague's Dancing House - Keep Calm and Wander

This Dancing House in Prague is in every tourist guidebook of the city. However, I really have mixed feelings about listing it as a tourist attraction. Alright, it’s different, eh? It’s not the usual building you can find in Prague, but, ok, it’s….unique? 

Now, let’s take a closer look at this piece of architecture.

The glass tower is certainly the woman in the dancing duo, right? And she’s obviously wearing a skirt! Isn’t she curvy? The stone tower on the right is, of course, the man. I wonder why the man only has a leg and the woman has six legs?

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Ecatepec and Its Colorful Houses – Keep Calm and Wander

Ecatepec and Its Colorful Houses - Keep Calm and Wander

A Mexicable ride through Ecatepec and its colorful houses on the hills was an experience to remember. It was also an interesting trip from the very start to the very end of our half-day excursion. 

Photos of Ecatepec’s colorful houses are all over the internet. Even before we arrived the Mexico City, Ecatepec was already in our itinerary. We just didn’t know how to get there yet. However, on our way to the Teotihuacan Pyramids, we passed along these colorful houses on the hills.

Ecatepec de Morelos: One of Mexico’s Dangerous Cities?

We asked our tour driver (to the Pyramids) on how we could go to Ecatepec. All we wanted was to ride the MexiCable, passing through those multi-colored houses. However, the look on his face perplexed us. He never had that question before, and as a tour bus driver, he never met anyone who was interested in visiting Ecatepec. Also, he warned us that it’s dangerous to visit the place for tourists. He strongly advised us not to go with our plan.

But, of course, we didn’t listen to him. We also asked our hotel receptionist on how to get there, but he was very adamant about letting us go there. Instead, he recommended a trusty driver to accompany us. We totally understood their worries – news of Ecatepec’s violence is not hidden online. “It is a slum where the poorest of the poor lives,” says the receptionist. The slum is also dubbed as one of “Mexico City’s most dangerous cities.” We read and knew all of these, of course. And it piqued our curiosity.

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Mexico City Gay Travel Resources

Mexico City’s Teotihuacan Pyramids – Keep Calm and Wander

Teotihuacan Pyramids - Keep Calm and Wander

The massive Teotihuacan Pyramids lie 40 kilometers outside Mexico City. Two of its biggest pyramids here are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. The former, however, is bigger than the latter. It doesn’t matter which one you explore first – but in our case, we chose the Sun Pyramid first.

How to Get to Teotihuacan Pyramids

There are three ways to get to Teotihuacan Pyramids. The easiest one is via a one-day tour that your hotel/hostel organized. This is what we did because we liked the tour itinerary that included Palacio de Ituberde, Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, and a local handicraft (you don’t have to buy). Our last stop was the Pyramids, of course, and we were allowed to stay there close to 4 hours on our own! There was no planning and sweat on our part. TripAdvisor has some recommended tours.

The other way to get there is to take a taxi if you can afford it. This is the quickest way to get there but nothing educational happens on the road. Unless, of course, you will hire a private car with the tour guide as your driver, too. 

It is also possible to get to Teotihuacan by public transport. All you have to do is take a metro (line 5) and get off at Terminal Central del Norte. From there, buy your ticket and find the bus that says, “Piramides.” The bus will drop you off at Gate 1. Buy your ticket before you enter or else you’ll regret going back. It’s a long way from here to the Pyramids. So, pack water, a hat, and sunscreen! If you choose this mode of going there, make sure to start early.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Mexico City Gay Travel Resources

Berlin’s Charlottenburg Palace – Keep Calm and Wander

Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace - Keep Calm and Wander

There is no doubt that Charlottenburg Palace is the most splendid in Berlin. I’m not sure how many palaces the city has, but if there’s one palace that you must go in, this should be it.

The Baroque and Rococo facade of the palace tells of its former glory. Its history dates back to the Hohenzollern Family, a royal dynasty. Built towards the end of the 17th century, Charlottenburg Palace and its surrounding area were named after the first Queen, Sophie Charlotte, the first consort of Prussia.

Charlotte was a voracious lover of the arts. The “Court of the Muses” inside the palace hosted philosophers, poets, musicians, and other artists.

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Germany Gay Travel Resources

Slovakia’s President Lives Here – Keep Calm and Wander

Slovakia's President Lives Here - Keep Calm and Wander

The President of Slovakia lives here – at the Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava. I was surprised that the surroundings were not heavily-guarded with Presidential guardians. It was early June when I was there – and boy, it was quiet!

As you can see in the photos below, I was the only tourist roaming around. It’s so different from Presidential residences I’ve been to – like the White House in the USA, 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Canada, or at 10 Downing Street in London.

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Pnyx Hill in Athens – Keep Calm and Wander

Pnyx Hill in Athens - Keep Calm and Wander

Pnyx Hill in Athens is not your ordinary hill. It may just be another hill in the city but this was once where citizens congregate to talk about and vote on issues that mattered to them. 

Yes, democracy was born here! When power was transferred to the people, they held assemblies here to discuss reforms.

The hill is overlooking the ancient Agora, once a thriving center for business and commerce of ancient Athens. The Parthenon or the Acropolis is very visible at a far distance. It’s only less than a mile.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Athens Gay Travel Resources

Walking Gay Vienna – Keep Calm and Wander

Walking Gay Vienna - Keep Calm and Wander

Here’s my own walking tour of gay Vienna – using the map I picked up at the tourism office at the train station. If you are arriving by train, don’t forget to drop by the tourism office and ask what you could do for a day or three in the city. The nice lady recommended and handed me a map of a two-hour walking tour. She patiently answered my questions and even gave a few coupons I could use. But, of course, I didn’t depend on the map alone. I had help from Google maps, too. 😉

I recommend that before you embark on your own walking tour, make sure to find these places in order. It will save you time, especially if you are not good at reading maps – like me. 😀

Vienna State Opera House

There is no better place to start my walking tour but here on a Saturday morning. This is not just a historical Rennaissance building, but this is the center of Austrian arts. Waltz originated in Vienna and world-renowned composers, like Mozart and Beethoven, found their homes here.

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Vienna Gay Travel Resources

Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon in Athens – Keep Calm and Wander

Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon in Athens - Keep Calm and Wander

The Temple of Poseidon in Sounion is where you should spend your sunset viewing outside Athens. It takes an hour to get there by bus from the Greek capital, but it’s all worth the hassle. 

Homer, the well-known Greek writer, was the first one to record Sounion in “The Odyssey” as the “sacred cape of the Athenians.” 

Herodotus, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and Thucydides all mentioned the Temple of Poseidon in their stories and poetries. 

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Athens Gay Travel Resources

Guadalajara Frescoes – Keep Calm and Wander

Guadalajara Frescoes - Keep Calm and Wander

These frescoes at the Government Palace in Guadalajara (Mexico) are some of the best I’ve seen. Well, I haven’t seen many, but I could name the Top 3 frescoes that blew my mind away. They’re the ones that made me dumbfounded while staring at their magnificent details. They are: Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgement”, Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry Murals” and José Clemente Orozco’s “The People and Its Leaders.”

Guadalajara Frescoes

One of the most noticeable details of José Clemente Orozco’s fresco is his dark interpretation of the revolution. While Diego Rivera saw the revolution as a good thing, Orozco saw it in a different way. This particular mural will leave you speechless. The more you stare at it, the more it gets creepy. At least, that’s what I felt.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Guadalajara Gay Travel Resources