RECIPE: Italian Cassata Cake – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 11th, 2018

Italian Cassata Cake - The Nomadic Boys

Cassata Siciliana is a delicious sponge cake, which originated from the island of Sicily in Italy. It is one of our favourite Italian desserts and so easy to make.

A cassata is a round sponge cake, which is moistened with fruit juices or liqueur, then layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. Like the Uruguayan chaja, a cassata is not too complicated to make, though if you’re rushed for time, you can of course order it via an online cake delivery. For us, the best is always baked at home, especially recipes like Jamie’s rolled cassata or by the BBC.

Our recipe for Sicilian cassata serves around 15 people. Preparation time should take no more than 30 minutes and total baking time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Sicily Gay Travel Resources

 

La Martellina B&B – Gay Friendly Tuscan B&B

Author: , November 7th, 2018

La Martellina B&B

Romantic B & B in an ancient 13th century mill, near Florence, Tuscany.

Only 7 km from the center of Florence, the old mill of the thirteenth century, spends quiet days on the banks of the Arno. Only the background murmur of the river you whisper in the ears! Located near a small village is completely surrounded by green countryside.

A lovely garden and a hearty breakfast awaits you in the morning and let you enjoy a pleasant stay, will offer you a pleasant break of tranquility and a lovely small swimming pool, after the day visiting monuments and museums that in summer can be very tiring.

The 4 rooms, bathrooms and a common hall occupy a wing that is completely reserved to guests, and are decorated carefully selecting furniture and furnishings to accentuate the unique character. The rooms are equipped with a refrigerator and television with satellite-dish television.

See the La Martellina B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

 

Queer Venice for Families – 2TravelDads

Author: , October 26th, 2018

queer venice - 2traveldads

When you live in the United States and you think about taking a trip to Europe, your mind darts so quickly from place to place and you start to create an enormous to-do list of sights and experiences you MUST cross off. Venice, Italy is at the top for everybody, I swear, and rightly so. But today you hear stories from everybody who visits of being over-run by tourists and walking through narrow streets in single file lines. Not cool. But we know how to enjoy a stress-free trip to Venice and now you can too.

Known as “la Serenissima”, the most serene, Venice is chalked full of history and beauty. It’s calm and peaceful in the wee hours, and yet it’s crazy and crowded with tourists in the daytime and around famous landmarks. Our method of exploring and tips are sure to help you have a relaxing and unforgettable trip to Venice.

Living on the west coast of the USA, the oldest structures we have anywhere are barely 150 years old, so immediately any fascinating architecture must go on the travel list. And then there is art. In the Seattle area we are inundated with local art (subjects of orca whales, boats, produce, modernism…), so the chance to visit every single museum filled with historic pieces in every city cannot be missed. But here’s some real talk: if you want to enjoy Venice stress free, let yourself be okay with not visiting every single museum.

Oh, and food. I can’t even begin to talk about that, so our friend Kavita will tackle that for us over on her blog. The best food in Venice should be left to the experts. My only thing to say about the food in Venice is that their preparation of seafood is unique in comparison with other places in Italy and at least one meal in Venice needs to be local seafood dishes.

You could say that Venice is a foot traffic nightmare, and you wouldn’t be lying, but that doesn’t mean it has to cause anxiety. Stress free Venice is all about letting the city lead you to the best experiences for YOU.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Venice Gay Travel Resources

 

Sailing In Gay Sardinia And Corsica – DJ Yabis

Author: , October 19th, 2018

Gay Sardinia - DJ Yabis

Sardinia and Corsica have some of the dreamiest beaches and coastlines In Europe. Yes the sand is really that white, and the sea the bluest blue. Imagine dropping anchor in Costa Smeralda, a jumble of fjord-like inlets and coasts of frost-white sand, and exploring the Sardinian coast at its most idyllic. Or imagine strolling in Corsican villages with their stony ramparts at their most captivating at dusk on a warm summer evening.

You get to experience all of this and more on a sailing trip to these beautiful islands. As most of you who follow the blog know I’m a beach person and there’s nothing that could make me any happier than being in the water. Imagine my excitement when I was finally able to go on a sailing trip for a week. Sailing is definitely an experience you have to try at least once in your travels in Europe.

The Yacht-Sharing Experience

We sailed with Miaplacidus sailing yacht through Intersailclub. IntersailClub is a yacht-sharing concept which makes sailing much more affordable. It’s like the Airbnb of yacht sailing because you can just rent a cabin and share the whole yacht with other people instead of paying for the whole yacht. They also call this concept as cabin charter in sailing lingo.

Renting a yacht that comes with a crew for 1 week can easily cost you from 5,000-20,000 euros for a week depending on how big the yacht is. With IntersailClub, you can book a cabin or a bed in a yacht from 700-1,000 euros for a week and they’ll take care of everything! You’re welcome.

By DJ Yabis – Full Story at DreamEuroTrip

Sardinia Gay Travel Resources

 

Gay Friendly Venice Hotels – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 18th, 2018

Gay Friendly Venice Hotels - The Nomadic Boys

Venice will always have a special place in the Nomadic Boys’ hearts. It was where we celebrated one of our earlier anniversaries together as a young gay couple, visiting for a romantic weekend. And boy did we love it!

This is the place where you will want to profess your love to your significant other, on a cheesy gondola ride through the picture perfect canals, marvelling at the same buildings James Bond was blowing up in “Casino Royale“.

You can’t beat gay friendly Venice for its charm. It’s world famous for good reason, which is why we chose to spend our first anniversary here. When researching, we stumbled on several gay friendly places to stay both in the city, and around. When choosing where to stay in Venice, it’s also worth considering the area outside the city as there are more options for gay bars and clubs in Padua and Verona than in Venice itself.

Villa Gasparini: unique Venetian villa

This is one of those hidden gems you’ll want to check out. It’s actually located just outside the built up Venice island area in “Dolo”, around 30 minutes by bus. It is a gorgeous Venetian villa, recently refurbished, with just 15 rooms, some with a private Jacuzzi. We particularly love that they have special packages for LGBTQ travellers.

The reason we recommend this for gay travellers to Venice is because from our experience, Venice as beautiful as it is, lacks any gay hangouts. It is city mainly filled with hotels, museums, gorgeous buildings etc, but lacks much local life. For the best gay nightlife when visiting Venice, you’ll want to head to either Padua or Verona, which Villa Gasparini is located near to. Therefore, staying here is ideal for not only being close to the touristic highlights in Venice, but also being close to the best gay hangouts that LGBTQ locals go to like Anima + Hot Dog Club in Padua + Lucla and Romeo’s Club in Verona.

By Stefan Arstis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Venice Gay Travel Resources

 

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

 

More From the Dolomites – Dolly Goolsby

Author: , September 19th, 2018

Good evening, all,

We had another adventure on the mountains this morning. Today, the weather was quite different from yesterday. There was a cloud cover and it was pretty breezy and chilly, once we got up to Compatsch. I took it easy today, only taking a cable car up to Puflatsch and back again. However, the view from up there made me so happy just to be up in those mountains.

However, after I had some coffee at the restaurant, I walked out and looked toward the west. I love this view, for you can see across the top of Italy, into Austria. If there weren’t any clouds, I believe you could see to Switzerland.

The kids weren’t deterred by the weather. They took the Trail of the Witches, up to the Witches’ Benches, following the path that overlooks the valley and the villages down below.

I have never seen fuzzy cattle before. After I saw the picture, I knew I would have to make that hike myself, just to see these guys up close. Mama cow has already shed her winter coat, by rubbing it off on the trees. I think she is trying to help her baby get that old stuff off. Mama really needs to get her bangs cut.

My way of relaxing is just to view this peaceful valley with the grand mountains in the background. Although I did not hike today, I found my happy place where I could simply absorb the beauty of the Alpe di Suisi meadow.

Tomorrow will be another day for exploring up on the Alpe di Suisi. I will write more about that after we get back from that adventure.

I hope you are enjoying the Dolomites with us.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Trentino Alto-Adige Gay Travel Resources

Bolzano – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Bolzano - Dolly Travels

Good evening,

I finally have time to sit and write. We have been in Bolzano since yesterday afternoon, and it seems we have been going non-stop since we arrived.

We had a long train trip from Vernazza to Bolzano. If you look at a map of Italy, you will see that we came from the Ligurian Coast to northern Italy, to the gateway to the Dolomites. Actually, I have to admit, our train trip wasn’t so bad. We got a medium high speed train, the Frecciaargento from La Spezia to Florence, taking only and hour and a half, versus the usual 3 hours on a regional train. We had to wait about an hour in Florence, then we got another Frecciaargento train direct to Bolzano, a little over three hours.

Our hotel, Hotel Feichter, is located about four blocks from the train station, near the center of town. We got checked in, then took a walking tour of the town. It is a lovely Austrian-looking town, and of course, as we walked, we did not hear Italian being spoken anymore; the primary language here is German. Everything is so clean and neat. We walked down one street that had a covered portico to shield us from the sun. The shops were pretty upscale, but we weren’t shopping, we were just strolling.

Of course, for me, the biggest draw to Bolzano, is that this city is the gateway to the Dolomites. From the walkway in front of my room, I can see the stark Dolomite mountains. They are calling me.

Last evening, we walked again, and had not really decided where to have dinner. There was a big black cloud hovering over the western edge of the city. I told the kids that our dinner destination would be determined by what that cloud did. Interesting enough, we were just a few steps from a brew pub when the first fat rain drops started to fall, and within minutes, everyone was scrambling to get out of the rain.

We made it into the pub, got seated and enjoyed a traditional Austrian type dinner.

Of course, Danny had a beer with his dinner. After all, he had to try the locally-made brew.

After dinner, the rain had stopped, so we were able to walk home without getting soaked. However, about an hour after we got back to the hotel, we were treated to one of the most spectacular lightning and thunder shows that I have ever seen, complete with pouring down rain. It was so incredible, I had to open my window and watch the show. Heather and Danny told me that they went out onto the walkway in front of our rooms to watch it. What a fantastic treat…one we could enjoy from the comfort of our rooms.

Today, we visited the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, where we saw the displays focused on Ötzi, the Ice Man: an intact body of a man that was found high in the mountains between Austria and Italy in 1991. He has now been determined to be between 5,100 and 5,300 years old.

Later, we took a gondola up to the town of Oberbozen, a small resort town in the hills above Bolzano.

Tonight, we walked through some small streets, finally settling on one small restaurant for our dinner.

I do enjoy being in Bolzano, for it is an interesting city. There is a university here; it is the largest city in the northern part of Italy. There are many shops, eateries, plus parks and places to relax. Staying here is always a pleasure.

We will leave here in the morning, and take a bus for the one hour ride to Castelrotto, where we will spend four days, hopefully hiking and enjoying the outdoors in the clean Alpine air. For me, just being in the Dolomites makes me happy.

I will try to write a blog post within a day or two. It is hard to believe that this vacation is drawing to a close. What wonderful memories we will have to take home with us.

Arrivederci,
Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Trentino-Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources Gay Travel Resources

Vernazza: Beauty, Disaster and Recovery – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 10th, 2018

Vernazza - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

We started our morning at the Il Pirata Bar at the top of the town. This restaurant has the best pastries; all are made on the premises. Their reputation has made this small place such a popular breakfast place, that one must get there early to get a table.

While we were enjoying our delicious pastries, we began talking with the couple who sat next to us. By the end of our breakfast we were best friends. We had such a good time with them. We discussed our plans for the day, and before we knew it, we had learned far more about each other than I know about my next door neighbors at home.

Soon, though, we all went our separate ways. I love the way that travel allows me to meet such interesting people as I go along.

The kids had their own plans for the day, so here I am, telling you about my day.

I am sitting at the Ananasso Bar again. Lest you think that I might do this too often, this bar sits right at the harbor’s edge. From here, I can look out at the little cove, where people are swimming. I can see the boats in the harbor and look beyond to the town of Monterosso. Over to my left and closer to the harbor is the good pizza restaurant that we visited yesterday. So, you see, my perch here, for the price of a drink, is perfect.

Today, I went for a walk up through town, past the Il Pirata Ristorante, where we had breakfast this morning. I walked up the road while following the little stream that starts somewhere up above, then flows down through the town. I remembered well, the deluge of October, 2011, where the rains came down so hard and for such a long time, that the mountains washed down into that stream, pushing homes, cars and anything in its path, into that stream, until the town was flooded with mud, debris up to the second story of the buildings.

Today, as I walked through the town, seven years after that disaster, I felt that the people of Vernazza have made a remarkable recovery. Although reconstruction is still going on in some areas: rock walls are being rebuilt, some facades of buildings still need to be repaired, life goes on as before.

As I sit here, watching the tourists, I wonder how many of them know the calamity that besieged the town those years before. I watch the people that work in the shops and the restaurants; I see them wait on the customers, and they are so kind, so patient. They are indeed lovely people.

Vernazza is one of the five villages in a unique area. During the day, the little town is filled with tourists. Many people come here to hike the trails between the villages. I honestly don’t know why the cruise ship passengers come here. When those cruise ships unload their tenders, the town is immediately flooded with up to five hundred extra people; more than the town can comfortable accommodate.

However, when evening comes; the town settles down and becomes an almost-quiet village. The people of Vernazza are resilient. They have rebuilt their town and life goes on in this little city as if the disaster never occurred.

My point in writing this blog post is to remind all of us, that no matter what life hands us, we have the choice to adapt, rebuild, and get on with things, or curl up and admit defeat. I want to pattern my life after the citizens of Vernazza: there is always light at the end of the tunnel, if I choose to follow it. Or I can let the small disasters get me down.

I am inspired by the people of the town of Vernazza.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Vernazza Gay Travel Resources

5 Interesting Facts about the Doge’s Palace in Venice – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 8th, 2018

Doge's Palace - Keep Calm and Wander

If anything that strikes our minds after hearing the name “Italy”, it is definitely Venice – a city where everything is shrouded in romance and intrigue. Doge’s Palace, in particular, is one of those places.

Here are some interesting facts about it.

1. It exhibits Gothic Architecture

The architectural exuberance of the palace is the first thing that meets the eyes of an onlooker. The building is purely gothic; however, there is a huge influence of the Venetian art; thus, making it Venetian Gothic style.

2. The “White House” in its heyday

This palace was the central government building at its peak time. “Doge of Venice” or the ruler used to live here with his family for his lifetime.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Venice Gay Travel Resources