Udon Thani’s Red Lotus Sea – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , November 16th, 2018

Red Lotus Sea - Once Upon a Journey

YES! Thailand still has hidden gems only a few (western) tourists know about. Talay Bua Daeng – or Red Lotus Sea – in Northeast Thailand is one of those gems and it’s definitely one for the bucket list. CNN named it one of the world strangest lakes in 2014 and well, it’s not a lake you see every day – for sure.

Imagine a lake with thousands of pink flowers, spreading as far as the eye can see!

Getting on the lake by boat is one of the most romantic experiences we’ve ever done. And Valentine’s is actually the perfect time to visit: the red lotuses only bloom a couple of months each year. But that makes the experience the more special. It is quite off the famous routes through Thailand though, but no worries: we will tell you everything you need to know about visiting this magical pink lake.

The season for the pink flowers to bloom is from December to the end of February, just after the rainy season. When you visit, make sure to go early in the morning. From sunrise to noon you can see the water lilies opened up: they open when they see the first morning light and close when the midday heat comes.

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

 

Lesbian Edinburgh in 3 Days – Go Girlfriend

Author: , November 2nd, 2018

Lesbian Edinburgh - pixabay

Edinburgh (pronounced Edin-borough, not Edin-burrr), Scotland – the name for me conjures a mental image of a turbulent medieval history with stone fortresses, ancient battles and has it’s roots easily dating back to pre-Norse and Roman expansion. Kings, Queens and historic nobility have crowned Edinburgh as Scotland’s capital on the notable bay of the Firth of Forth and shops on the Royal Mile have made their mark evolving Edinburgh into a modern city rich in it’s arts, sciences, and cultural offerings.

The Royal Mile is Edinburgh’s tourist gem – the mile-long stretch of markets, shops and restaurants that tempt tourists as they explore grand Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock at one end and the Palace of Holyroodhouse aside majestic Arthurs Seat and the Salisbury Crags at the other end. To catch the flavor of what Scotland has to offer, Edinburgh is where you begin.

Since Scotland is such a wonderous country offering spectacular scenic vistas, vibrant castle-icious lochs and Scottish clans and their kilts, Edinburgh wraps all of these up to give you just a taste of what’s in store across it’s moory lands. Here’s Edinburgh in a 3-day weekend …

How to Explore Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in 3 days
Book your accommodations (or an Airbnb on the Royal Mile) and get set to see the highlights in 3 days.

Day 1 – Get acquainted with the Royal Mile

Hop On, Hop Off Bus (Edinburgh Tours) – you’ve arrived in Edinburgh, stepped on to the cobble-stoned Royal Mile (almost being hit by a passing bus if you’re touring on the Royal Mile from North America as you look the wrong way stepping off the curb!) and are overwhelmed with the options both right and left. Our recommendation is to head down to the Waverley Station bridge and get a ticket for one of Edinburgh’s Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours. For £15 (British Pounds) per adult you get a 24-hour pass and guided CitySightSeeing Tour of the Royal Mile’s highlights to get your bearings and determine what you want to include in your explorations. See something right away you want to explore, hop off at the next stop, explore and resume your CitySightSeeing Tour. If you’d like a broader view of greater Edinburgh, consider the Edinburgh Tour, the Majestic Tour or the 3 Bridges Tour.

By Stacy Rosien at Go Girlfriend – Day One

By Stacy Rosien at Go Girlfriend – Day Two

By Stacy Rosien at Go Girlfriend – Day Three

Edinburgh Gay Travel Resources

 

Instagram Almost Ruined Horseshoe Bend – Free Wheel Drove

Author: , November 1st, 2018

Horseshoe Bend

Located outside Page, Arizona on the borders of Coconino and Navajo counties is the awesome landscape feature, Horseshoe Bend. Here the mighty Colorado River continues to cut through the land and has created a near perfect horseshoe shaped bend in the river.

From the parking lot it is only a .75 mile walk to the lookout area. Its a steady climb up and the bend isn’t visible until you reach the overlook’s edge. It’s free to visit and easy to access.

After spending most of the day in the Grand Canyon we didn’t arrive to Horseshoe Bend until nightfall. Laura was pumped for a chance at taking a photo with a good sunset. However, upon approaching the overlook we were met with hundreds of people. The whole area above the bend was crawling with people, wedding couples getting engagement photos, and drones. It was a nightmare. An hour before sunset the best spot for viewing the bend was already packed with people and their tripods. We had to tuck into a small spot off to the side to get a decent photo of the bend at sunset.

For those who don’t have Instagram, you may have never seen a photo or even heard of Horseshoe Bend. Well, thanks to a few popular people and social media this landscape has become a tourist hot spot galore. Several tourist buses stop through out the day and the parking lot is packed from sun up to sundown. There are scantily clad “models” posing like ballerinas on the cliff edges. We saw a wedding party complete with a bride in gown getting their photos taken here. One drone noisily buzzed above the crowd. We kind of knew it was going to be busy, we didn’t think it would be this busy. At least, we planned to stay the night and would be better prepared for sunrise.

The Lake Powell Recreation Area manages the “bend” and they are starting to put in better infrastructure to handle the crowds, including a deck with a railing near the overlook. As long as social media stays popular this place seems like it will remain popular.

By Laura – Full Story at free Wheel Drive

Northern Arizona Gay Travel Resources

 

How Queer Friendly is the Netherlands?

Author: , October 25th, 2018

Queer Netherlands - Once Upon a Journey

Travelling nowadays seems like the ultimate dream. We’re living that dream, and it is an absolute fairy tale! But, travelling the world as an LGBT traveller isn’t as easy as packing your bags and go. We have travelled to countries with anti-gay laws and we refuse to boycott countries for that reason. We believe travelling the world is for everyone! However, it’s important to do it safely. A few important questions to keep in mind before flying to a new destination: what are the LGBT+ rights? What’s the public opinion like? Where are the LGBT+ safe spaces? In our “How LGBT friendly is…” series we’ll share all so you have fewer worries and more fun on your travels! In this blog post, we answer all those questions about the Netherlands. How LGBT friendly is the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is often referred to as one of the most LGBT friendly destinations in the world (ranking #9 of Spartacus Gay Index 2018). Therefore it isn’t weird that LGBT rights in the Netherlands have been some of the most progressive in the world. The Netherlands is home to the world’s oldest existing LGBT organisation: COC Nederland, an organisation that has been fighting for LGBTI rights nationally and internationally since 1946.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage. Registered partnerships between same-sex couples are allowed since 1998. Same-sex couples may adopt together and lesbian couples have access to IVF. There are anti-discrimination laws since 1994 that ban discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. From 1985, transgender people can legally change their gender when undergoing surgery and hormone therapy and since 2014 without undergoing surgery and hormone therapy. It’s possible, from 1970, to state “sex cannot be determined” on a birth certificate. This year, the Dutch court has ruled that a third gender must be recognised, adding a neutral option to the ‘male’ and ‘female’ gendered boxes. Overall, the Netherlands has great LGBT laws and keeps working on them!

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

Netherlands Gay Travel Resources

See the Grand Canyon in Two Days! – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , October 24th, 2018

Grand Canyon - Free Wheel Drive

The Grand Canyon is in Northern Arizona just north of Flagstaff. This park is massive and beautiful and it houses one of the most amazing wonders of the world. We only had two full days to spend at the park, so we packed in as much as we could. The weather was chilly with patches of rain, but we had a blast exploring the Grand Canyon National Park!

We stuck to the South Rim area, the most popular area. The South Rim has the hotels, large visitor center, and a shuttle system to help one get around. We asked around for hiking recommendations and the two trials that had a lot of feed back were The Bright Angle and South Kaibob Trails.With the weather being a little chilly and potential for rain we figured it was a good idea to have places to hang out inside. For it being our first time at the Grand Canyon the South Rim is a great place to start.

When driving North towards the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, you’ll spot Humphrey’s peak over Flagstaff. Arizona’s tallest peak. As we entered the Flagstaff area the barren landscape of shrubs and badlands turns to pine trees and snow.

We first arrived at the park late in the afternoon. This was a chance for us to find our way around, figure out our to do list, and get our first glimpse of the canyon.

By Laura Dierbeck – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Arizona Lesbian Travel Resources

 

Exploring the Baja Peninsula – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , October 21st, 2018

Baja, Mexico - Free Wheel Drive

Leaving Tucson we had a few days of easy driving ahead of us to reach Baja California. With no strict timetable, we were free to take in a couple roadside attractions. A gas station had some nice bathrooms and, of course, giant dinosaur sculptures. And you can rent a flying saucer retrieval truck. Who knew?

We decided to cross the Mexican border in Tecate over Tijuana because we heard it’s not as busy and it’s a much nicer city. The internet didn’t lie! Also, it’s home to the Tecate brewery which is a cornerstone of the city’s economy the same way Miller is for Milwaukee. Nothing makes us happier than driving through a beer town.

So we just ended up in Mexico. We took the “nothing to declare” line and it was too easy! Nobody even checked our car or searched us. We had to walk around the block to find the Instituto Nacional de Migración or INM so we could get our FMM or tourist Visas. A lot of people forget this step which can cause you some issues if they ask for it at a Military checkpoint. You’re better off driving in the line for declaring things so you can fill it out in your car. Our Spanish was terrible so we didn’t get any photos in the INM because we were so nervous. The INM officer helping us with our paperwork who was just as bad at English as we were at Spanish offered to sell us some hot sauce which we politely declined. You actually have to walk out of the INM office partway through the process to the banqometer booth so that you can pay for your visa (500 pesos each or about $24) and then bring back the receipt to show the INM officer which gets stapled Now off to drive the Baja Penninsula!

By Camrin La Fond – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Baja Sur Lesbian Travel Resources

 

Toronto Island – Go Girlfriend

Author: , October 19th, 2018

Toronto Island - Go Girlfriend

The multi-cultural megacity of Toronto, Ontario, Canada can boast a wooded, rural, non-hectic getaway gem just a short ferry ride into Lake Ontario – think New York City with it’s Central Park, but in Toronto, with beaches. While only 300 ft into Lake Ontario with no bridge link, the island’s charm and non-commercialism is a relaxing respite from Toronto’s high rises and city center just a short distance away.

Take a picnic, put on your bathing suit (or take it off at the one of a few of Canada’s official Clothing Optional beaches), rent a tandem bike or family quadracycle or stroll the miles of walking trails in the wooded greenery bird-watching, swimming in Lake Ontario, or exploring Centreville Theme Park. On a summer’s afternoon, there’s a full day of activities to keep yourself and your family busy!

Getting to the Toronto Islands by Ferry is the easy part (it’s a relaxing 15-minute ferry ride), getting into the downtown core to park may be the challenge. Public transit is best if you live in or near Toronto, but for those outside the city, there is ample parking available at the numerous lots (especially on weekends) near the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Expect about $20 for the day’s parking.

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Toronto Gay Travel Resources

 

Tombstone & the Saguaro National Park – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , October 18th, 2018

Tombstone

After our stay at the Mushroom Farm, we made our way to Tucson which also happens to be next door to Saguaro National Park. The short drive North took us through a very dry landscape. The earth is a dull brown, the horizon is unclear in a haze of dust, and the sky is a bright blue with no clouds in sight. The rolling hills and mountains in the distance break up the monotony of the desert. The highlight of this drive is stopping and seeing the tourist trap, Tombstone.

Tombstone was one of the last frontier towns of the West that boomed when silver was discovered nearby. At the height of the town’s popularity in the late 1800’s about 14,000 people lived here. The Gunfight at the O.K Corral was a shootout between outlaw cowboys and the town’s lawmen. It was a time when the West was a place of lawlessness and wildness. Today the town has a kept up the historic buildings, performs several reenactments, and is overall a trap for tourists.

We only stayed for about an hour. We ate some ice cream. Sadly, we didn’t stay for the reenactments.

By Camrin LaFond – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Southwest New Mexico Gay Travel Resources

 

Historic St. Augustine – Go Girlfriend

Author: , October 8th, 2018

Aviles Street, Historic St. Augustine - pixabay

Celebrating nearly 500 years as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United Sates, don’t be fooled by the age of this vibrant city. This abuela (grandmother) of american cities will surprise you with amazing restaurants, a vibrant city core, miles of beaches, a touch of sinfulness, and historic sites to explore that will turn back time.

As a getaway destination, there is more than a few days needed to experience the scope of St. Augustine’s richness. As a couple’s romantic destination, a girlfriend’s weekend retreat or a family beach vacation, a simple walk over the Bridge of Lions will tease excitement of what historic St. Augustine has to offer.

Where to Eat in St. Augustine

Good question? Would you like the old city or the more modern? Would you like seafood (fresh catches right from the ocean), farm to table freshness, or have a specific taste preference? I’m certain St. Augustine can satisfy it.

Catch 27 – deliciously delivering fresh seafood made from scratch with the freshest of locally sourced ingredients – what a treat! Try their cheese board as an appetiser with smoked blue cheese and drunken cherries, and any cocktail that features the distinctive St. Augustine gin.

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Northeastern Florida Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian New Orleans for Newbies – Go Girlfriend

Author: , October 5th, 2018

lesbian New Orleans - pixabay

Visiting lesbian New Orleans for the first time? Prioritize your agenda – lots of play, a good amount of eating and maybe a little sleep. From girlfriends exploring, bachelorette and bachelor parties, to couples wandering hand-in-hand looking for amour en Vieux Carre, the French Quarter is alive at all hours of the day or night.

Experienced Nola travelers pace themselves but it’s newbies get overwhelmed and enjoy some things a little too much (like Bourbon street after midnight) and completely miss the magic of other things (like beignets at Café du Monde). If you’re planning a trip to the Big Easy, pull up a chair and learn how to strategize your Nola travel time like a pro.

It’s no secret how Nawlins, also known as Mardi Gras City got its name – lavish celebrations, wee-hour partying and drunken rowdiness is just another day (or night) in this city. Bourbon Street captures more than its fair share of attention, but there’s so much more this city has to offer – historically, culturally and architecturally.

Whether you’re chasing bawdy carousing after dark or memorable moments with your lover, start your day with a beignet and chicory coffee at Café du Monde. The restaurant is always busy so we suggest using the to-go window and crossing the street to the quieter Jackson Square. From there, you’re ready to experience all the French Quarter has to offer…

By Julia Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Louisiana Gay Travel Resources