Hagia Sophia in Istanbul – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , October 8th, 2018

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - Keep Calm and Wander

Aya Sofia or Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is another must-visit attraction that would blow your mind away. It served as a Byzantine Cathedral from 537-1204; a Roman Cathedral until 1261; a Greek Orthodox Cathedral through 1453; an Ottoman mosque until 1931; and then, it became a museum which we enjoy until today.

I gasped when I visited the church turned mosque turned museum. It’s a mixture of historical and architectural wonders. It’s a wonderful blend of Roman, Ottoman, Islamic and Byzantine architectures – and I couldn’t help myself but gazed at every details of the interior that stood the test of history and war times. The towering dome is, in itself, a beauty that I’ve never seen anywhere – lightened up by its innumerable windows filtering the daylight.

Hagia Sophia is just across the famed Blue Mosque in Sultahnamet area of Istanbul. You can’t skip one in favour of the other. These two are inseparable tourists destinations that you must see – once in your lifetime!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Turkey Gay Travel Resources

 

Baptistery of Pisa – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 3rd, 2018

Baptistery of Pisa - Keep Calm and Wander

Located in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square), on the west coast of Italy, the Baptistery of Pisa forms one of the four buildings. In fact, it comes second in the chronological order, neighboring the Duomo di Pisa, the cathedral, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

It is an ecclesiastical building, and throughout history, it has played a keen role in the religious scene in Pisa. This actually shows in the multiple architectural veils that it is draped in. The lower side has arches and pillars that hint towards the Romanesque style, but the upper levels show a stark Gothic style with pointed figures and closely spaced pillars.

The entrance to the edifice is covered with ornate pillars and reliefs, in which the upper one depicts the life of Saint John and the middle one shows Christ flanked by Saint John and Madonna and surrounded by several angels.

The Baptistery of Pisa – Where Galileo Was Baptized

This baptistery is famous for its architecture and also for the following things.

1. The Acoustics: Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni Pisano have done an outstanding job by designing the interior that it facilitates reverberations or acoustics. Anyone standing below the edge of the dome can have his voice echoed. Every 30 minutes, one of the employees would sing loud to demonstrate the power of its acoustics.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Pisa Gay Travel Resources

Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott, Kansas – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , August 6th, 2018

Gordon Parks

As we travel around the country we are always interested in visiting the different museums. This week we found one that is extremely interesting. THE GORDON PARKS MUSEUM in Fort Scott, Kansas was founded in 2004. Gordon Parks, the famous photographer, filmmaker, musician and writer was born in Fort Scott in 1912. His journey with his camera took him all over the world.

He was the first African-American staff photographer for LIFE magazine for 20 years and his remarkable photographs many times were on their cover. He was the first African- American to direct a film for a major studio and his credits includes, The Learning Tree, Shaft, Leadbelly and others.

He wrote 20 books and composed music as well. He was truly a Renaissance man in every sense of the word. President Ronald Reagan presented him the National Medal of Arts Award in 1988. He lived most of his adult life in New York City.

Gordon Parks

Gordon ParksExecutive Director Jill Warford has truly done a remarkable job in creating this memorial/museum to this great man. Under her guidance this museum has turned into a national treasure. In all of our travels from coast to coast she is the most professional, friendly and articulate Director of any museum we have ever toured, and we have toured over 100 museums!

She knows the history of Gordon Parks explicitly and is a great tour guide. After the death of Gordon Parks in 2006,his personal effects were given to the Museum including awards and medals that he was given throughout his life, personal paintings, clothing, cameras and photographs, etc. They have dozens of his original photographs on display. The museum was able to obtain his ‘writing desk’.

His works can be found at the National Film Registry, the National Archives in Washington, D. C., the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C., Wichita Kansas State University as well as Kansas State University in Manhattan, Ks. If you are not familiar with him, check him out online.

The museum is open daily and is located on the campus of the Fort Scott Community College at 2108 South Horton. Their website is:  http://www.gordonparkscenter.org/ and you can call them for more details at 1.800.874.3722, Ext. 5850.

Their museum has the largest collection of his work in one place, where he was born and is now buried. Be SURE and read what he wrote about the town where he was born which is on his tombstone which he wrote 5 years before his death in 2006.

Gordon Parks“This small town into which I was born has for me, grown into the largest and most important city in the Universe. Fort Scott is not as tall or hearlded as New York, Paris or London – or other places my feet have roamed, but it is home. Surely, I remember the harsh days, the sordid bigotry and segregated schools – and indeed the graveyard for Black people, (where my beloved Mother and Father still rest beneath Kansas earth). But recently, the bitterness, that hung around for so many years seems to have asked for silence, for escape from the weariness of the ugly days past. Thankfully hatred is suddenly remaining quiet, keeping it’s mouth shut! And I’m thankful for the contentment we lost along the way. My hope now is that each of us can find What GOD put us here to find – LOVE! Let us have no more truck with the devil.”

And a BIG thanks to Director Jill Warford on doing such an outstanding job with the museum!

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 gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Kansas Gay Travel Resources

Pieta Rondanini, Michelangelo’s Unfinished Statue – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 9th, 2018

Pieta Rondanini - Keep Calm and WanderPieta Rondanini – Keep Calm and Wander

Pieta Rondanini is Michelangelo’s unfinished marble statue. Since 1952, Milan is a host to the master’s work. Today, you can find it at Museo Pieta Rondanini inside the Castello Sforzesco. When Michelangelo died in 1564, they found the sculpture at the artist’s workshop in Rome. Afterwards, the unfinished statue was missing for more than 200 years and reappeared in 1807 at Palazzo Rondanini.

And that’s how it gained its monicker: Pieta Rondanini.

As you can see, Mary is standing, supporting her son, Jesus, after he was taken down from the cross. The famed Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican has Mary sitting while looking down at his son bathed in blood.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Florence Gay Travel Resources

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , June 9th, 2018

crystal bridges front

We recently had the opportunity to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. It was founded by Alice Walton and designed by Moshe Safdie, who has created some of the most remarkable architectural structures in the world. Ms. Walton spent millions and millions and millions of dollars creating one of the finest Museums in the country. The Museum opened in 2011 and offers FREE ADMISSION!

Actually it is much more than just a Museum as it is really a “Museum Campus” with hiking trails and paths plus a sculptor garden outside. It has space for public functions as well as concerts. The Museum’s quality and it’s range and depth has placed it as one of the finest Museums of Art in the United States.

Examples of artists are: Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John LaFarge, Norman Rockwell, Mary McCleary, plus Charles Wilson Peale’s portrait of George Washington in addition to many more. Sculptor works are all over both inside the Museum as well as outside.

They have special exhibits from time to time so if you live near the Museum one needs to go back often. We know people in the Midwest that drive several hundred miles to visit the Museum several times a year.

This is truly a remarkable Museum and you really need to spend the entire day there. On site is a fabulous restaurant with not only interesting cuisine but a view of the scenic beauty to die for. The restaurant is named Eleven since the Museum officially opened on 11/11/11.

crystal bridges flwA few years ago they purchased a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the east coast and had it dismantled piece by piece and had it shipped to the Museum site and had it completely restored to perfection. It is of course on display for everyone to take a tour of. Truly incredible how that feat was accomplished but they did it. Taking a tour of the interior of a Frank Lloyd Wright house is something that one seldom gets to do.

Their website is https://crystalbridges.org/. Their hours are Saturday and Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM, Monday: 11 AM to 6 PM, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 11 AM to 9 PM. Their address is 600 Museum Way in Bentonville, Arkansas and you can call to get information at 479.418.5700. Over 3 Million visitors have been to the Museum since it opened and we can see why. People drive from all over the Midwest to visit this Museum as well as people flying in from coast to coast.

We want to thank Alice Walton for many things, but especially for creating this absolutely remarkable Museum and making it free to the public. We need more people like her in the world. We also want to thank Beth Bobbitt, Director of Public Relations for her generous and professional courtesy to us during our visit. In all of our travels from coast to coast we have never seen such hospitality, friendliness and professionalism as the staff and docents of this Museum.

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 gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , April 30th, 2018

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna - Keep Calm and Wander

I am an admirer of ancient art. And when I glance back at the time I spent in Mausoleo di Galla Placidia or the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, I feel that my thirst for the arts, especially the mosaic art, had been partly quenched.

To describe this small mesmerizing place, I’d go with what UNESCO has said about it: “It is the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect.”

1. It is still unknown what the building was built for

Surprisingly enough, by the looks of it, one would think that it is a chapel. The Byzantine mosaics dotted on the ceiling, the walls, and the floor say much about it pertaining to its role as a chapel. However, till date, no one quite knows what it was built for. I asked one of the men there about its story and he said that this building was built by Honorius’ sister Galla Placidia. Honorius was the Roman ruler at that time. Just like me, ahem, Galla Placidia also loved arts and crafts and, reportedly, she poured all of her love in creating the captivating mosaics lining the walls of this place. But more than her love for the arts, it seems that she built it as a mausoleum for her and her family.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Ravenna Gay Travel Resources

George Washington Carver National Monument and Museum – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , April 28th, 2018

George Washington Carver National Monument and Museum

George Washington Carver National Monument and MuseumJust 17 1/2 miles southwest of Joplin, Missouri in a very small town of Diamond, population of less than 1,000, is the George Washington Carver National Monument and Museum. Carver, a black American, was born in 1864 there and died in Tuskegee, Alabama on January in 1943.

Six months later the United States Congress designated the George Washington National Monument, the first park to honor an African American scientist, educator and humanitarian AND HE WAS “FAMILY”.

In her 2015 biography, Christina Vella reviews his relationships and “suggests that Carver was bisexual and constrained by mores of this historical period.” Carver is said to have enjoyed a very intimate relationship with his male assistant Austin W. Curtis Jr, a Cornell University graduate in chemistry who taught at a North Carolina College. This companionship, as it was seen at the time, helped Carver to continue working in his later years.

Carver was best known as the inventor of peanut butter but he was also a botanist, chemist, and inventor whose work revived the last 19th and early 20th century agricultural economy of the American South. He was born the son of slaves. He never knew his parents as his father died before he was born and his mother and his siblings were kidnapped during the Civil War and he never saw them again.

At a very early age, he knew that education was the only way to go. Later in life, he said, “A man can make a lot of money however another man can steal your money away, but another man can never steal your education.”

George Washington Carver National Monument and MuseumAfter going from school to school, he was finally accepted at a college in Kansas only to be told upon his arrival that because he was black, that he was not welcomed. That did not deter him and he did attend a college in Iowa and got both his Bachelors and Masters degree in Agriculture. Booker T. Washington, President of the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) hired him to head the Agriculture Department there. He stayed there for over 47 years until his death.

He invented over 300 uses for the peanut including peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut shampoo, salted peanuts, shredded peanuts, pecan flour, pomade, and peanut brittle, He taught methods of crop rotation, introduced several alternative cash crops for farmers that would improve the soil of areas heavily cultivated in cotton.

He was a highly sought after speaker all over the country and in England. He was given dozens of awards for his works. In 1921 he gave a captivating testimony before Congress on Agriculture. He inspired hundreds of both students as well as businessmen and farmers to understand what they could do.

George Washington Carver National Monument and MuseumCarver was also a gifted artist and some of his paintings and drawings are on display at the museum. He also enjoyed crocheting and a couple examples of those are also on display. Needless to say Carver had a very rough early life but he rose above it and became a truly great person.

TIME magazine called him the “Black Leonardo da Vinci” as he was such a Renaissance man. And this all started with him in the 1800’s! And people today complain about having problems! Carver MADE his life as he wanted to. Sure he had setbacks but that did not stop him. Guess the old adage, “Never, never, never, never give up” rings true.

Learn more about George Washington Carver by viewing this movie: https://www.nps.gov/gwca/learn/photosmultimedia/multimedia.htm

The website for his National Monument is https://www.nps.gov/gwca/index.htm

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 gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Missouri Gay Travel Resources

Five Great London Museums – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , April 12th, 2018

London Museums - Keep Calm and Wander

Paying nothing to enter almost all galleries / museums in London is one of the best things about living in the city. They’re yours to see, admire and love. After visiting these 5 museums / galleries, I must say that nothing can be better than treading the floors of these destinations in a pursuit to have a rendezvous with some of the world-famous collections. Perhaps, if you’re living in this amazing city, going into these galleries (remember, it’s free!) is the best way to kill time.

1. Tate Modern

Situated along the South Bank, and opened in 2000, the Tate Modern houses some of the most spectacular ancient exhibits like that of the Pablo Picasso’s “Figure dans un Fauteuil”. I know it’s hard to pronounce, but let me tell you, it is a one-of-its-kind spectacle. All of the shapes forming the perfectly distressed image is more than worthy of everyone’s eyes. This is not all, however. The art gallery also has art relics from the time of Piet Mondrian, and particularly, his “Composition C” is a big eye-catcher. These are the permanent instalments of the gallery among other absorbing art pieces dotted along the walls of the gallery.

And most of all, when you’re done exploring the collections, go upstairs and enjoy a glass of wine and the view.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Keep Calm and Wander Gay Travel Resources

The Evel Knievel Museum – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , April 6th, 2018

Evel Knievel Museum

Evel Knievel MuseumSmaller cities and towns can have the most interesting and unusual Museums. We recently visited the Evel Knievel at the Historic Harley- Davidson Complex in Topeka, Kansas. Was Evel Knievel born in Topeka, Kansas? He was not. Did he ever perform in Topeka, Kansas? He did not. Apparently the closest that he ever came to Topeka was when he flew over in an airplane flying from one coast to the other.

However that did not stop the Harley-Davidson Company from opening a museum for him there in one of the most iconic and historical Harley Davidson stores around and it is in the middle of the country. The museum is connected to the store.

Evel Knievel Museum

Evel Knievel was born in 1938 and was a stuntman and performer and made dozens of ‘jumps’ with his motorcycles all around the country. He had thousands of people who would pay to watch him make these historic jumps. He broke and fractured 433 bones in his body which was list in the World Book of Records. His last successful jump was in 1977. He died in 2007 after a lot of health issues.

Evel Knievel Museum

The Museum has a huge collection of memorabilia concerning Evel including his motorcycles, helmets, his jackets and costumes, photos, newspaper clippings, posters, etc. BIG RED was his semi-truck which was converted to a living quarters with a room in the rear for his motorcycles. His custom built 1974 Cadillac Pickup is there for all to view.

You can actually sit on a motorcycle and take a ‘virtual reality ride, wearing a helmet and letting the wind blow thru you with a movie screen directly in front of you as you jump over a lot of cars. It really is quite scary but worth the experience. His great quote was, “Anybody can jump a motorcycle. The trouble begins when you try to land it. ”

Before visiting the Evel Knievel Museum be sure and visit their website at  http://evelknievelmuseum.com/  They are located at 2047 S.W. Topeka Blvd. in Topeka, Kansas, just a few blocks from downtown Topeka. Their phone number is 785.215.6205. Their hours are Tuesday -Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM , Saturdays from 9 AM to 5 PM and closed on Sunday and Monday. You can email them at hello@evelknievelmuseum.org.

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 gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Kansas Gay Travel Resources

Oscar Wilde Tours – New York Gay Tour Operator

Author: , March 17th, 2018

Oscar Wilde Tours

Luxury guided tours focused on gay history. Exclusive experiences, including visits to places normally closed to the public and lectures by prominent gay authors and performers. Our 2014 tour follows Oscar Wilde’s life from Dublin to Paris. Gay Italy in 2015, Greece in 2016.

Oscar Wilde’s London and Paris 2018 – England, London: The Chesterfield Mayfair, 35 Charles St.

When: Custom Website: Click Here

This 9 day tour includes 4 nights in each city. See London and Paris a whole new way: these are not only Europe’s two great metropolises, they are also its two great *gay* metropolises. From Shakespeare to Stephen Fry, King Henri III to Yves St.-Laurent, gay people have had a huge role in both cities’ histories and cultures.
Let gay historian Dr. Andrew Lear and his staff of gay guides show you both cities from the gay perspective. We will have walking tours of neighborhoods with key roles in gay history, such as Bloomsbury and the Marais; gay tours of monuments and museums, such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Louvre; and excursions to places with fascinating gay histories, such as the Castle of Chenonceau and Bletchley Park, where gay hero Alan Turing broke the Nazi’s secret codes, helping to save the Western World.

A trip which combines fun, learning, and pride. Top-level 4 star hotels, excellent (often historic) restaurants: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 tea, 1 dinner.

See the Oscar Wilde Tours Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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