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

 

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

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

Inside the Pisa Cathedral – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 7th, 2018

Pisa Cathedral - Keep Calm and Wander

The Pisa Cathedral marks the zenith of the architectural power of Pisa at the time of its creation by having bits from the Islamic, Byzantine, Lombard-Emilian, and classical architecture. Lying peacefully in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square), it gleams in multi-colors, courtesy of the different types of marbles that it is adorned with, especially cosmatesque marble.

1. The marble facade

Unlike the exterior, the cathedral’s interior depicts much more decorations and ornamentations. The Romanesque façade of the cathedral is made of pastel-colored marble that is designed divinely by the students of Giambolongna.

While the three doors leading inside were constructed or cast after the deadly fire of 1595, an original door “The Door of San Ranieri” designed by Bonnano Pisano still stands and provides a way in from the southern transept.

2. Medieval and Renaissance art

The interior of the cathedral has a mixture of the Renaissance and Medieval architecture. This mixture has been a result of the fire of 1595. After the destruction of most of the Medieval parts of the cathedral, they were rebuilt in the Renaissance style as it was popular back then.

The surviving Medieval pieces include Tomb of Emperor Henry VII, originally sculpted by Tino di Camaino, and the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano, which has been recently placed in its original place after being found dismantled.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Pisa 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

Visiting Venerable and Vivacious Vernazza – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 30th, 2018

Vernazza

Buona sera, tutti,

I am sitting at the Bar Ananasso, on the main piazza in Vernazza. I am looking out at the sea as I savor a new beverage, a limoncino spritz. Actually, I have never ordered one at a bar, but I do believe our traveling group invented this at the apartment in Florence, back in 2008. We called it Tuscan Lemonade. Whatever it is called it is delicious.

The time is 7:30 p.m. The sun seems to still be high in the sky, but the air is becoming a bit cooler. We arrived here in the early afternoon; as usual, we were very hungry. We went to the restaurant that sits at the very end of the harbor, where we could see the sea, and enjoy our lunch.

Later, the kids wanted to explore on their own; as I found out later, Heather went for a hike, Danny went for a nap. I went for a walk, also, but not as adventurous as Heather’s. This area is so lovely, especially now, at the end of the day, when the cruise ship passengers have left, the day trippers have left. Looking about me now, the restaurants on this piazza are full, but the area around me has just a few of us who are waiting to enjoy the sunset.

As I walked through the town today, I saw how well Vernazza has recovered from the terrible flood of October, 2011. The shops and the restaurants have been restored; life goes on as before. The old men were still paying cards at the tables on the piazza. The nonne (grandparents) were still spoiling the little ones with gelati.

This evening, I walked around the little town and observed the people winding down for the night, tourists and locals as well.

The church in the background is still one of my favorite places to visit. I wonder how many prayers have been offered for the safety of the fishermen from this church over the ages. The church was established in early 1300’s. Inside, the decor is simple, gothic style. It is still lovely.

Finally, the sun did set, leaving me with a serene view of the Ligurian Sea. I am so happy that we came here. Although I was a bit sad to leave Florence, I knew that this village would soothe my soul, and indeed it has. The sound of the sea is so calming, although I have seen this same quiet sea when it has lost its temper.

I will leave you with this vision of Vernazza. Tomorrow is another day, and I am certain I will have more pictures to show you.

Buona notte.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Vernazza Gay Travel Resources

Where to Have a Gay Wedding in Italy -The Nomadic Boys

Author: , August 24th, 2018

Since our engagement in Cartagena in Colombia, we’ve been researching wedding venues and ideas for destinations for our own ceremony. We attended our friends’ gay wedding ceremony in Gallipoli in South Italy and completely fell in love, feeling totally inspired at the same time.

Gay Wedding in Italy

Although Italy remains one of Western Europe’s more conservative countries with regards to LGBTQ rights and still has a ban in place for same sex marriages, steps are slowly being taken in the right direction. In particular, civil unions for same sex couples (called “unioni Civili” in Italian) were introduced in June 2016. This has spiked interest in Italy as a destination wedding for LGBTQ couples.

Following on from our travels in Italy and researching the best places for our own wedding, we’ve put together our 5 best destinations for a gay wedding in Italy:

Gorgeous Gallipoli in Puglia
Gallipoli is the main gay hotspot in the Puglia region of Italy. Over the years it’s grown massively with gay tourists, due to its mix of gay friendly beaches and fun gay events. This has made it ideal for gay wedding destination in Italy.

We attended our friends’ Unioni Civili at Villa dei Fiori Eventi, located just outside of Gallipoli main town and absolutely loved it. The registrar from the town hall attended to officiate the ceremony, which was held outdoors. Everything was spot on, from the choice of music, decor, food and music. Definitely one to consider, especially as Puglia has so much to offer gay travellers for a honeymoon. Also check out our 5 best gay friendly hotels in Puglia for more inspiration.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Italy Gay Travel Resources