Colima: Volcanoes and Pickups – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , July 13th, 2018

Colima - Once Upon a Journey

Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, it’s impossible not to love you. After a week in Guadalajara, we go to Colima where we housesit for three weeks. The first days we are with the two of us, but on day three, a family member joins us for an entire month. Hopefully, we will survive that…

DRIVING THE PICKUP

Who’s that family member?! It’s my sister Denise. It’s already her second time visiting us, first time was for two weeks on Borneo with her boyfriend. Now she’s in Mexico and for a whole month! I pick her up from Guadalajara airport and together we drive to Colima in our badass pick-up truck. To celebrate Denise’s arrival in Mexico we buy a cake and many other delicious foods. In return, Denise brings us Dutch candy, stroopwafels & cheese! We were already looking forward to that for ages.

PUEBLO MÁGICO COMALA

The first exploring we do together is seeing the beautiful magical town Comala. Comala is officially called a magical town – Pueblo Mágico – in Mexico. The government gave 111 towns in Mexico the name magic town to attract more tourists. What’s so special about Comala? All the facades of the buildings are painted white. It’s super cute and pretty.

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Mexico Gay Travel Resources

 

Dune Sledding at the White Sands National Monument – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , July 7th, 2018

White Sands National Monument

Getting to the White Sands National Monument took two hours of driving west out of Roswell. The journey takes you through beautiful rolling hills and river fed farms to the town of Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The city sits in a “landscape bowl” surrounded by mountains and the Tularosa Basin. It’s also the closest city to White Sands National Monument and Holloman Air Force Base. There is an interesting clash of people here with all the military personnel and tourists around.

Alamogordo is also home to McGinn’s Pistachioland, home of the worlds largest Pistachio.

By Camrin LaFond – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Southeastern New Mexico Gay Travel Resources

The Ultimate Koh Mak Travel Guide – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , July 6th, 2018

The Ultimate Koh Mak Travel Guide

Koh Mak is a small tropical island in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, close to Cambodia. We travelled to this island in November 2017 and stayed much longer than expected. I’ve seen many more Thai islands and I must say: Koh Mak is my favourite of all! The island is a well-kept secret for most travellers, it’s (still) a quiet place with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s located south of ‘big brother’ Koh Chang, and north of Koh Kood – they all are completely different!

What we most love about this island is that it’s relatively undeveloped. You might be able to get cash at a resort – but no guarantees – and there are no 7-elevens anywhere on the island (is that even possible in Thailand?!). Koh Mak is privately owned and therefore nobody is allowed to build more resorts, how fantastic?! And although there are many rubber farm plantations, you can still find lots of palm trees. The best part of Koh Mak though: gorgeous, empty beaches!

Koh Mak is located about 40 kilometres away from mainland Thailand (Trat) and 300 kilometres from Bangkok. From Bangkok you can take a minivan to Trat and take a taxi to the pier. You can even take a minivan directly to the pier. From the Laem Ngop pier in Trat, you can take the slow boat (cheap but slow) or a speedboat (fast but more expensive) to Koh Mak. Be sure to look up the time schedule of the boats! During low season there are less or no boats at all going to Koh Mak. There are also boats going from Koh Chang, Koh Wai and Koh Kood to Koh Mak.

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

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian Travel: Exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , July 2nd, 2018

Lesbian Travel: Exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Free Wheel Drive

On to Carlsbad Caverns National Park! It’s so close to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park that we were able to stay at the same campground just inside of New Mexico from Texas. Carlsbad Caverns National Monument was created in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge and then it was made into a national park in 1930.

We love a good national park visitor center. They are like little free museums. A great place to learn about the history of the area.

To get into the cave you take a path around the visitor center to the Natural Entrance. Unfortunately, at the beginning of February, the bats have all migrated to Mexico for the winter so we didn’t get to see them fly out.

By Camrin LaFond – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Southeastern New Mexico Gay Travel Resources

Colorful Guadalajara, Mexico – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , June 30th, 2018

Mexico - Once Upon a Journey

Hello Mexico! After a three hour flight from Los Angeles, we arrive in Guadalajara: Mexico’s second biggest city. We are super excited to be in Mexico, but also a bit concerned. So many people told us Mexico isn’t safe… But luckily we are two tall girls who already have quite some travel experience and aren’t stupid. Let the Mexico adventures begin!

It’s my first time in Mexico, Maartje’s second time. Not sure if Maartje’s first time counts since she went to Cancun for Spring Break. Not really an authentic part of Mexico, but this time we will see authentic Mexico for sure. We never heard of Guadalajara before, but that’s something we like about a place! That means not so many other tourists go there, or well, let’s see ourselves.

The first nights in Guadalajara we stay with Marco and his dad. We are welcomed with open arms and with lots of Tequila and Corona. I don’t hope this much alcohol is a normal thing in Mexico, wow. With five people we drink three bottles of Tequila in one night. The hangovers are big, but we have lots of fun. And we break our first Pinata ever!! The only thing we see during the first days in Guadalajara is Tlaquepaque, and we LOVE it! It’s so beautiful and colourfull. There are coloured umbrellas and flags in the streets; Maartje is the happiest girl ever. She was already looking for a place with umbrellas like that for a while.

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Jalisco Gay Travel Resources

Historic St. Augustine – Go Girlfriend

Author: , June 27th, 2018

St. Augustine, Florida

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 Historic 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.

Consider these great restaurants from our recent visit:

Catch 27, St. Augustine: 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.

California Dreaming – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , June 22nd, 2018

California Dreaming

Time flies when you are having fun! After a year in Asia, we fly to the other side of the world. Now we can call our trip a world trip for real! After some fantastic days in Hong Kong and Macau, we fly to San Francisco. The culture shock is huge, the jetlag as well…

HELLO SAN FRANCISCO!

As soon as we arrive, our friend David – who we met in Myanmar – takes us to the Golden Gate bridge. We enjoy the view over the iconic bridge from the best spot you can think of, and David also surprises us with some champagne. We couldn’t wish for a better start. Later on, not only the jetlag but also the champagne kicks in.

During the first days in the States, it’s difficult to adapt. The jetlag is enormous, it’s cold and rainy outside and the people are so different. People talk small talk to us, and we are not used to that at all. Besides that, it’s the first time after a year of travelling that I feel unsafe. Something I never expected to happen in San Francisco. There are so many homeless people, which is shocking to me. Feeling unsafe had something to do with being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I would not recommend people to be in the city centre and the areas close to the city centre of San Francisco late at night.

Before arriving in the States we were thinking of hitchhiking from San Francisco all the way down to San Diego (we like adventure), but after hearing a couple of horror stories, we book the first night bus down to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, we travel further down by bus, to San Diego. The buses in the States are not that bad at all!

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

California Gay Travel Resources

The Amazing Mojave Preserve – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , June 20th, 2018

Mojave Reserve

We had only planned on spending one night in the Mojave Preserve on our way to Death Valley, but we were blown away at how cool this place is so we decided to stay for three days and skip Death Valley. We hadn’t done any research on this place, so we didn’t have a clue. Luckily Camrin just happened to see a photo on Instagram from the preserve and we realized there might be something to this place.

We camped in an amazing spot surrounded by the highest concentration of Joshua Trees in the world and those cool boulder formations. We practically had the place to ourselves. The sunsets were amazing, we hiked through a slot canyon, and took time to enjoy our surroundings.

We felt so lucky to stop here. We almost passed it up so its a lesson to us to do more research on those off the radar places.

By Laura Dierbeck – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

California Southern Deserts Gay Travel Resources

Ten Amazing Things to Do in Andalusia – DDG Retreat

Author: , June 15th, 2018

Ronda

The romance of flamenco, fun-filled fiestas, magnificent cities steeped in history, picture postcard white villages perched atop rocky crags, breath-taking countryside, panoramic views and the lure of the ocean – Andalusia has it all.

The folks at DDG Retreat have compiled a list of great places to see and things to do while you’re in the area:

RONDA

Straddling the deep El Tajo gorge, this historic town – only an hour away – is truly spectacular. Its dramatic views, fabulous Old Town and other historic attractions, a fine choice of restaurants and fabulous souvenir shopping make Ronda a must-visit. Ernest Hemingway and Orsen Welles both spent many summers there.

NerjaNERJA

Marvel at the world’s largest stalagmite – a staggering 32-metre high column – at the magnificent Nerja Caves. Also worth a visit are the nearby Detunda Botanical Gardens and the Balcon de Europe where you can enjoy one of the best panoramas over this part of the coast.

TARIFA

Love the ocean, kite-surfing or perhaps some whale or dolphin watching? Located on the Costa de la Luz at the southernmost tip of Spain and within almost touching distance of Morocco, Tarifa is a surfy coastal town with beautiful beaches. It also boasts an old town full of fascinating history.

BAELO CLAUDIA

Combine a trip to the coast with a visit to the Roman archaeological site of Baelo Claudia, one of Spain’s most important Roman excavations. Named after Emperor Claudius, the ruins are fascinating and provide one of the best examples of Roman urban architecture to be found anywhere on the Iberian Peninsula.

BOLONIA BEACH

Escape the crowds and discover the locals’ best kept secret. Next to the Baelo Claudia ruins you’ll find a golden beach that stretches for miles. Backed by a pine forest and ringed by an extensive range of sand dunes Ensenada de Bolonia enjoys crystal clear waters and was once voted a Trip Advisor top 25 Europe beach.

PUNTA CHULLERA

Closer to home is another of our favourite beaches, Punta Chullera, just 20 minutes away. Its translucent waters make it perfect for swimming, diving and fishing. With inlets and small cliffs, this cove is of great ecological value and scenic interest. There’s also the ruins of an old watchtower to explore.

CadizCADIZ

The ancient and bustling port of Cadiz boasts 100 watch towers. Once the richest city in Spain and one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, Cadiz is steeped in history. Christopher Colombus set sail to the New World from here; Sir Francis Drake led the British strike against the Spanish Armada in 1587 and Lord Byron lived in Cadiz.

CASARES

Looking out from our Retreat, you’ll see below you the sugar-cube white houses of the beautiful pueblo blanco of Casares. Walk through the narrow streets until you reach the old fortress at the top. Views are incredible as you’d expect from its majestic position 1400 feet above the sea.

MarbellaMARBELLA OLD TOWN

The ancient walled Old Town of Marbella, known as El Casco Antiguo, is quite charming. It’s full of churches, plazas and lovely boutiques. If you’re looking for souvenirs, you can find hand-made clothing, crafts and jewellery and later you can enjoy a Mediterranean meal at the Plaza de los Naranjos.

FIESTAS

Andalusia, a region rich in folklore and tradition, is famous for its festivals. The season begins in earnest in April with the most well-known of all being the Feria de Abril in Seville. Over the Summer months most towns have their own fiestas – many are religious celebrations, but they’re always fun-filled.

ABOUT DDG:

DDG Retreat

If your idea of the perfect holiday is a sunshine getaway that nourishes mind, body and soul all in one short super-break, head to the heart of beautiful Andalusia and combine a cultural city trip with a relaxing getaway. Our adults-only couples bolt-hole is a haven of calm and tranquillity, ideal for a restful few days of respite before you head off for the hustle and bustle of the Golden Triangle.

DDG Retreat

Or opt instead for the city life first and then rejuvenate afterwards in the peaceful ambience here as you immerse yourselves in our stunning woodland estate with its hilltop setting and breath-taking panoramic views. In total contrast to your city stay, at DDG Retreat you will truly be at one with nature.

DDG Retreat

And if you choose one of our two luxury Suites, as featured in this weekend’s Times newspaper Travel section, you can bask in a truly one-of-a-kind experience – our canvas suites come complete with marble floors, chandeliers, air conditioning, luxury furnishings and original artefacts, as well as plenty of private outdoor space and either a hot tub or plunge pool.

As travel writer Liz Bird says, glamping has hit a new level!

DDG retreat

Story provided by Daria at DDG Retreat

Andalusia Gay Travel Resources

 

The Nest – Boulder Lesbian Owned Cottage

Author: , June 14th, 2018

The Nest - Boulder Lesbian Owned Cottage

Nestled into the Front Range of Boulder, is our cottage, The Nest. It is a separate dwelling, behind our house, with its own access. Parking is on the street in front of our house, in our neighborhood. One will walk up our driveway and through a back door that leads to a beautiful array of plant life. There is a short walk through the gardens and a few stairs.

The Nest is a converted garage which at other times has been a pottery studio and a retreat space. It has pine floors, an attached bathroom with tiled shower and has a brand new dual heat and air conditioner. There is a petite patio which is just yours to enjoy. Festoon lighting with umbrella and chairs lends itself well to al fresco dining, perfect for morning coffee or dining with take out. We offer TV with Nettflix and free Wi-Fi in your room.

We are a smoke free property. We use fragrance free and plant based cleaning products. There are a couple appliances: a microwave and a small refrigerator . We offer organic coffee and teas, along with their accompanying sweeteners and creams.

There are restaurants 3 blocks away and it is a little over a mile to the Pearl Street Mall where renowned restaurants of the Farm to Table movement are in abundance. A few minutes away there are also grocery stores, pharmacies, laundry, banking, post office, bus routes, North Boulder Park and bike rentals.

See the Nest’s Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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