Santiago de Compostela in Spain – Carlos Melia

Author: , January 17th, 2018

Santiago de Compostela

Two weeks ago, I joined a week trip by Relais & Chateaux Hotels and Restaruants, to visit all their current properties in Galicia, Spain and all over Portugal. Our first stop was Santiago de Compostela at A Quinta da Auga Hotel & Spa. This is my report on that first night.

A Quinta da Auga charm and boutique hotel, with a luxury Spa and gastronomic restaurant to discover the luxury and the beauty of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. A Quinta da Auga, the only Hotel Spa Relais & Châteaux of Galicia, is one of the hotels with more charm of Santiago de Compostela. A Quinta da Auga design hotel stands out by his carefull restorage and decoration, a unique 5 stars Spa and the high quality of The Filigrana Restaurant a real Relais & Châteaux gastronomic experience through the “Galicia Haute Cuisine”.

Our stay and visit, was warmly hosted and coordinated by no other than Mamma Luisa and her charming daughter Luisa – owners of A Quinta da Auga. These two ladies are the sweetest ever, and if you are lucky enough to meet them, they will make your stay even more special. But I must say that their energy and hospitality, extends to all their staff. THANK YOU Mamma Luisa, looking forward seeing you soon again, in Compostela or anywhere in the world.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for Spain gay travel resources.

A Crash Course in Spanish Paella – Tango Diva

Author: , January 11th, 2018

paella - Pixabay

They say the secret to getting to know a culture is born through a passion for its food. Spain is no exception. Paella, the country’s most well-known and celebrated dish, is a reflection of the richness and diversity of the country that created it. The bright, inviting colors and layers of intense flavor the dish is known for tell a story. They take you on a journey to a land that is steeped in tradition, history and a love for community. Whether you are planning to make your very first paella or you consider yourself a seasoned paella pro, here is some information you may find helpful on your road to paella perfection.

It is said that the Moors brought rice from northern Africa to Spain in the 10th century. And, it is agreed, what we know today as paella originated in the 18th century in Spain’s third largest city, Valencia. Like many of the world’s best recipes, it is a beautiful melding of cultures that has led to Spain’s most popular dish, now happily eaten in every corner of the globe.

You may not know that the word paella actually refers to the name of the pan used to cook the hearty rice dish. Traditionally prepared in a large metal pan with a dimpled surface, these days, cooks can opt for a dimpled or flat-bottomed pan, depending on personal preference.

By Allison Neves – Full Story at Tango Diva

Spain Gay Travel Resources

Hiking the Camino de Santiago – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , October 14th, 2017

Camino de Santiago - Dani, Globetrotter Girls

When I started planning my 500 mile hike along the Camino de Santiago, I wanted to make sure I’d be as prepared as I could be, to ensure I’d have everything I’d need to make it to the end. But I also knew I’d need to pack as light as possible – something I am not very good at. Even one or two kilos can make or break a hiking trip, considering you will have to carry your own pack from place to place (even though it turned out I could have avoided carrying it, but more on that later).

Since I’d never gone on a five-week hiking trip before, I consulted every blog and website with travel tips & resources I could find, making notes on what equipment to buy and which brands were recommended.

Before I get into the details of what I brought, I wanted to start with a few remarks on stuff I didn’t bring and wish that I did have, and some things I brought and could’ve done without.

WHAT I BROUGHT AND DIDN’T NEED

Compeed: If you are a serious hiker, you’ll probably have heard of Compeed, a popular blister bandaid brand. My sister, who works at a pharmacy, brought me three different kinds of Compeed, and thank God I didn’t need a single one of them! I gave a couple of them away, and of course I held on to them in case I’d develop a blister, which luckily I didn’t. Since I saw Compeed bandaids in every single pharmacy along the Camino (I am sure they’re making most of their sales here), I wouldn’t buy them before the hike next time, and instead pick them up along the way if needed. People do swear by them though, so if you’re prone to getting blisters, you might want to bring a pack (they’re small and very light).

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

Spain Gay Travel Resources

Spain’s Salamanca Cathedral – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 17th, 2017

Salamanca Cathedral

Salamanca Cathedral refers to two cathedrals combined into one. One is called the Old Cathedral and other as the New Cathedral. The former was built in 12-13th century and the latter was in 16th century. So, the earlier Cathedral is really ancient (Middle Ages) and the new one isn’t really that new. 😀

Salamanca is a university town, famous for the world’s 4th oldest university, the University of Salamanca. And if you walk around, you’ll notice that many of the structures here are really ancient and they all stood the test of time.

From Madrid to Salamanca

You can take a train from Madrid to Salamanca in the morning (8:55) and be back at 6:20 in the evening. Round trip would cost you around 30 euros. You can buy your train ticket here. And also, some tourists visit Salamanca with a combined trip to Avila, where you can find Spain’s most impressive city wall. The two historical cities are just an hour away from each other by car / tour bus. You can find these trips at TripAdvisor.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Spain Gay Travel Resources

The Aqueduct of Segovia – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 15th, 2017

The Aqueduct of Segovia

The aqueduct of Segovia is ancient Rome’s indisputable legacy in Spain. The towering aqueduct is synonymous to the old town of Segovia. You can’t mention the city’s name without identifying it to this arched aqueduct.

The city of Segovia, as legend has it, was founded by Hercules, the son of the Roman god, Zeus.

The Aqueduct of Segovia

This structure is 15 kilometres long from the mountain to the other side of the city. It is made of granite blocks that are as high as 800 meters. The downtown part of the aqueduct you see is consist of 120 pillars and 166 arches. And guess what’s the most brilliant thing about it? The pillars are built without using cement or mortar to hold them together for safety. The stones were masterfully cut to carry the load in perfect balance!

While this is a feat of engineering, some locals call it “Puente de Diablo” or Devil’s Bridge. According to legend, this bridge was built by the Devil himself to impress a young woman he liked. But his efforts failed. The holes on the stones are said to be the marks of Lucifer’s fingers.

Alcazar de Segovia, A Fairytale Castle – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 12th, 2017

Alcazar de Segovia

Before Disney, there was Alcazar de Segovia. If you look at it near and far, the castle resembles that of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. You can’t leave Segovia without seeing and getting into the heart of Spain’s most famous castle. The structure wasn’t really meant to be a castle. It was built as a fortress. Then it became a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy. Today, this wonderful castle is now a museum that allows us to see what’s hidden inside.

Madrid to Segovia

The fastest way to get to Segovia is by train from Chamartin Station in Madrid. It takes 30 minutes and it costs around 10 euros. You can buy your train ticket here. By car, it would take an hour and 15 minutes. Another way to get there is by joiniing an organized tour.

If you are planning to stay in Segovia for the weekend or for a night, you can book via HostelWorld or Expedia.

By AUTHOR – Full Story at SOURCE

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Morning at Puerta Del Sol, Madrid – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 11th, 2017

Puerta del Sol, Madrid - Alain

Puerta del Sol is the centre of Madrid. In here, you’ll find the Kilometre Zero slab of Spain’s 6 national roads. One weekend morning, I walked here from my apartment and found out that this place is a hangout of people with hangover from a night of partying. There were many of them sleeping, chatting and sitting on the circular foundation of the statue in different states of drunkeness. They were all waiting for the metro to open so they could go home and hibernate.

Puerta del Sol or Gate of the Sun is a public and business square in the city of Madrid. During Pride celebrations, the square is a main thoroughfare of wild events, parties, and protests.

The clock tower, built in the 18th century, is the main attraction when Madrilenos do their countdown to the New Year. The event is shown on national television.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Madrid Gay Travel Resources

Casa Felix – Chio, Canary Islands, Spain

Author: , May 20th, 2017

Casa Felix

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay:

We are a happy lesbian couple, but we welcome people of all spots, stripes and labels. One of us will most likely always be around, and we are adventurous enough to communicate with you in English, French, German and more. We are able to tell you about anything you want to know about Tenerife: one of the most diverse islands we have ever visited and we have travelled extensively.

Casa Felix is our dream house. The house, which is actually made up of three completely independent apartments, was lovingly remodeled by our predecessors, a charming retired Austrian couple. The moment we walked onto the property it was clear to us that a lot of love and care had gone into creating this small oasis on the Island of Eternal Spring (the nick name for Tenerife).

Before you even enter the house, the garden will blow you away. There are three very mature palm trees which serve as visual anchor points. A collection of various cacti shout out to any visitor: this location is warm all year round! There are various fruit trees (e.g. plum) but our personal favourites are two very healthy lemon trees with copious amounts of phenomenal fruits. And, of course, flowers are always blooming! Much of the ground is covered by flagstones and gravel imported from the local quarry and a groundcover that at first glance may look like a grassy lawn but is actually a thick patchwork of a local, drought resistant groundcover, shorn to look like grass.

The house and the grounds gaze across an expanse of banana plantations and wild shrubbery towards the Costa Adeje. You can admire the Atlantic, sparkling in the not too distant vista distance (15 minutes by car), and the distinct shape of Tenerife’s small sister island, La Gomera, from all the balconies, sun terrace, and much of the garden. Indeed, while visitors to Casa Felix sip their beverage of choice, the sun sets behind La Gomera in the most wondrous of ways and warm days turn into warm nights, with the bright stars sparkling in a black velvet sky to remind poor city dwellers that orange skies are not the norm in nature!

Since you will look at our website there is no need to describe the charms and benefits of our two, fully self-catering apartments. But remember: Casa Felix is a passion of ours. Our aesthetic is crisp, state-of-the-art functionality, and in tune with the natural surroundings, and we are constantly trying to improve the existing comforts and design sensibilities of Casa Felix. Cleanliness is incredibly important to us, and we believe you will appreciate it as well.

We are always interested in hearing suggestions for improving people’s stay. If you have any ideas to make the apartments even more special, please let us know. After all, if you have chosen our place for your vacation, it means we have very similar tastes.

La benvinguda a Felix Casa (Catalan for Welcome to Casa Felix!)!

See the Casa Felix Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in the Canary Islands

The Facade of the Sagrada Familia – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , May 12th, 2017

Sagrada Familia Barcelona - Alain

From afar, the Sagrada Familia is a towering Gothic structure that dominates the skyline of Barcelona. But if you get closer and look up, you’ll find yourself wondering on what the symbols on its facade mean or stand for. However, if you’re a devout Christian or Catholic, these symbols are easy peasy for you, right? I went to a Catholic High School, so, I’m kinda familiar to some of them.

The facade of Sagrada Familia is divided into three main gates. As you can see in the following photos below, they’re not your ordinary church doors. They’re grand and replete with tiny, detailed sculptures of religious origin.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Eating Out: Barcelona

Author: , April 16th, 2017

Barcelona - Pixabay

According to an August 2015 report from LGBT Capital, an investment firm based in London and Hong Kong focused on the LGBT consumer market, Spain is Europe’s most valuable LGBT travel destination, with in-bound gay and lesbian visitors pumping in some $6.8 billion to the economy. That puts Spain second behind the US ($21.5 billion) among the 14 global nations counted in the report.

From Alicante to Zaragoza, Spain calls gay travelers to some 11 destinations country wide, but few come as hot as beautiful Barcelona. From bustling Eixample (locally, Gaixample), the city’s gay epicenter to the nude beaches of seaside gay-magnet Sitges, southwest of the city, Catalonia’s capital sizzles year-round.

With flamboyant fiestas including the legendary Sitges Carnival (February), Bear Pride (March), Pride Barcelona (late June into early July), and wild Circuit Festival (which celebrated its 10th anniversary this August) for visitors to enjoy, count Barcelona’s globally recognized culinary scene among the seductions, too.

From its beachfront snack bars (xiringuitos) to its 23 Michelin-starred restaurants, Barcelona’s food scene runs as hot as its men. Even going for coffee here is on an amorous level, per the Catalan phrase “Fotem un café?” or “Let’s make love to a coffee.” On that appetite-whetting possibility alone, here are just a few of the myriad ways to eat your heart out in Barcelona.

LA BOQUERIA

LA BOQUERIA - BarcelonaWith Catalonia designated the European Region of Gastronomy for 2016, Catalan cuisine, reaching back to medieval days has lasting African and Arabic influences, exemplifying the saying that “the history of the world is found on the plate.”

Based primarily on ingredients cultivated, foraged, and harvested from Catalonia’s bountiful seas, valleys, and mountains, the Catalan menu dances to its own exotic beat. Typically cooked in wine, brandy, or extra-virgin olive oil from some of the oldest olive trees in Europe, Catalan dishes characteristically contrast sweet and spicy or sweet and sour accents.

By Jeff Hailman – Full Story at Passport

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources