A Day in Salamanca – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 30th, 2018

Salamanca Spain - Keep Calm and Wander

One day in Salamanca may not be enough to explore this medieval town. Up to this day, the community is still known as a university town. The town’s premier university – University of Salamanca – is Spain’s oldest university and the world’s 3rd oldest that’s still operating until today.

Salamanca is definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Spain. Because of its place in the historical culture and art of Spain, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

This city is loaded with attractions and seeing all of them in a day can be too overwhelming, but the following popular attractions can be visited in a day.

The Old and the New Cathedral are built side by side, one in the 4th and the other one in the 15th century, respectively. The former shows a Romanesque architecture and the latter has touches of Renaissance, but they collectively make a spectacle to be amazed at.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Spain Gay Travel Resources

The Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 26th, 2018

Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes

If you’re visiting in summer, Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes is a heavenly refuge in Toledo from the searing heat outside. After walking for a long time, I finally found this monastery in the middle of a neighbourhood that used to be predominantly Jewish.

And as soon as I entered the premises, I felt better.

Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes (Monastery of Saint John of the Monarchs) was built by the monarchs, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. They built it to honour the birth of their son, Prince John and to celebrate their triumphant success of the Battle of Toro.

Perhaps, to show dominance over the Jewish, the monarchs intended to build the monastery here. In fact, few steps from here, you’ll find the Sinagoga del Transito – which you must visit, too.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castille La Mancia Gay Travel Resources

Barcelona’s Palau Guell Mansion – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 21st, 2018

Barcelona's Palau Guell Mansion - Keep Calm and Wander

The Palau Guell in Barcelona may look ordinary outside but wait until you step on inside. It’s splendid! Truly magnifique!

Barcelona is love not because of its 24/7 party scenes, but also because it has some of the most architecturally and artistically revered ancient buildings such as the Paul Guell Mansion.

I was in the city only for a few days and boy, there’s so much art around. And there’s no doubt that Gaudi rules above all other artists. In fact, Barcelona is also called “The City of Gaudi.” That’s how famous he is Catalan. His works are visible everywhere. Art was merely an excuse, I wanted to see Palau Guell – I wanted to see how how the wealthy aristocrats of the past resided in their designer mansions and how those very designers managed to create the residence of their dreams.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Toledo, Spain – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 18th, 2018

Toledo - Keep Calm and Wander

Just like the rest of the cities of Spain, Toledo also presents a conundrum of Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim architecture, which actually tells the stories of the confluence of these cultures resulting from the respective conquests. The entire day I spent in the city had me gawking at the magnificence of the ancient structures standing tall in the myriads of small buildings along cobblestoned alleys.

Here’s where I managed to take my art-thirsty self.

1. The Alcazar

Alcazar means a fortress. Like other Alcazars in nearly every city of the country, this one, too, speaks (rather cry) of its mixed history. This is the highest point of the city; and therefore, it provides a view that simply stays in the eyes forever.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castille La Mancia Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Segovia – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 16th, 2018

Segovia - Keep Calm and Wander

Spain has served as the crux of the Muslim-Christian-Roman skirmishes in the past. It is because of these that nearly every city in the country has Gothic Cathedrals perched on some hill, Romanesque churches built on the remains of a former building, and the usual medieval architecture that dots around the city in the form of numerous buildings.

Segovia is no exception.

How to get there: Take an early train (8:00 AM) from Madrid and you”ll arrive 28 minutes later. It would cost you 16 euros. Once you arrive at Segovia Station, take a bus and ask the driver to drop you off at the intersection that goes to the Aqueduct.

Here are some of the things to do and see when you’re in Segovia.

1. Stand and admire the giant Segovia Aqueduct

Built in approximately 50 AD, the Segovia Aqueduct was a delight to watch. Its arches still stand tall and what intrigued me was the way the whole Roman structure still stands without any cement to hold the granite blocks. It’s really incredible!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castile and León Gay Travel Resources

Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 7th, 2018

Palau de la Musica Catalana - Keep Calm and Wander

A historic concert hall built in 1908, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is a turn-of-the-century piece of modern architecture by Lluis Domenech I Montaner. Its immaculate design, stained glasses, detailed mosaics, and expressive façade are some of the few things that attract tourists from around the world.

The building is serving the role for which it was initially constructed and that is providing a platform for the talented artists to showcase their talent in the most exuberant way possible. Owing to this fact, many famous artists, including Igor Stravinsky, Woody Allen, and Herbert Von Karajan have performed in this “Palace of Music.”

The modernist era was a movement more than a time period. It completely changed the very fabric of the architectural styles in Barcelona. The form of the palace or the hall speaks volumes of the craftsmanship of Lluis Domenech I Montaner. It is fluid, vibrant, and descriptive of the themes that the place is built on.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

One Day in Avila, Spain – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 5th, 2018

Avila, Spain - Keep Calm and Wander

Avila is one of the historical jewels of the crown of Spain. Cities around the world are witnesses of many past events and Avila is no exception. It has seen the Moorish as well as the Christian rule, and both of these eras have left their footprints on the city in form of monasteries, Romanesque churches, convents, and forts. The city is walled and therefore, all of these landmarks are guarded well, and because of their antique nature, the whole city is listed by UNESCO.

In Spain, nearly every city has an Alcazar – a fortification of Moorish origin or of the Christian origin.

The Avila can very much be called a fort in itself. This is because this city is bound by walls that were built for fending off any invasions. There are nine gates in the Alcazar de Avila with the Gate of St. Vincent and Gate of the Fortress (Puerta del Alcazar) flanked by two towers of 20-meter height.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castille-La Mancha Gay Travel Resources

Amazing Views of Barcelona From Montjuic Castle – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 2nd, 2018

Amazing Views of Barcelona From Montjuic Castle - Keep Calm and Wander

The views of Barcelona from Montjuic Castle is stunningly marvelous. Situated on the top of the Montjuic hill overlooking Barcelona, Castle Montjuic is an epitome of the resilience of Barcelona against the oppressions and invasions. Yet, it is also a monument of the victory of Spain over Catalan some 350 years ago. The victory is in the walls of the castle, in its spacious verandas, and its fortifications. You can see it everywhere and it augments as you overlook the city sprawling right in front of it. The castle indeed has witnessed not only many years of civil war and unrest in the 20th century, but also the growth of the city.

Well, that was just a brief history of this place. If you are an avid traveler and you have stepped on the soil of Barcelona, you’ve got to visit Castle Montjuic for the following reasons:

1. To see it speak its history

Running for about hour and a half, the guided tours of the castle are a great way to get to know about how it stood multiple invasions and warded off all the oppressors at the same time incarcerating prisoners itself. Aside from the history, the tours will also carry you through all the architectural significances of the castle, its built, the stones used, and the amalgam used to bind them. If you have no time for tours, you can, of course, wander around by yourself.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona 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

 

Five Gay Spanish Party Cities – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , June 13th, 2018

Five Gay Spanish Party Cities - The Nomadic Boys

Spain is famous for being very gay friendly and we absolutely love it!

As well as having some of the hottest men you’ll ever see, it also has some of the best gay parties we’ve been to, from the famous Madrid Pride, to Barcelona’s Circuit festivals. We’ve put together our 5 favourite gay cities in Spain to come and party like crazy.

Madrid

The Spanish capital is famous for being the best gay city for partying in Spain. We love visiting Madrid, whether it’s for Pride, or just an ad hoc weekend of partying. Either way, we know that a visit here is always going to be a lot of fun.

The Madrid Pride (“Orgullo Gay de Madrid”) takes place every year in June/July, and it is huge. It is famous for being one of the best and largest gay pride parades in the world with around 3-4 million people attending. We absolutely love it because as well as guaranteed beautiful weather (remember to pack plenty of sunblock cream!), the entire city gets involved and it becomes one giant rainbow street party. The focal point is around the gay neighbourhood in Chueca, where the bars spill out into the streets, and free outdoor concerts take place.

The annual WE Pride Festival in July is another huge party highlight in Madrid. It is 5 days of parties with the biggest brands and famous DJs.

During the winter months, there is another huge gay party: the We Party New Year Festival. This is the biggest gay winter event in Europe, with around 20,000 people attending to see in the New Year.

The gay clubs of Chueca always have a party taking places every weekend. The main ones are Boite, DLRO, MalaMala, Kluster and Baila Cariño. Just one word of advice, the Madrileños LOVE to party till the early hours of the next day – so fact in a disco nap before heading out!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Spain Gay Travel Resources