Getting From Beruit Airport to City Center – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 14th, 2018

Beruit Airport, Lebanon - The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon’s main international airport is the “Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport” (BEY), located around 9 km (5.6 miles) south from downtown Beirut.

It takes around 15 minutes by taxi to get from Beirut airport to the city centre. This is currently the main way to reach downtown Beirut from the airport as there is no public transport serving the airport.

We’ve set out below all the options available, including for late arrivals and other travel tips based on our personal experience travelling in Lebanon.

Public Taxi and Official Airport Taxi

Taxi is the main way to get from Beirut airport to the city centre and should cost no more than $20 (30,000 Lebanese pounds). There is always an abundance of public taxi drivers waiting outside the Arrivals Hall at all hours of the day. However, they do not use meters and will try to overcharge you the standard $20 rate.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon Gay Travel Resources

 

RECIPE: Italian Cassata Cake – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 11th, 2018

Italian Cassata Cake - The Nomadic Boys

Cassata Siciliana is a delicious sponge cake, which originated from the island of Sicily in Italy. It is one of our favourite Italian desserts and so easy to make.

A cassata is a round sponge cake, which is moistened with fruit juices or liqueur, then layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. Like the Uruguayan chaja, a cassata is not too complicated to make, though if you’re rushed for time, you can of course order it via an online cake delivery. For us, the best is always baked at home, especially recipes like Jamie’s rolled cassata or by the BBC.

Our recipe for Sicilian cassata serves around 15 people. Preparation time should take no more than 30 minutes and total baking time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Sicily Gay Travel Resources

 

Gay Lebanon: Safe for Gay Travelers? – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 9th, 2018

Gay Lebanon

Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly countries in the Arab world.

However, this is by Arabic standards. In other words, being gay in Lebanon won’t get you arrested with risk of death as it would in say, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Iran, and neither is it as restrictive as in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. However, being openly gay in Lebanon is a criminal offence, so you definitely need to be cautious.

We visited gay Lebanon as a gay couple to celebrate Stefan’s birthday. We absolutely loved the country, the people, the food and were so impressed to discover a thriving LGBTQ community, as well as a handful of really fun gay bars and clubs despite the anti-gay laws. Overall, travelling as a gay couple in Lebanon, we found it to be quite safe, but as long as you abide by various safety precautions.

Gay Rights in Lebanon

On the face of it, gay life in Lebanon is hard because homosexuality is a criminal offence. On the positive, there is a growing movement to decriminalise homosexuality in Lebanon on a political and legal level.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Gay Lebanon Travel Resources

 

Gay Beruit – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 7th, 2018

Gay Beruit - The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly places in the Arab world. This is saying a lot for a country where homosexuality is still a crime. However, by comparison to its Arab neighbours, Beirut has the best (albeit quite underground) gay scene, including one of the largest gay clubs in the Middle East called POSH.

We visited gay Beirut from Cyprus to celebrate Stefan’s birthday over a long weekend and absolutely loved the food, the people and of course the many gay parties. This is our gay guide to Beirut featuring the best gay bars and clubs, events, gay friendly hotels and best things to do.

A word of warning to gay travellers to Lebanon, although the country is more progressive than places like Iran, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is still a largely Islamic influenced country where homosexuality remains illegal. Therefore, be careful with public displays of affection and avoid posting anything online that is LGBTQ related before/during your trip to prevent any problems at the airport immigration. Also, avoid having an Israeli stamp in your passport as Lebanon has an outright ban on anything related to Israel/Israelis. Be sure to check out our article about gay life in Lebanon for more practical safety tips.

Gay bars in Beirut

As homosexuality is still illegal in Lebanon, places are careful not to advertise themselves as being openly “gay bars“, preferring “gay friendly” instead, in order to prevent having any problems with the police. These are the main gay friendly bars in Beirut that are thriving despite the anti-gay laws:

Bardo: this is one of the oldest and famous gay bars of Beirut. It is popular with twinks (and their fans) especially at the “Powerpuff Queens” party every Thursday. Generally it doesn’t get busy until after 11pm. But if you come before, it’s a lot quieter, which makes it great for a few cocktails, especially during the week when they have 2 for 1 happy hour offers. Bardo is open every day until 2am and is located in downtown Beirut on Mexico Street, just off Hamra Street.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Gay Beruit Travel Resources

 

How to Stay Safe While Traveling – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 1st, 2018

How to Stay Safe While Traveling - The Nomadic Boys

During our extensive travels around the world as a gay couple, we’ve enjoyed a whole array of experiences, mostly positive, but a few less so. Whether induced by homophobia such as experiencing life under the anti-gay laws in India or going back in the closet in Russia, we’ve certainly learnt a great deal about the best ways to stay safe while travelling.

We’ve put together our 10 best tips for how to stay safe while travelling, which apply to all travellers whether straight or gay:

Check Official Government Advice

Before doing anything, check the official government advice. This is the starting point for staying safe while travelling. Is it politically stable and secure? Are there are any areas to avoid? Are you at a higher risk of going because you’re gay? Any customs you need to be aware of? Do you need to carry your ID with you at all times (like in Russia), or better locked away in your hotel safe? How high is the risk of terrorist activity? And more…

Based on all these factors, you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to visit. We highly recommend the UK Foreign Office Travel Advice.

For us, travelling as a gay couple, we are at a higher risk in a large number of countries where being openly gay is either a punishable crime, or such a taboo in society that it could lead to trouble. We’ve put together a comprehensive summary of which countries are the most gay friendly and also recommend checking the US Department of State’s LGBTQI Travel Information for excellent practical advice.

If you do choose to visit countries where being openly gay is a punishable crime, we highly advise taking extra precautions in public, for example, avoiding public displays of affection and setting your social media networks to private.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Lyon, France – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 27th, 2018

Gay Lyon, France - The Nomadic Boys

We love Lyon because it has a mix of everything. As well as a fun gay scene, it is also famous for being the foodie capital of France and for having many UNESCO listed buildings.

The majority of the gay nightlife of Lyon is located in the Presqu’île. This is the area where the two rivers, the Rhône and Saône meet, forming an island-like peninsula. The southern section of the Presqu’île is the confluence point of the 2 rivers, and is more residential. The northern end of the Presqu’île is where the majority of the gay scene is, particularly between Place des Terreaux and Cordeliers. In this area, it is not uncommon to see same sex couples walking the streets holding hands.

Following our many trips to France’s gastronomical capital, we’ve put together our gay guide to Lyon including the best bars, clubs, cruising clubs, saunas, events and places to stay.

Gay Bars in Lyon

Regardless of the season, the gay bars of Lyon are always a lot of fun, particularly as there is a large student population in the city. In the summer, the gay crowds spill into the streets outside. In the winter months, it’s super cozy with everyone buried inside the bars, clutching a cup of mulled wine. These are some of our favourite gay bars in Lyon:

La Ruche: one of the staple gay bars of Lyon. We love coming here for a few drinks to start the night, especially in the terrace area. La Ruche is located at 22 rue Gentil, 69002 and is open everyday from 5pm to late.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Southeastern France Gay Travel Resources

 

Getting From Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to City Center – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 25th, 2018

Getting From Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to City Center - The Nomadic Boys

Amsterdam Schiphol is the city’s main airport and one of the busiest airports in the world. It is located around 17km (10.5 miles) southwest from Amsterdam’s main train station (“Amsterdam Centraal“). Most of the European budget airlines fly here, so if you’re based in Europe you can get some pretty cheap flights to Amsterdam for a city break.

The main way to reach Amsterdam centre from the airport is via the Airport Express Bus 397 or the regional train to Amsterdam Centraal. We set out the various options below in detail, but strongly advise you to consider getting an Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket prior to your visit. This card gives you unlimited travel on all the city’s public transport networks operated by the Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB), and also has the option to add on the Airport Express Bus return journey to/from the airport.

The Amsterdam Public Transport Card

Amsterdam’s public transport is impressive with a comprehensive network of buses, metro, trams and ferries. But this makes the ticketing system rather complicated and confusing, particularly for first time visitors. When buying your ticket at the ticket machines, there are so many options, it can be quite overwhelming! In addition, queues for the machines can get quite long, particularly during rush hour. This not only wastes time, but can be quite stressful.

To overcome this, we use the Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket, which gives you unlimited travel across all GVB operated services on the metro, trams, buses and ferries. Needless to say, we found this to be a godsend for our trip. It not only saved us a lot of unnecessary stress and time, but also money. Prices start from €7.50 for a 1 day ticket, plus €10 for the Airport Express Bus return ticket add on. By comparison, a one way ticket on the public transport costs €3, so after 3 journeys alone in one day, you’ve already paid off the cost of purchasing the Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Netherlands Gay Travel Resources

 

Getting From Tegel Airport to Berlin’s City Center – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 20th, 2018

Getting From Tegel Airport to Berlin City Center

Berlin Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” Airport (TXL) is one of the two international airports of Berlin. It is located in Tegel, around 5 miles (8 km) northwest from central Berlin.

The other main airport in Berlin is Schönefeld, which we wrote a separate guide for in our how to get from Schönefeld airport to central Berlin. Note that from around 2020(ish!) the new Brandenburg airport will finally open, and as a result Tegel may close, but we wait to see…

The two most common ways to get from Berlin Tegel airport to downtown Berlin is either via express bus or taxi. We set this out below in detail based on our personal experience when we visited to discover the gay scene of Berlin.

Pro-tip: get The Berlin Transport card!

First off, if you’re going to be spending several days in Berlin and using the public transport system (Metro/bus/train), we highly recommend investing in the Berlin Welcome card, which gives you unlimited travel for a set period of time depending on which you choose – 48 hours, 72 hours or 4/5/6 days.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Germany Gay Travel Resources

 

Renting Pocket Wifi in Japan – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 1st, 2018

Pocket Wifi

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, renting a pocket WiFi is a great way to stay connected during your travels without incurring roaming charges or having to buy a new SIM card. Whilst it is true public WiFi hot spots have become more available over the past few years, you’ll quickly realise it won’t be enough to keep you connected on the road, hence the need to invest in a pocket WiFi.

This small portable WiFi device has completely changed the way people travel. Whereas before, you would most likely need to buy several prepaid SIM cards for every single traveller in your group, with one standalone pocket WiFi you can instead connect multiple devices at once, with unlimited internet access. It’s also light, easy to transport, and fits comfortably in your pocket.

During our extensive travels in Japan, we tested renting a pocket WiFi with several providers and found it to be an essential item to add to any travel shopping list. However, there are so many different options to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. We therefore put together this comprehensive guide to renting a pocket WiFi in Japan with plenty of guidance and clarity to help you decide which one you should pick.

What is pocket WiFi?

Pocket WiFi is a small portable device with a SIM card inside which transforms 3G and 4G signals into a private and secure WiFi connection. It’s perfect for tablet, smartphone and laptop users who want to stay connected with high speed wireless internet whilst travelling.

For example, you’re walking the streets of Tokyo, and want to find a good restaurant to sample some traditional Japanese foods. A simple search on TripAdvisor or Google Maps will quickly pinpoint the best restaurants nearby with directions on how to get there.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

The Ten Most Gay Friendly Countries in the World – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 27th, 2018

Gay Friendly Countries

This is our list of the top 10 most gay friendly countries in the world. We based our research on the following 4 studies and combined this with our personal experience of having travelled to over 100 countries as a gay couple:

  • Wikipedia: list of countries that have legalised gay marriage
  • Spartacus: Gay Travel Index 2018 of the most gay friendly countries in the world
  • ILGA Rainbow Europe: 2018 survey of the most gay friendly countries in Europe
  • PewGlobal: 2013 study of 37 countries asking “should society accept homosexuality?”

To be clear, we are looking at countries overall, not cities or regions. So for example, whilst the US has some of the gayest destinations in the world (San Francisco, the Keys, Fire Island etc) it also has so much extreme homophobia, which makes it difficult to rank it in our top 10.

In our opinion, gay marriage for us is the first and most important marker to measure how gay friendly a country is because we think that a government making the proactive stance to go from having civil unions to the symbolic step of saying “we’re all equal and we’re going to call it marriage” is a big deal! The only exception we made for this is Thailand – a destination we’ve always felt extremely welcome in as a gay couple, despite it not having equal marriage laws.

Here are our top 10 gay friendliest countries in the world:

1. CANADA

There is a good reason why Spartacus places Canada as the number #1 gay friendly country in the world. In 2005, Canada became the 4th country to legalise gay marriage (after Holland, Belgium and Spain). It also scored high on the PewGlobal study. And from our experience, unlike any other country we’ve visited, Canada goes over and above to welcome gay travellers.

Where else in the world do you see the (straight white male) leader of a country leading a gay pride parade waving a transgender flag and crying out “Happy Pride”? We saw Justin Trudeau do this in person at the Fierte gay pride in Montreal. It made our hairs stand on end to see this.

Canada is also the only country we know that hosts its own national Pride event, called “Canada Pride”. The first one took place in Montreal in 2017. The next one will be in Winnipeg in 2020. Speaking of Prides, Toronto Pride is one of the largest in the world, attracting almost 1.5 million. Finally, every main city in Canada has a thriving gay scene, complete with rainbow crossings and numerous gay events taking place throughout the year. We loved the gay scene of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in particular. Read more in our interview with Barry from Toronto about gay life in Canada.

Oh Canada Canada Canada, we applaud and salut you, and wave our big giant Nomadic Boys rainbow flag in your honour!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys