If you are wondering to go to Cuba

By: Andrés Yunior Gómez Quevedo.

Cuba is a different country, mostly because of its history and the actual consequences it and for that reason it is now at its best! If you are going for the first time,having a tour guide with you to show you around and explain a lot of thingswill enrich your experience on this great island.

To enjoy the country and understand its rhythm and its sights it is better if you have an idea of all the history and gossip that this island has behind buildings, streets, landscapes, food, cocktails, behaviors, words and people.  

If you know Spanish get ready for a challenge  because the Castellano, which is the Spanishwe speak here, it is really fast and has many words that in other LatinAmerican countries and even in Spain does not  exist or have different meanings.

In Cuba, people laugh at their own problems and anything can inspire a joke, a song, a dance or whatever that means joy. The crazy Cuban sense of humor has been the lifeboat of this society for centuries, and words like Negro, mulatto, fat and crazy are not derogatory. There are not sexual harassment accusations because people look at each other’s attributes all the time, and the men whistle when the ladies pass by, and the ladies throw pick-up lines to the boys and to show affection people can call you “my negro” even if you are white, the young ones greet with a “what’s up crazy?”, and you can see and sense how carefree this people is inspite of all the problems and necessities and struggles.   

Again, Cuba is a different country full of fun and a sense of freedom to enjoy every minute with no rush.

As a tour guide, I always welcome my future friends at the airport, I know that my country has been on an unfair blacklist for so long and to have a smiling face welcoming you at the airport can be very cheering.

And to be honest, I love the idea of waiting for complete strangers that I’m going to be with for days. The adrenaline of not knowing how it’ll be like.

 I try to go with an old American car with AC to make the experience even more interesting. Havana it is a like a live museum of cars, and we are all so used to see them going around, but I know that people also come to Cuba to live the contrast of the old 40ies and 50ies with the influence of modernity that seems to be entering in the country more and more every time.

One of the first things I make clear it is that living and being in Cuba is a big exercise of patience, because there are many things that are hard to find easily, a lot of stuff must be getting with old fashion means, you are going to be offline most part of the day and to be online you really have to want it because you have to get a WiFi card and go to a WiFi spot. Things here are not like you know themat home. Cuba in many ways seems to have stopped in time and closed the door,but left the window open and there is a lot coming in through that window.

In Cuba, you’ll have more time to actually live, like we all used to do years before, interact, meet and talk to people old school style, go with the flow of the country that it’s very easy to follow because all seems to be about chilling out and drinking and learning too.

After the accommodation and a cocktail and depending on the time of the arrival I try to show first the Old Havana. It is a walking tour with stops in very cool places full of history and fun, like La Bodeguita del Medio, El Floridita, the four main squares of the old town with the explanations of the sights and the culture, including some information about the culture of cocktails in the country, religion, art, society and politics. Some stops will be longer depending on the people’s interests and the people around, the music, the weather, the drinks, whatever that makes the stay better.

Some people have asked me “don’t you get bored of saying the same thing in the tours everytime?” and the answer is no, because the interaction makes it different, thefeedback and the individual interests make a change and the information mightbe basically the same, but again, the interaction does its magic.

For smokers and drinkers, Cuba is like a paradise since here you can smoke and drink almost everywhere. For those who love music and dance, it is the same, in fact, there will be a time in which you’ll long for silence because there is music all around. For coffee lovers and organic food lovers Cuba is awesome too, but vegans and vegetarians might have a hard time finding the proper meal for the Cuban diet is full of meat, we even use sausage and pork to make the beans.

If you like jogging you can choose the sunrise or the sunset when the weather is cooler and do it through El Malecon with the Ocean on one side and the city on the other side, take little breaks seating in the same Malecon surrounded by fishermen, guitar players, people in love, friends laughing, old cars passing by, sellers,tourists, locals, all type of people, and the best thing: it is really safe.You can even walk around after midnight in the Old Havana without fear.

Part of the classic tour is to get an American car, can be a convertible or not(convertibles are more expensive and they don’t have AC) to take the two or three hours ride through El Malecon to Miramar (the old rich neighborhood, well,still nowadays since diplomats and embassies are there), Fusterland, The forest of Havana, the Revolution square (where I explain more about the revolution)Vedado neighborhood and Central Havana, to end up crossing the tunnel of the Bay to see the Statue of Christ, the Fortress and the amazing view of the city from there.

For nightlife there are options that can’t be missed like The Factory of Cuban Art, well, we call it just the Art Factory, if you like Cuban music and Jazz, La Zorra y el Cuervo is the only bar that plays real Cuban Jazz every night from 10 pm to 1or 2am, also the Jazz Café. The gay bars, and if it’s a weekend you’ll have more than 3 options, you can also do some kind of gay hopping since two of them are near each other in the gay friendly neighborhoods and the one with the latest show it is ironically placed in front of the Revolution Square.  There are other options like the EFE bar, King Bar, and eventual concerts or activities of last minute, because in Havana somethings can happen just like that, and you can suddenly find a concert or aparty going on anywhere.

I love the Cuban Symphonic Orchestras and try to take the ones who love this type of music to the places where they have concerts, they are old churches with the right magic to season those rhythms…something to see, and also, the artistic quality is really good. The same with the Cuban Ballet. Access to art in Cuba is not expensive and it is so worthy.

We try to have two or three days in Havana, and also save one of them for an Art tour in the museum of Cuban Fine Arts along with visits to private galleries and studios, and also save a piece of day for the gay beach Mi Cayito.

There are places in the country that are so worthy to see, and two of them are Viñales and Trinidad.  Viñales it is like one of the most beautiful country sides of Cuba, and even if you are not into cigars that are the main industry of that area will be hard not to fall in love with the sights and the tranquility, the pure air, the food and even the nightlife which is way different than Havana.

Trinidad it is a city that never changed its looks, the colonial architecture it’s original, nothing fake, and the accommodations will be full of the best and more beautiful from the vintage and the best from nowadays for the tropical weather, AC and showers. From Havana it is two hours to get to Viñales and 5 to get to Trinidad. You can do Viñales in one day and go back but Trinidad you have to stay, and it is so worthy.

Of course, these places are touristy, but in Cuba all the best is touristy since not much locals can afford any of these simple pleasures, there are a few places the locals use that tourists find interesting sometimes, but those eventually become touristy too. The good thing is that the locals mingle with the foreign very well and the American influence in the Cuban culture through history until nowadays it is very alive.

Gay life in Cuba it is not something forbidden anymore, and you’ll find amazing how supportive people can be. Most of the more popular restaurants and bars have gay owners ora story related to a gay character or gay waiters, so you don’t have to be in a gay-friendly neighborhood to enjoy, in fact, it is more likely that you’ll have more fun in a mixed place than in a gay bar. Farewells are always hard and the feeling of becoming friends can come so easily in Cuba, maybe it’s the weather that makes us like that, because even the tourists become more friendly, it can be the alcohol with the music and the heat, you don’t know until you know, but there is a magic in the air of this little country that makes people happy, and believe me, you’ll go home or wherever you are going next feeling luckier and better. I partner with Charles Kimball in the USA at www.outincuba.org to make this all happen. If you want to know more from the USA or anywhere please contact Charles Kimball at Outincuba@gmail.com or call him in California at 707.266.8235.

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Berlin, A pink pillow city!

Early in the morning, I landed at Tegel airport. Pink Pillow Hotels and Visit Berlin invited us for one of the biggest gay events in Europe: the 40th edition of CSD. I was thrilled to visit this vibrant city and his LGBTQ life!

The Pink Pillow Hotels

VisitBerlin and Berlin’s hotels want to make the city an even more attractive destination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people. They’re collaborating in setting new standards for hotel hospitality with the “Pink Pillow Berlin Collection”. It is a way of bringing together hotels that believe with all their heart that all guests should be welcomed exactly as they are!

The hotels in the ‘Pink Pillow Berlin Collection’ welcome gay and lesbian guests with professional and relaxed service. All participating hotels have signed that all guests are treated with the same courtesy, dignity, and respect. To contributing actively in a social project, to create a work environment of respect and tolerance, to offer their guests information about the LGBTI scene and participate in visit Berlin’s semi-annual LGBTI information days.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürsterdamm and HENRI hotel had invited us to explore the benefits of the Pink Pillow hotels and of course the city of Berlin! Both hotels are close to the biggest Gay area. The rooms are spacious, the breakfast is delicious and in Scandic, you can enjoy a great wellness and Gym. But the most important thing: the staff. They helped us in every way. Loved the place!

https://buchen.visitberlin.de/visitBerlinPinkPillow/ukv?lang=de&reset=1

Berlin’s kitchen

A simple snack, an easy lunch or a fancy dinner. Berlin is a city of cultural food for every budget. There is one place where you can find the food and drinks of all these cultures: ‘Bikini Berlin’. Awaiting hungry guests is an innovative food experience with a perfect, vibrant mix of 13 international eateries: Italian, Mexican, fusion, cocktails, Israeli food, tapas and sweet. Choose your budget, pick up your meal and enjoy.

https://www.bikiniberlin.de/en/kantini/

For a real cultural lunch, try ‘Kanaan’. Kanaan is a vegan-vegetarian and Israeli-Palestinian culinary brand that was established by Oz Ben David, 35, an Israeli entrepreneur and marketing businessman and Jalil Debit, 34, a Palestinian Arab descendent of the Samir family that own the famous “Humos Samir“ in Israel and Palestine. Kannan offers gourmet and end with products such as organic tahini, a variety of salads, their baked goods and pieces of bread, spices, olive oil and much more. I’m not a culinary specialist, but I tasted a delicious kitchen I never tasted before. By good weather, you can enjoy the delicious food outside and have a look at the beautiful setting and neighborhood of the restaurant. I placed it on my ‘come back-list’ to try the other food on the menu.

https://www.kanaan-berlin.de/en

When u have a bigger budget to spend, try the ‘restaurant Faubourg‘, next to the Sofitel hotel.  They serve the real French kitchen. Mostly I’m not a big fan of this kitchen because of the small portions… but this restaurant changed my mind. In a beautiful setting, I had a delicious dinner. So, in for a romantic dinner? Well, this is the place to be.

http://lefaubourg.berlin/de/

CSD on the Spree

As Belgian and Antwerp gay guy I have melancholic thoughts about ‘Navigaytion’, the party on the water. 10 boats with DJs and party people on the river.

So, I was excited about the Berlin version: ‘CSD on the spree’. 16 boats were ready to take off with enthusiastic party people… like me. Two hours on the river with all the ingredients: a party boat, lot of party people, alcohol, a great DJ who played the real party music, a theme by every boat  (Berlin Pride, Visit Berlin, the fetish boat, dikes, and divas,…) and colorful pompoms. And at the end of the tour… an afterparty! It was nice to see how the Berliners enjoyed the fun from the many bridges and streetside. A perfect start of CSD.

http://www.csd-auf-der-spree.de/en/

40y CSD: 50y of stonewall

On Saturday we could enjoy one of the biggest prides of  Europe… CSD Berlin. The first impression: whole Berlin had the rainbow in their hearts: children, parents, shops, party people. For one day, Berlin was LGBTQ.

In 2019 we celebrate 50y of stonewall. The place in NY where the fight for our rights begun.  After the usual speeches, it was time to start the parade. And what a fun! Even when u not like parades… you were sucked into the enthusiasm and atmosphere. Hours of walking, hours of watching to color full people, celebrating with the Berliners in the street.

The parade ended on the ‘Brandenburger Tor’. We could enjoy the speeches, the great artists or just take a snack or a drink. Meat, fish or vegetarian… everyone found his or her snack.

http://csd-berlin.de/

Gay Berlin

Many LGBTQ people love to party or having a nice drink with friends. But where to go in this amazing city with his big choice of bars, gay-friendly restaurants, and shops? I asked it Henrik Tidefjärd. He is a Swede with Russian and Finnish blood who loves the nightlife of Berlin. With his experience of many years living in the Queer city, he is for sure the specialist in giving tips.

Berlin has 4 different areas. Every area has his kind of crowd. Here is a small guide to know where u have to be.

West Berlin or Shöneberg Berlin is ‘the cliché gay scene’. Many commercial bars, darkrooms, gay-friendly restaurants, and fashion shops. You find there a more older crowd and also the fetish scene.

Prenzlauer Berg is the place for the hipsters and bohemian chic with also bars, café’s and restaurants.

Friedrichshain is the place for the alternative people: party, not so clean places gay bars and clubs. But still with dark rooms.

Kreuzberg and Neu Köln is a little bit special. You find the bars next to Turkish places. But not in an aggressive way. Everyone lives together in a respectful way. This area has a more international crowd.

Still looking at a good gay map, you can find it in your Pink Pillow hotel, at the Visit Berlin info desk or in one of the gay bars. Like to know the Queer scene with a good guide? ’Berlinagenten’ has his own Queer tour of 3 hours. Henrik will show you the best places in this city. Take a look on the website for other tours like culinary, lifestyle and cultural tours.

http://berlinagenten.com

https://www.visitberlin.de/en/lgbti-gay

How to visit Berlin?

Berlin is an amazing city and you need many days for just seeing a little part of the city. Are you looking for a cultural trip, finding some amusement or look for child-friendly places, the office of ‘Visit Berlin’ will give you good advice.
But the city is big… very big! So buy the Berlin welcome card. With this card, you can enjoy the trams, buses and the U Bahn without an extra cost for the days you are there (even at night you can go back to your hotel). With the city guide, you have different discounts on f.e. tours, musea, and restaurants.
A short time in Berlin? Then take the hop on-hop off bus: easy and quick to see the places you always wanted to see.
After 3 days of fun, I took my plane back to Belgium… and for the first time, I took my agenda. With a smile on my face, I thought… Berlin Ich Liebe Dich!

https://www.visitberlin.de/en

Beyond the Eurovision Song Contest, Lisbon’s hotspots!

Let’s go back to Saturday 13 may 2017. Portugal wins the biggest music festival of the world for the first time. The whole country gets crazy! Portuguese people just love music and the Eurovision Song Contest and they love to show that to the rest of the world.

In May 2018 Lisbon will be the center of the world for 3 days.  The city where thousands of fans will be. Time to see Lisbon’s hotspots, taste the great Portuguese food and enjoy the friendliness of the Portuguese people.

Fly to… the Eurovision Song Contest 2018

TAP, the national airline of Portugal is the best way to enjoy the Portuguese friendliness. Enjoy a comfortable flight to Lisbon and get a snack on board with a good glass of wine or watch a movie on long haul flights. This, all with the Portuguese smile of the crew.

https://www.flytap.com

Enjoy a good stay in Lisbon

If you stay the full week of the contest, you need a good bed.  Lisbon has a staying for every budget. You can easily find a great hotel close to Lisbon’s hotspots.  If you like luxury for a good price, A good choice will be the 5 star Altis Avenida Hotel. After a long walk in the city, you can enjoy a nice room, a good dinner or enjoy the wellness in the Altis Grand hotel.

http://www.altishotels.com

But why not stay at the Late Birds hotel. This all male Gay urban resort lies between the two gay areas of Lisbon.  The Late Birds Lisbon is housed in a completely restored, late-18th century building with twelve very comfortable climate-controlled rooms, lounge, beautiful garden and UV-treated swimming pool. It’s an oasis after a long day of visiting the city. Regarding nightlife, the guesthouse is less than a 10 minute-walk from all gay venues (Bars, Clubs and Saunas) and the most famous and typical restaurants of Bairro Alto, Chiado, Principe Real, Santos and Cais do Sodré.

http://www.thelatebirdslisbon.com/the-late-birds.html

For the real fans who want to enjoy the atmosphere of the Eurovision song contest, stay at Myriad hotel. This beautiful hotel, close to the water, is at walking distance of the big concert hall. For sure, you will meet a lot of artists in this hotel.

http://hotel-rn.com/hw/a419339/index.htm?lbl=ggl

Walk, walk and walk

The best way to enjoy the city and the many quarters is by foot. But wear good walking shoes. The streets of Lisbon go up and down and do not forget to count the many stairs of the city. But if you get tired, make a stop for a snack or a drink. For the short timers, just take one of the old fashion trams. They bring you to all the places you like.

What you see is what you get: the hotspots

If you stay a whole week, go visit the city. Lisbon has great things to offer.  You maybe decide to stay some more days after the contest. Let’s start with some interesting museums.

MNAA, the ‘Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga’ is the main museum. It’s housing the most relevant public collection from the 12th till the 19th century: painting, sculpture, silver, gold and jewelry. Take your time, because you need several hours to enjoy all of this. And take a look to the beautiful architecture of the building. It’s amazing.

http://www.museudearteantiga.pt/

Next stop is the ‘Museu da Agua’. It manages and promotes a group of buildings and monuments built in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. They mark an important period in the history of Lisbon’s water supply. You can follow a ‘museum route’ or make an underground walk with a guide. It’s magnificent and special.

http://www.epal.pt/EPAL/menu/museu-da-%C3%A1gua/apresenta%C3%A7%C3%A3o/hist%C3%B3ria

Lisbon Story center is a space dedicated to the city of Lisbon that combines knowledge and technology. It offers a 60-minute journey through time travelling across 20 centuries of history of the capital, from its foundation to the present day. A must to see.

https://lisboastorycentre.pt/

International Lisbon

Love the Brooklyn Bridge? Then visit the ‘Ponte 25 de Abril’. It was built by the American Bridge Company, which constructed the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, but not the Golden Gate.  With a total length of 2,277 m, it is the 32nd largest suspension bridge in the world. Until 1974, the bridge was named ‘Salazar Bridge’. The name ‘Ponte 25 de Abril’ commemorates the Carnation Revolution. You can get in ‘Pilar 7’ and visit the open view point. You not only can see the traffic of the city, but imagine that you are in Rio. Enjoy the big ‘Jesus Christ statue’.  But in the first place experience an amazing view from the platform.

https://www.visitlisboa.com/pilar-7-bridge-experience

Lisbon is an example for the world how to use ugly walls of buildings. They just make art of it with amazing street art. Buy the guide of all the pieces and enjoy magnificent paintings through the whole city. Some of them are from ‘Berdalo II’ and were used in a street art festival.  You need at least 2 days to see them all.

http://www.bordaloii.com/

Trendy Lisbon

Lisbon has many points of view like ‘Pilar 7’. For the Eurovision song contest fans, go lunch at ‘Myriad hotel’ and then take ‘Telecabine Lisboa’. It brings you to ‘the Park of Nations’, the latest area of Lisbon. You have an amazing view of Lisbon and the concert hall. Maybe you will spot one of the artists of the Eurovision song contest.

https://www.telecabinelisboa.pt/epages/2060-120119.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/2060-120119/Categories

At the end of the ride, you can visit ‘Oceanario de Lisboa’. It’s an example how an aquarium should be. The amazing central aquarium, that symbolizes the Global Ocean, hosts about a hundred species from four oceans. Surrounding this big aquarium, four marine habitats create the illusion that there is only one and single ocean. You see corals, sharks, penguins, sea otters and the most beautiful fish of the world. Take your time between the rehearsals because you surely need several hours to visit this place.

https://www.oceanario.pt/en

But the trendiest place is for sure ‘LX Factory’. Take an old factory site and transform it to the best place to visit: it hosts a Hostal, bars, trendy shops and restaurants. You still see the remains of the old factory. They used them in the different locations. The many rooms of the factory are used for small companies. I loved this place and worth a visit!

http://www.lxfactory.com/EN/welcome/

After a long day walking, take one of the old trams in the city to see the hotspots on an easy way. A special way to visit trendy Lisbon is by ‘Tuk Tuk’. They are Eco and bring you to one of the new trendy breweries of the city.

Enjoy the food of Lisbon

Lisbon has many places to eat and depending on your budget, you will enjoy the Portuguese specialties.

Use the app of ‘the Late Birds hotel’ and find the best cantinas of Lisbon. These restaurants for small budgets give you delicious meals in the places where people of Lisbon go eat themselves.

At the ‘Terreiro do Paço square’, the main square of Lisbon, you find ‘Can the Can’. This beautiful place with terrace offers you great food and an amazing view. It’s a typically Mediterranean cuisine, one defined by the use of natural, healthy ingredients as made the most of of Mediterranean peoples for more than 5,000 years.

The dishes are so healthy because they are based on a combination of fresh vegetables with quality canned fish, a product, rich in Omega 3 oils and without the need of preservatives.

But they do not just serve conserves. They use the best conserves within a concept of Mediterranean gastronomy. They elevate the conserves we use to the level of exclusive gastronomic products, at the same time as innovating in their recipes, joining fresh ingredients and placing a premium on quality of preparation and presentation.

http://canthecan.net/

If you like to try the great gastronomy, then visit the restaurants of Chef Jose Avillez. He stands out for his enterprising spirit and his willingness to always go one step further. He has several restaurants in Lisbon like ‘Belcanto’, ‘Bairro do Avillez’, ‘Mini Bar’, ‘Cantina Peruana’, ‘Cantinho do Avillez’, ‘Café Lisboa’ and ‘Pizzaria Lisboa’.

https://www.joseavillez.pt/en/

‘The Palacio Chiado’ is an elegant palace built in 1781 with beautiful architecture. In one place you have several restaurants and bars. You can order from all of them: meat, fish, and sushi. The architecture of the building is amazing! So enjoy during your dinner.

http://palaciochiado.pt/

But Lisbon’s national product is ‘Pastel de Nata’. It’s a Portuguese egg tart pastry. Taste it and for sure you will love it.

For lunch, try the Portuguese tapas: ‘Petiscos’. The best place is close to Altis Avenida Hotel.

Gay Lisbon

The gay life is divided in 2 parts. One with the LGBT friendly bars and terraces. The other one for the bars, discos and cruising places. Again, take the app of ‘Late Birds’ and know the best places to go.   But first take a nap after a day of walking. The fun starts late in the weekend. So enjoy the city and make new friends. You surely come back!

https://www.travelgayeurope.com/destination/gay-portugal/gay-lisbon/

So, let the best win the Eurovision Song Contest and come back to see more of this great city… with TAP of course!

https://www.visitlisboa.com/

Celebrity, a cruise with a heart for LGBT’s

October 2017, Touristicogay goes aboard the Celebrity Reflection. The next 11 days we will visit beautiful cities in the Mediterranean and notice the gay friendliness of this cruise agency.

The ship and the cabins

Celebrity Reflection is a Solstice-class cruise ship and with more than 3000 guests on board it’s a floating city. One of the goals of Celebrity is affordable luxury… and they show that with the big X in their logo.

We recommend taking at least a cabin with a balcony. Enjoy the sunset or drink a glass of wine when  you reaches one of the beautiful destinations. When you take the upgrade to the concierge class or suite class, the crew spoils you every day with snacks, drinks and special events like a sail away on the helicopter deck…. an incredible experience.

The cabins and bathroom are spacious, the beds comfortable and the sheets and pillows are blessed to sleep. Your personal attendant cleans your room 2 times a day and helps you with a smile when you have a question.

The restaurants

We only eat in the complimentary restaurants: buffet and main restaurant. The buffet restaurant is very spacious and a lot of different kitchens you can try. We were a little bit worried that after 11 days, we always would taste the same food, but the crew tried to bring every day something new. You also have different food stations… so no long queues.

The breakfast was varied and also here, many choices like eggs of your liking. They also had a healthy breakfast on the terrace.

The main restaurant is still with a first and second seating. If you are solstice class or higher, you can chose… but a reservation is necessary. Every day you have a new menu and we tried many of them. But many guests on the ship are American, the food too…

European’s have a different taste and sometimes you get crazy combinations like a shrimp cocktail with ketchup. In Europe we also have different kind of pastries and the European food was not always made like we know it. Is that bad? No, and the waiter will surely listen to the way you like your food on the plate. The same problem you will find in the buffet. Some European dishes are made the American way, so sometimes we had a strange taste.

If you like something special, just take one of the specialty restaurants. You get offers almost every day in your room.

If you’re staying up late, other companies serve food 24 hour, here only untill 1 am. So be sure you eat enough before partying.

The bars and entertainment

Celebrity is a modern luxury company, so no water slides here or big parties. Relaxing on the pool, enjoy the hot tub or the sauna, read a book or take a drink on the bar with live music. That’s why you go with Celebrity. We (and many other guests) liked the Martini bar (with an ice bar) where the Asian boys entertained the guest every evening with great cocktail shows. Loved it!

The most dance events took place on the floor of the grand foyer: special dance shows, parties, etc. The party goers can party at the sky lounge with a great dj and the theater is the place to be for wild entertainment.

Celebrity is not a party company, but despite that we had great shows in the theater and they even had their own productions. But… do not think you can party till 4 am. You are sailing with older guests, the bars close at 2am at the latest.. (maybe different during the summer holidays).

Every day you get a newsletter with the program of the day. Also here, you are not on a party ship. You find enough to do while at sea, but its smaller than for example on Royal Caribbean.

The LGBT friendliness on the cruise

Celebrity is mentioned as one of the most gay friendly cruise agencies in the world. LGBT people choose this kind of cruise because they do not like the big party cruises like ‘Atlantis’. They like to meet other LGBT people on the ship and enjoy a nice time either alone, with their partner or a group.

On the first day Celebrity organizes a LGBT social hour at the main bar. They announce it in the daily newspaper. The other days of the cruise you can find the LGBT social hours on the message board at guest relations. For sure, it’s a good idea of organizing this event to meet other LGBT people on the cruise… but the main bar is so crowded at that time that you not can socialize with other LGBT guests. You do not even know who is gay or not. Other cruise companies organize this event the first day with a member of the staff. Not everyone is so assertive to talk to strangers. A staff member can break the ice.

The gay-friendly destinations

But you chose this company for the destinations. And in this cruise many LGBT friendly  cities to visit. We make a selection of it.

Spain has been known as a gay-friendly country. In our program was the beautiful city of  Barcelona with an overnight stay. During the day you can enjoy the beauty of the city with the Ramblas, Sagrada Familia and the delicious food. But in the evening the city is known for its huge and vibrant gay life. Barcelona, a city that never sleeps!

A famous destination is Nice at the Côte d’Azur. You arrive at Villefrance. With the bus or the train you can visit the beautiful city in less than 30 min. Take a walk in the shopping street  before you enjoy the hot weather at the beach and its nice boulevard. But before you leave to the ship go visit the tourist office and ask for the gay map. The next time you are in Nice you will definitely visit the vibrant gay life of this city. Also visit their website for the latest events.

Malaga has been known as one of the most beautiful cultural cities in Spain. For the short time you are there visit the house of Picasso and make a walk on the promenade. The next time you come back just take the metro and in 30 min you are in Torremolinos. This beach city has an amazing gay life and 2 gay beaches.

When you arrive in Cartagena take a tour to Murcia. The historical city is fascinating and known for its Casino and Cathedral. But try to come back for the nightlife. Many LGBT’s visit the city for the gay life.

Ibiza is a vibrant island during summer. When you are a party animal, come back! After summer you better take a tour to see more of the cultural part of this island.

Celebrity or Royal Caribbean?

Many people ask me which company is the best: Royal Caribbean or Celebrity? First, they are both LGBT friendly and Royal has been chosen as the most gay friendly cruise agency of 2016.

But it all depends what you like on your cruise. For partying, water slides, shows, big entertainment and a younger crowd Royal Caribbean is the number one cruise. They even have the biggest cruise ships in their fleet. But if you like a little bit more luxury, a long stay at the destinations and a great kitchen then Celebrity is the cruise for you.

https://www.celebritycruises.com/

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/

 

Torremolinos, Malaga’s gay hotspot!

Ask a gay guy to mention a beach in Spain to party.. and they will most likely answer: Playa Del Ingles at Gran Canaria with its gay beach, Yumbo Centre, parties and hot guys… However, Last year I discovered Torremolinos. And I was surprised about the huge gay life over there. So, could it be a substitute for Gran Canaria? Let’s find out.

Take a plane to the beautiful city of Malaga, then take the metro and 1 hour later you ‘re lounging at the hotel’s swimming pool. But what are the pros and con’s of this beach city?

What to eat and where to stay

Torremolinos is famous for its huge hotels on the beach, but you can also find smaller places to stay at. If you prefer your hotel to be catered exclusively to the gay community, we can give you 2 options: Hotel Rituals and Hostal Guadalupe. Both places are close to the beach and the party locations.

Like Playa Del Ingles, you can find many fast-food restaurants, but Torremolinos and Malaga have great restaurants where you can eat Spanish food at a reasonable price. Also try the restaurant of Hostal Guadalupe: there you can have a 3-course meal with a drink for a great price… and it has to be said: it’s delicious.

The beach

Torremolinos hosts 2 gay beaches. Between them you find Eden beach bar with a nice terrace. On the boulevard you find a fancy place: El Gato lounge. But…the beach is less party minded then the one on Playa del Ingles: a bar, chairs and a beach… and no dunes for cruising. But nonetheless it all makes for a good place to enjoy the nice men and the great weather.

Let’s Party!

Playa Del Ingles has Yumbo center, Torremolinos La Nogalera. A huge place with many bars, discos, restaurants, shops and even a sauna. The most bars are modern and many have cruising areas. So start your evening at NA with a cocktail and then visit the happy hour of Free Eagle. That last bar has a free entrance and is a great place for fetish people. Then visit Men’s bar, Vida, Eden Copas and the best gay cocktail bar: La Bohemia.

The most bars and discos have cruising places, but you can also visit one of the many sex- and fetish clubs or one of the three gay saunas in the city (some of them have a lot of cute rent boys). Make sure to visit Querell, The Factory, Apolo sauna and sauna Atlas.

The discos start late. Aqua club has a nice bar with terrace and the disco (with cruising) is almost every day open. But on saturday everyone visits Centuryon! It’s a large disco, very beautiful and great music… When you leave this great disco…. it probably  will already light outside and time for breakfast!

The pros and contras

Why you should go to Torremolinos and why to Playa del Ingles?

Torremolinos has a huge and modern gay life, 2 beaches, nice restaurants, cheap drinks and you are close to many cultural cities like Malaga or Granada. But the weather is seasonal, and younger guys will visit the place in the weekend.

For the good weather you have to visit Playa Del Ingles. You can visit it the whole year around. Also the gay life is vibrant and the gay beach is more party minded. However, the bars are older, there are no cultural cities and the flights are more expensive.

But whatever your preferences, you are bound to have an unforgettable gay holiday at the beach.

https://www.carihuela.tips/torremolinos/

 

 

 

 

 

Roze Zaterdag Den Bosch: Iedereen Roze en een weerzien met Elof De Neve

Elk jaar kiest Nederland zijn Roze stad. Een heel jaar lang bereiden zij een uniek weekend voor met alle aspecten van een Pink Pride: cultuur, begrip, emancipatie, informatie en vooral veel feesten. Dit jaar waren ’s Hertogenbosch en Oss de gaststeden… en wij waren erbij!

’s Hertogenbosch of kortweg Den Bosch is de hoofdstad van de provincie Noord-Brabant. Tilburg is slechts 20 minuten rijden met de trein. Al vrij snel ontdekten we waarom deze stad zo bekend is bij shoppers. Het centrum is één groot winkelparadijs met kleine en grote straten. Shopaholics vinden hier zeker hun ding.

Roze Zaterdag draait om emancipatie, begrip, respect en samenhorigheid en dat viel onmiddellijk op als je de stad binnenreed. In elke wijk kleurden regenboogvlaggen de straten en huizen, inwoners liepen er met roze handtassen en de roze hoedjes en boa’s gingen als zoete broodjes over de toonbank. Het was duidelijk dat Den Bosch en Oss gay-friendly steden zijn waar je aanvaard wordt door elke inwoner.

Cultuur, info en vooral veel sfeer

Naast een roze kerkdienst en een cultuurroute kon de bezoeker zich vergapen aan een kleine canalpride waaraan verschillende doelgroepen deelnamen… zelfs de politie in uniform! In het park kon je kuieren langs de vele en diverse infostands en op het plein stond een podium met dans, zang en veel sfeer (Of lag dat aan de heerlijke frietjes en het biertje?). Ook de jongeren hadden hun eigen plek met een silent disco.  Op de markt stroomden ’s avonds stadsgenoten toe voor musical, dans, nationale en internationale sterren. De inwoners van Den Bosch lieten een heel weekend zien dat ze konden feesten en voor 1 weekend de roze stad van Nederland vormden.

Gay bar ‘Janika’

Zoals in vele steden verdwijnt er heel wat gayhoreca in Den Bosch. De stad telt nog slechts één gaybar: Janika. Een kleine, leuke bar waar kitsch troef is: oude Nederlandse platenhoezen aan de muur, een bar met luchters in de vorm van ananassen en twee fantastische barmannen maakten het plaatje compleet. Wat maakt de bar dan zo speciaal? De sfeer! Door de boxen galden de ene Nederlandse schlager na de andere. Wij stonden bijna op de tafels! Een avond leuke fun beleven? Dan is deze bar jouw plek!

https://www.facebook.com/Gaycafejanika/

Danse Le Duc: een weerzien met Elof de Neve

Een paar keer per jaar kan je feesten op Danse Le Duc, een partyconcept in Den Bosch met twee zalen, leuke muziek, mooie mensen en als headliner: Elof de Neve. Voor de Belgische bezoekers een leuk weerzien met de ex-resident dj van Red and Blue in Antwerpen. Dance Le Duc is jouw plek als je gewoon een leuke party wil beleven!

https://www.facebook.com/DanseLeDuc/

Den Bosch: een simpelweg leuke stad!

Den Bosch is naast een gay-friendly city gewoon een leuke stad om te vertoeven met leuke winkels, restaurantjes, bars en party’s. Je bent er vanuit Vlaanderen in 2 uur met de trein en met een weekendbiljet betaal je nog geen 30 euro!

https://www.bezoekdenbosch.nl/nl

Italy Gay Summer Pride in Gallipoli Puglia

Italy Gay Travels is proud to announce the first edition of Italy Gay Summer Pride! 4-day International Gay Beach Party on the beautiful Gallipoli bay from 21 till 25 september 2017.

Highlights

  • 3 or 4 night packages available. Starting from onl €390 per person, including Accommodation, Breakfast and the exclusiveItaly Gay Event Pass
  • Stay in the tallest hotel in Gallipoli, Bellavista Club, overlooking the Old Town with stunning 360degree views of the bays and beyond
  • Welcome Aperitif on Thursday Night, right on the beautiful bay of Gallipoli
  • VIP access to Samsara beach club for the duration of the event: cocktails, lunches and chilled outbeats (eat your heart out Café del Mar)
  • Exclusive Friday Night Party in Le Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons): a restored farmhouse now stage of our private Open Air Summer Party
  • Saturday Night Party at the biggest Gay Club of Southern Italy, Picador Village, infamously wellknown for the huge attendance of local talent
  • Shake that thing on Sunday afternoon at the Explosive Closure Party right on the beach of Gallipoli, at one of the most famous beach clubs in the world, Samsara
  • Indulge in local cuisine: Puglia is famous for its culinary excellence and fresh produce
  • Make new friends from all over the world
  • Discover still relatively unknown gems of Italy, Puglia and Salento
Welcome to Gallipoli, the Ibiza of Italy!
This year, for the first time, from 21st – 25th September 2017, Italy Gay Travels will be hosting the highly anticipated Italy Gay Summer Party.  A 4 day sensational Summer Party in one of the most beautiful undiscovered gems of Italy: the bay of Gallipoli (not in Turkey)!
Our Italy Gay Summer Party gives you the chance to discover one of the trendiest holiday destinations in Italy. Puglia is the talk on everyone’s lips and it is no surprise the gay community in Italy and around the world are flocking here. Gallipoli, and Puglia as a region, is developing a reputation for openness and tolerance. For this reason, Italy Gay Travels is confident that everybody can feel safe and be themselves in this beautiful stretch of Paradise.
Italy Gay Summer Party is held in the heart of Salento, an awe inspiring natural landscape in the southernmost tip of Italy (sunshine guaranteed). Amazing food, Caribbean like sandy beaches, hot boys and friendly locals
should we go on?
Our long weekend is packed with beach, fun and sun! Stay with us at the Bellavista Club, a hotel with 360 degree views of the coast of Gallipoli and smack bang in the center of the action! Our 3 or 4 nights packages (starting from as little as €390 per person) include shared accommodation (in rooms for 2, 3 or 4 people) including a hearty breakfast. Of course, you can also choose to stay alone with a single occupancy charge☺
The hotel has amazing views of the old city too: you can use your free time to meander through the old city walls soaking up history and a bygone culture of artisans working in their workshops.
If you prefer, you can book your own accommodation in the area and simply purchase the Italy Gay Event Pass. The Italy Gay Event Pass includes:
● Exclusive access to the VIP area of Samsara, one the most famous Beach Clubs in the world. This is valid for the duration of the tour and includes 2 free drinks (who doesn’t like cocktails on the Beach?).
● One Free drink and canapes over the bay of Gallipoli on the Welcome Aperitif Evening
● Entrance Ticket to Mine Vaganti Party on the Friday night, 2 drinks included
● Entrance Ticket to the main party, Italy Gay Summer Official Party, at Picador village, an exclusively gay club in Salento (get to know the local flavours of the area), 2 drinks included
● Free bus/shuttle night transfer to and from the venues to and from Bellavista Club
● 2 Meal vouchers to be used at the BellaVista Club, Le Sirene EcoResort and the Jolly Hotel Gallipoli (lunch or Dinner). Feel free to use them at any time during your stay
● Access to the swimming pool and private beach areas of Le Sirene EcoResort and the Jolly Hotel Gallipoli
Have a look at the programme 0f Italy Gay Summer Party below. Just remember: Don’t feel obliged to go to the beach every day! If you prefer sightseeing or taking a cooking lesson or two, there are various other add-on options you can take. These include:
● A guided excursion to Santa Maria di Leuca (another gem on the Adriatic Coast). Enjoy a lunch at a seaside restaurant, a cooking lesson learning to make local dishes and tasting session of typical Salento liquors in a farm stable from 1800 in Villa La Meridiana
● An exclusive excursion by boat to visit the sea caves.
● Plenty other tours in and around Salento
Feel free to email us at info@italygaytravels.com for more details and to find out the cost of these add-ons.
Day 1 (Thursday)
Welcome
For those arriving today, settle into the hotel and come and say hi in the meet and greet area! Get information about the Italy Gay Summer Party and collect your welcome pack. After, do as you please: relax, or have a stroll of the town. In the evening join our Sunset Aperitif over the bay of Gallipoli: you will get to meet your fellow Italy Gay Party goers and your hosts, Scruffy Gios and Kendall. Afterwards, feel free to stay at the bar or grab an artisan gelato in the old town. Gallipoli has many bars, restaurants and cafes: the night is always young here!
Day 2 (Friday)
Your Italy Gay Event Pass gives you unlimited VIP access to Samsara, one of the most exclusive beachclubs in the world. Why not hire a bike and cycle there along the beauti
ful Gallipoli coast? Or, if you are feeling lazy, just take the hotel transfer. Samsara beach club is set on a beautiful long stretch of sandy Caribbean like beaches and has relaxing chillout music throughout the day. Sip on cocktails or refreshing local beers, and grab some food. Gallipoli beaches are a great place to forget the troubles of city life and really get into the vibe of Salento: just relax and breathe! Every afternoon at Samsara the
music picks up a notch and you can watch the sun going down over the bay while getting into the party spirit with DJ beats.
At night join the Italy Gay Summer Party at Mine Vaganti. Set within an idyllic natural area near Gallipoli, this Masseria will give you a taste of the beautiful local countryside. Surrounded by acres and acres of ancient olive trees, you will feel like a celebrity partying in this private exclusive farmstead. This is a truly unique experience!
Day 3 (Saturday)
For those who are feeling fresh and sprucely, feel free to wander through the old or new town of Gallipoli or again go to the beach. There are many natural wonders to discover and secret nooks and crannies. Why not use your meal vouchers for lunch or dinner at the selected restaurants trying out the local dishes and delicate wines?
The highly-anticipated Italy Gay Main Party will kick off at Picador Village. Join the fun at this all gay village set outdoors with amazing stage areas and a unique party experience you will not forget. The party will have all the bells and whistles that you are expecting with amazing DJ sets to keep those moves busting all night long. The venue is very popular with local talent: you will have plenty of opportunities to try out the local cuisine, we promise its not as spicy as it appears!
Day 4 (Sunday)
Those feeling a little rough around the edges, have a hearty breakfast (included if you stay with us at Bellavista Club) and chill out at the pool, or head down to Samsara Beach Club. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to be in time for the Explosive Closure Party
on the beach of Gallipoli, at Samsara. Our DJs will keep you moving on the sand all afternoon, until the sun goes down, with their best beats.
We hope you have the time of your life with us! And we hope to see you back again in 2018!