Category Archives: Gay Europe

Euro Pride 2016 Deals and Packages

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EuroPride 2016

 

Europride is a pan-European international event dedicated to LGBT pride, hosted by a different European city each year. The host city is usually one with an established gay pride event or a significant LGBT community.

For up to a fortnight, numerous sporting and artistic events are staged throughout the host city. Europride usually culminates during a weekend with a traditional Mardi Gras-style pride parade, live music, special club nights, and an AIDS memorial vigil.

 

I will once again be hosting a group for one of the largest Pride celebrations in Europe when Amsterdam welcomes EuroPride August 3-8

Don’t miss this year’s incredible “Canal Parade”, the only Pride celebrated on water, and the parties, concerts, and celebrations.

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Our package includes 5 nights hotel stay, buffet breakfast, Red Light District Tour, Canal cruise and my assistance services on location.

*Prices subject to change and depend on availability at time of booking. Central hotels sell out fast so make your reservations now!

**Price is land only

***Airfare is not included. Air quotes upon request.

Call Dave 1-800-942-1280

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Gay London Grindr Warning

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Gay Travel to Cardiff Wales

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Cardiff’s sequins and glitter

By Sebastian Saenz @sebastiaenz

Madrid, San Francisco, Puerto Vallarta, even Tel Aviv… gay tourists have plenty of locations to chose from all over the world to let themselves go. However, personal experiences have taught me that, even though some gay Meccas are true musts, gay tourists shouldn’t overlook some little places that actually may have a lot to offer, such as Cardiff, Wales.

This city is truly underrated. I myself have not even heard its name until my early twenties, when I was looking for universities to get my masters degree. All I’ve ever heard of Wales (like most people) was that certain controversial and beautiful princess from there died in a tragic car accident in the 90s. Apparently, people into sports (ew) may have also heard from the Welsh rugby or soccer teams. However, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones are from Cardiff, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Duffy are Welsh, and Rihanna, Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue have included Cardiff in their tours.

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Surprisingly, when I got to the tiny nation, my inner tourist was amused by the friendliness of the locals, the unexpected masses of international students, the delicious (and zero-diet-friendly) welsh cakes, the sublime Millennium Centre, the outstanding Millennium Stadium (which I actually visited a few times, I swear), the nice bay, the peaceful Bute Park (great to watch topless guys playing Frisbee when it’s warm), the overwhelming National Museum and Art Gallery (which portrays a wing for local LGBTQ personalities), the artistic Chapter Center, and the historic Castle. Mostly a city of “uni” students, Cardiff may be surrounded by sheep and hills, but it is not pretentious like posh London. Everything is walkable and cheaper!

There is another thing that most people outside the UK also ignore about Cardiff: it is the British Vegas. People from the whole continent visit it during long summer weekends to have fun, drink and dance with no inhibitions. People find any reason to wear costumes. Bars are open since lunch time till three or four in the morning. Of course, Friday and Saturday nights are always busy, but if you’re thirsty on a Monday or Tuesday afternoon, you’ll even find a small crowd in most bars. This obviously comes with some perks, such as barefoot ladies with bright talons, drag queen makup and flashy leggins avoiding piss puddles outside The Live Lounge (the college bar par excellence) on their way to Maccy D, or cheeto-tanned muscular lads from the Valleys having chicken curry and chips and taking selfies with cops before heading to The Prince of Wales (two pitchers for 12 quid). And the atmosphere gets even wilder during rugby game days (broadcasted at any bar, gay or straight), because even though the game may be from two to five, true Welsh people drink from dawn til the last straight man wearing a bachelorette party veil stands semi-conscious.

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Shall we start with options for our community? Due to the young population, Cardiff has a broad mind, and pretty much the whole city is friendly. You can spot a few same sex couples holding hands on St. Mary St. or Queen St. If you stay long enough, pretty soon you’ll start running into the same people all the time (the population is around the 325 thousand), but for such a tiny city, there are numerous gay (and very straight friendly) options concentrated at the City Center (barhopping is almost mandatory). Icon is great to start drinking (ask for a deadly Glitter Bomb), drag shows, contests and show tunes of Wow are broadly famous, Minsky’s is huge for hen nights, Locker Room is the gay sauna, bears concentrate at Eagle (duh), daddies at The Golden Cross, and most students from LGBTQ uni societies enjoy dancing at the Pulse basement. If possible, try to visit during the Mardi Grass. Oh, and before I forget, Cardiff may not be a fashion capital of the world (Londoners actually consider it a tad tacky) but if you’re in a shopping mood, St. David’s mall and Primark will satisfy your labels thirst.

Getting used to the strong accent is completely worth the experience, Love. Be ready for one pint after the other, but culture and warm smiles as well. Don’t forget to get an issue of Attitude Magazine to have material to break the ice. Oggy Oggy Oggy Oi Oi Oi!

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Gay Travel to PARIS France

gay travel paris france

A gay tourist in Paris

 
By Sebastián Sáenz @sebastiaenz

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Last time I checked, Paris is the most visited city by tourists every year in the world. I cannot tell you a lot of new things about the romance of the river, the imperial buildings, the ancient streets, the traditional monuments, the countless museums or the vibe that has inspired artists for centuries. What I can tell you is how a gay tourist can make the most out of it. Of course any tourist with a little self respect must visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Opera, Champs Élysées, the Seine and the Arc of Triumph (which might take at least two very organized and tiring days). And there will always be plenty of other things to do: Le Sacré-Cœur, L’Orangerie, Le Musee d’Orsay, walking tours, bus tours, night tours and Versailles (which is a bit away from the city, so don’t forget to check times and dates in advance, and block almost a whole day). Let’s start with some basics:

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First of all, I beg you: regarding food, stay away from all international fast food chains (you may also apply this at home). This is one of the most exquisite cuisines in the world, with centuries of tradition. I’m not saying that you should invest thousands of euros every night in an extravagant confit du canard and pâté with champagne. I’m just suggesting to stay away from McDo and Starbucks (which are always packed with tourists anyway). A street crepe or a quick visit to one of the thousands of patisseries in Paris can fill you with delicious, cheap and local food. If you visit a café, make sure to sit outside if the weather is nice, and facing the street (some waiters even ask you not to move the chairs). Order “un café”, and enjoy the espresso just like locals do.

NEVER call your waiter with “garçon”, it’s rude and they hate it.

Regarding French wine, there are as well thousands of liquor stores in which you can get a nice bottle at any price range imaginable. Finally, you may constantly notice that Parisians carry with them little mint colored carton bags, which belong to the famous macaron house of Ladurée. You do not want to miss getting a mixed box, so, I STRONGLY recommend to get a reservation at the Champs Élysées store (in order to avoid waiting for hours), or visit any other store in the city.

 

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As for Parisians, I believe you might get a very nice surprise.

Locals have a global fame of being rude and arrogant (especially with tourists), but the times I’ve beet to Paris I’ve only encountered nice, or at least polite people. Never have I been insulted or discriminated. Even when locals see me struggling with a primitive French, they switch to English if they can in order to help tourists in need. Let them kiss you twice when they meet you in order to avoid awkward situations (they’ll know when it’s appropriate). And, obviously, Parisians are a great mix of European, Middle Eastern and African races, which has resulted in very attractive mix for every taste. So, now you have every reason to talk to someone at a bar.

Le Marais, the gay district,

has offered us everything par excellence since the 80s. This historic and trendy (even aristocratic) district is the place to be if you want to feel among our people. It’s central enough to get there comfortably, but far enough from the chaos of the main attractions. Between the third and the fourth districts, you can get there with the yellow, brown or pink line. As one of one of the gay capitals of the continent, it is commercial, leisurely and edgy. It is allegedly the only official gay neighborhood in France, so, it has obviously attracted gay people from the whole country as permanent residents. If you’re hungry, Le Gai Moulin is a cozy and unpretentious restaurant, and Legay Choc is a delicious and kinky patisserie. For a good night sleep (yeah right…), the boutique hotel Caron de Beaumarchais is a beautiful 18th century mansion that will make you feel like Marie Antoinette. And for serious partying, Raidd, Velvet and Le Dépôt (one of the largest cruising bar in Europe) are guaranteed fun, and maybe even a few phone numbers.

 

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Let us finish with a guilty pleasure: fashion. Needless to say this is one of the major fashion capitals in the world, so you may want to be careful not to commit a crime. If you go during winter, try to wear the most elegant and simple black coat you can get. Walking down Les Champs is like a glamorous runway of dark shadows. Since fashion changes, I enjoy going a bit neutral and stylish (casual chic, not haute couture). Trench coats, blazers and long scarves are nice and safe options. Pay attention to the trends on the streets and the subway. Study the looks you like, see if they are common, and then try to imitate it or, even better, go shopping for that look. Unless you are a world famous hip-hop star, don’t do tacky clichés by wrapping yourself in Chanel or Vuitton (locals enjoy the later in particular), especially if it’s fake. And for parfums and colognes, avoid the top 10 sellers or the iconic ones like Chanel No. 5 or Abercrombie if you don’t want to smell like half the city (or the world). Try to identify the smells you already like (musk, wood, oils, flowers and fruits), or certain perfumes for that matter, in order to get something different and authentic, and get help from a shop assistant (that’s what they’re for). At Galleries Lafayette or Bon Marché you’ll be able to find the scent of your dreams.

A few last minute advices for the City of Lights: you might want to get the Paris Pass (parispass.com) in order to save money and spare lines, as well as a travel card for the metro if you are staying for a few days. If you are interested on a performance at the Moulin Rouge or the Opera, book in advance. And please do not bring back any Eiffel Tower keychains for your family and friends, I have at least four, none of which I bought. Bring back cheese, wine, macarons, Maxim’s chocolates or nice designer accessories.

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Gay Travel in LONDON

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London: exciting, regal and friendly

By Sebastián Sáenz
@sebastiaenz

Not as rainy as people tend to think it is, mighty old London has a lot to offer to its visitors. Yes, we all know about the bridge, the abbey, the tower, the river, the eye, the park, the square, the palace and the clock; but as a gay tourist myself I also tried more than a few “alternative lifestyle” options that satisfy the LGBT community.

Obviously we are talking about one of the most progressive cities in one of the most progressive countries in the world, so we have a wide range of activities from sunrise to sun… rise. During the day there are so many places in which, even though it might not be an official LGBT convention, it just looks like everybody got a memo. The Fashion and Textile Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design, or ANY West End musical are a few examples in which Grindr just keeps buzzing, a great chance for cruising while actually doing something productive and cultural.

 

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And speaking of fashion, needless to say this is a major fashion capital of the world. Just walking down the city center or by taking the Tube is enough to appreciate all sorts of ensembles: hipster, trendy, extravagant, posh, punk… you name it, locals are not afraid since they have seen it all. This is a city that inspires any wardrobe, a great chance to get a nice trench, flashy mocs, or comfy chinos.

Londoners are not afraid of tattoos, prints and bright colors, they are daringly classy. If you don’t have enough to buy more than cookies at Harrods or Selfridges, Primark has a good (and accessible) supply if you want anything different than the “I<3GB” T, but by far my strongest recommendation is Topshop/Topman.

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You might want to buy your clothes one size bigger, since the food in this town is to die for (contrary to its old reputation). Jamie Oliver, the chef du jour, has restaurants all over the island, but there are so many places to go. Covent Garden has amazing little independent bakeries, Bo Dean’s BBQ will make you lick your fingers, The Breakfast Club is THE PLACE TO GO for the weekend brunch, and even Wahaca offers exquisite Mexican food (who would have thought?!). So, you may want to get the must meat pie, fish and chips and kebabs, but just once, don’t stick to those.

And now, the cocktail menu. Bank, the financial district, is the best area to go to after six if you want to grab a pint and start getting a glimpse of the attractive 9-5 workers in tight shirts and dress pants. However, our community gathers in Soho: central, hip and fun. Just try to stay close to Old Compton St. and Rupert St., everything you need can be found there, from bars, restaurants and clubs to hostels, boutiques and sex shops. For a memorable night of drinking and dancing, Ku and G-A-Y are mandatory, a bit further is Heaven, and at Vauxhall (on the other side of the river) there is Eagle and XXL if you feel a bit more kinky.

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If you can, try to visit during Pride Weekend, St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween; the party is insane. Londoners love their rugby and their soccer, so even if you don’t know much about the rules, the names of the teams or the players; the atmosphere at any bar (even gay bars) is guaranteed fun. And if you want some ice breakers, an issue of Gay Times Magazine or Attitude Magazine will give you plenty of material to talk about what everybody is talking about (usually Britain’s Got Talent/Eurovision, 1D or Tom Daley).

Elton John, George Michael, Sir Ian McKellen, you and me… as we can see, London embraces many queens besides the one on Spur Rd. Museums, history, tours and hot men with sexy accents (who also happen to love foreign accents, by the way) are waiting for all of us, so let’s pack our bags. Cheers mates!

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Gay Marriage Comes to the UK! Great Britain to Celebrate next!

The whole freaking world will have gay marriage before the US does!

Assoc. Press – The French like to make fun of the British, joking about their
repressed ways in matters of the heart. But when it came time to debate
same-sex marriage, it was France that betrayed a deep conservative
streak in sometimes violent protests — while the British showed
themselves to be modern and tolerant.

With little fanfare or controversy, Britain announced Wednesday
that Queen Elizabeth II — hardly a social radical — had signed into law
a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in England and Wales. France has
also legalized gay marriages, but only after a series of gigantic
protests attracting families from the traditional heartland that
revealed a deeply split society.



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Gay Hate Crimes on the Rise in Paris

Paris may be the city of love – but not homo love. Even though France recently signed a bill for Marriage Equality – gay hate crimes and hate speech are on the rise. 

How does someone have that much hate – to inflict pain – or death – to another human being? Why can’t people just let people be?
Assaults on members of the gay community and incidents of
homophobic hate speech have risen sharply in France over the last year,
according to the annual report by a leading gay rights group, released
on Tuesday.

  Attacks on gay women and men and homophobic speech spiked last year
in the run-up to the French parliament’s approval of a bill
allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, said a leading
gay rights watchdog on Tuesday.

In its annual report, SOS
Homophobie said it recorded 1,977 calls on its helpline in 2012, a 27
percent increase over the previous year.

The group’s head,
Elisabeth Ronzier, said the last few months of 2012 and the start of
this year were “intense,” with hate speech increasing
sharply, especially on the Internet.

She said incidents had doubled in October and November when compared to the previous year, and tripled in December. Read more. 

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ABBA Museum will Open in Stockholm Sweden

MAMA MIA!

A museum dedicated to Swedish pop group ABBA is to open next year in Stockholm. 

The museum, backed by former member Bjorn Ulvaeus, will feature some of the band’s glitzy stage costumes, instruments and other mementos. Visitors will also be able to sing along to Abba songs alongside life-size holograms of the group. 
Ulvaeus said he hoped all four former ABBA members would attend the opening, set for April or May, but ruled out any chance of a stage comeback. ABBA’s music lives on, with millions of albums sold each year, and through the highly popular stage and film musical “Mamma Mia!”. The city of Stockholm has long considered building a museum for Sweden’s most successful pop group but previous plans fell through. This time, the building is already under construction near a theme park on Djurgarden, one of the Swedish capital’s many islands.
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Temple Hotel has First Gay Youth Hostel in Prague


We LOVE PRAGUE. I still think about moving there and debating if I can pack up my life and make the move……

Prague ; Czech: Praha pronounced [ˈpraɦa]  is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic and fourteenth largest city in the European Union.

Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the
city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is
estimated to have a population of nearly 2.0 million. The city has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and chilly winters.

Our friends at Club Temple, Little Temple and Hotel Temple  are now launching the first  ever gay youth hostel in Prague! Conveniently located to everything! Shared rooms and private rooms.

This is the 1st gay hostel in Prague..under 25 years old..300kc. Per night shared room!

Plus hot summer deals on their hotel suites!   @  CLUB TEMPLE

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2011, Prague was the sixth most visited city in Europe.

Prague and the Czech Republic have earned a (generally accurate)
reputation of being more liberal than its neighbours to the east like
Poland or the Baltic States, and Czechs’ attitudes towards issues like
gay rights or drugs are far more tolerant. Homosexuality in the Czech
Republic is legal and the minimum age of consent is 15. The biggest
example of the Czech Republic’s progressive policies towards the
homosexual community would be its passing of historic legislation
legalizing registered partnerships for same-sex couples in July 2006.
There are no laws concerning tourists with HIV/AIDS. The number of
HIV/AIDS sufferers in the country is low.

This means that Prague has far more gay and gay-friendly clubs than
most Eastern European cities, and is quickly becoming a popular travel
destination for gay tourists. By some estimates, nearly 600,000 visitors
to Prague per year have used services aimed at the homosexual community
– though those numbers might be overblown, as most gay clubs don’t deny
entrance to heterosexual guests. Either way, gay tourism has definitely
been on the rise since the 1990s. More than half a dozen new bars or
clubs have opened up in the last year alone and there are around 25 gay
bars, discos and saunas in the city as a whole.

CLUB TEMPLE and HOTEL TEMPLE

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Prague Pride Returns in August 2012

PRAGUE PRIDE OVERCOMES POLITICAL CONTROVERSY TO BECOME THE BIGGEST LGBT FESTIVAL IN CENTRAL EASTERN EUROPE



Last year the first ever Prague Pride was organized amid political
controversy, when Czech president Václav Klaus openly criticized having a
Pride event in the capital of the Czech Republic. In spite of his
statements the first Prague Pride was an overwhelming success, with more
than 25.000 visitors. The event turned out to be a human rights
manifestation as well as a celebration all over the city, which had a
lasting impression on all those present.

Prague Pride 2012 will be held from 13 to 19 August 2012 on various attractive locations in the Czech capital.

The ambition of the organizing team is to attract an even higher number
of visitors than last year. With 7 days filled with entertainment,
debates, concerts, exhibitions, theatre and more, Prague Pride 2012 will
represent the Czech LGBT+ community in its full colour and diversity.
With Prague Pride still being a relatively new event, it has a fresh
atmosphere of activism combined with fun, which can no longer be found
in many other, more commercial Prides.

The theme of this year festival is “Bringing our colours together”
with the aim to introduce the general public to the LGBT communities
that are usually hidden from the public eye, such as LGBT Roma, disabled
or transgender persons.

The highlight of the festival will be the parade through the
city centre and the consecutive concert at Střelecký Island on Saturday
the 18th of August
. The route of the Parade will
take the participants from the famous Wenceslav square to the beautiful
Střelekcy Island, where a concert will be held with many local and
international stars.

“We want to show the Czech society as well as visitors from abroad
that we will continue to put Prague on the map as Central and Eastern
Europe’s capital of diversity and as one of Europe’s main LGBT travel
destinations.“  the director of the festival Czeslaw Walek says. By
giving Prague Pride 2012 his auspices, the mayor of Prague acknowledges
the significance of its LGBT community, with Prague Pride becoming a
tradition in Europe’s LGBT summer season.

Prague Pride

* Need a Place to stay?   The Temple!

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Hidden Gardens of Paris

A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands

of the City of Light

For the seasoned Parisian traveller or the novice looking to
get off the beaten track Susan Cahill provides a roadmap to parts of the city
most visitors will never see….

In a city that is
the destination of millions of travelers every year, it can be
difficult to find your way to its lovely, serene spaces.  Away from the
madding crowds, the gardens of Paris offer the balm of flowers, tall old
trees, fountains, ponds, sculptures, with quiet Parisians reading Le Monde, taking the sun, relishing the peace. 

These places are often tucked away, off the beaten tourist track, and without a guide they’re easy to miss: The Jardin de l’Atlantique, out of sight on the roof of Gare Montparnasse. The enchanting Jardin de la Vallée Suisse, invisible from the street, accessible only if you know how to find the path. The Square Boucicaut, its children’s carousel hidden inside a grove of oak and maples. Square Batignolles, the shade of the old chestnut trees an inspiration to the painter édouard Manet and poet Paul Verlaine.

Hidden Gardens of Paris features 40 such oases in quartiers
both posh and plain, as well as dozens of others “Nearby” to the
featured green space.  It is arranged according to the geographic
sections of the city—Île de la Cité, Left Bank, Right Bank, Western Paris, Eastern Paris—a lively and informative guide that focuses on each place as a site of passionate cultural memory. 

Beautifully rendered, THE HIDDEN GARDENS OF PARIS is not only a useful tour guide, but a tribute to
the gardens as sites of passionate cultural memory, revealing the history and personalities of Paris past and present. 

About the Author

SUSAN CAHIL has published four travel books on Italy and
Ireland. She is the editor of the bestselling Women and Fiction series
and author of the novel Earth Angels. She spends a few months in
Paris every year. MARION RANOUX, a native Parisian, is an experienced
freelance photographer and translator into French of Czech literature.

Get the book at AMAZON!
Hidden Gardens of Paris: A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands of the City of Light

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Birmingham UK Shows New Gay Mascot for Village

Birmingham Pride is the largest free gay and
lesbian event in the United Kingdom.

It takes place in
Birmingham  – this year  June  2 & 3, 2012.
. The spectacular ‘Carnival
Parade’ passes through the city-centre from Victoria Square and makes
its way through the streets of the city to the “gay village”.

Launched from Victoria Square in Birmingham’s city centre at 12 noon on Saturday 2nd  the Carnival Parade route will be our best and most visible procession through the city ever! 

 This year it will wind its way down Colmore Row, and include other streets like Bull Street, Temple Street, Colmore Row and New Street, before finishing right in the heart of the Gay Village area for festival-goers to continue the celebrations.

Huge tents act as nightclubs for gay and straight revellers alike. In
the daytime, specialist stalls and fairground rides make good
entertainment. Many famous music acts perform on stage throughout the
festival. Take a look at the Birmingham Pride Website


A huge, rhinestone-encrusted sculpture of a rhinoceros  is planned to mark entry to the city’s gay village.But it may be installed in time for Pride –

Partly funded by Birmingham’s LGBT
group and remaining cash from grants awarded for the council’s
initiative to improve the city centre, the horned beast will stand at
the junction of Bromsgrove and Hurst Streets as a mascot for the city’s
gay village. The sculpture’s bling armoury is intended to reflect
Birmingham’s history as a jewellery-producing city.

The full cost of the model, is £15,000 with Birmingham City
Council providing the bulk. Those behind the beast said that a rhino had
been chosen as they are “associated with strength and were originally a
symbol of the gay rights movement in the United States.”

David Viney of Birmingham LGBT told the Birmingham Mail: “This is a
hugely exciting project that represents the culmination of four years’
work between Birmingham LGBT and the city council to create a truly
iconic piece of art.”

Not everyone was quite so enthusiastic about the project, however,
and a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Taxpayers will wonder
why Birmingham City Council are blowing money on public art at a time
when it’s pleading poverty in other areas. Art projects like this are
capable of raising money for themselves.”


see also   Birmingham UK  Gay Places

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Gay Sitges Carnival Feb 16-22

More than 200,000 people will visit Sitges, Spain during the Carnival
festivities with all of the gay bars open in town, two huge parades on
the Saturday and Tuesday and more glitter than you have ever seen! Feb. 16-22.

There are still great locations and great deals!

Carnival has to be Sitges’ wildest party. Even though it is on in
February it is still the hottest party in town! On the most popular days
you will find  partygoers dancing on the major streets
across the town.

The busy months of July and August look positively
dead! Gay boys and girls from the 4 corners of the world descend on our
little town and party the week away!

Jueves Lardero or Fat Tuesday,marks the beginning of carnival with a
huge celebration of local dishes and the arrival of the King of the
Carnestoltes and ends with the Burial of a Sardine on Ash Wednesday.
There’s more to do than eat, though.

Sitges Carnival is a full 7 days of parties and events. The King arrives on Thursday
the 16th of February, however the gay parties kick off the week before from Saturday the 11th.

Each of the gay bars and clubs has their own theme and their own special night so there is always something to do. And remember its all about your costume so make sure you bring something sparkly.

Get more details online!

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Christmas Holiday in Prague


This year, why not spend your Christmas Holidays differently…

Prague is undeniably one of the most alluring cities in the world and its peculiar Holidays and traditions just make Prague stand out among the rest. 

This year why not try to experience a different Christmas Holidays in Prague. 

  It would be great to have a different kind of experience and spending a holiday in Prague can be a refreshing adventure.

Prague has become one of the favorite destinations of visitors all around the world.  You can make earlier plans to go to Prague to be in time for St. Nicholas Tradition being celebrated in Prague every 5th of December.   On the said day parents make a trip to Old Town Square with their children to see the celebration in full effect between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. During this time, children in Prague receive their St. Nicholas presents from their parents, family friends, and relatives.  The traditional gifts being given to children are sweets and chocolates that will be put inside the stocking and hidden within the room of the child or children. Christmas Holidays in Prague just can’t get any better. 




The story of the tradition dates back in 4th century in Greece when a bishop known as Nicholas left something for three poor girls on the windowsill in a form of gift money to help them in getting married.  On the evening of St. Nicholas Tradition don’t be surprised to run into some strange characters that represent St. Nicholas, the Angel, and the Devil.  All are wearing costumes and St. Nicholas’ costume is almost the same as that of the traditional Santa Claus costume known all over the world.  One can say that Christmas Holidays in Prague officially began on December 5th.

Aside from the opening celebration of Christmas Holidays in Prague, there are also Christmas markets in Prague that had been a part of their tradition that tourists also enjoy visiting.  Children will have a different kind of experience that will enrich their lives forever.  Prague is a city that can offer some unique and memorable experiences that can be treasured forever.


The most popular markets are on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square where Christmas items are sold in 70 to 80 stands. Smaller ones are located on Namesti Republiky, Havelske Trziste and Namesti Miru. They are all easily accessible by subway.


The markets themselves consist of traditional wooden chalets that line the market squares and are nicely decorated. You will find there traditional Christmas decorations, holiday items and hand-crafted gifts together with fresh food and drinks. They are usually open from 9am to 7pm.






A Magnificent place to stay right near everything is  JEWEL  HOTEL. Originally build as a old bourgeoisie house. Some of the original brickwork from the beginning of 13th century can be found in it’s basement.Over the centuries the house was rebuild many times and therefore many architectural styles can be found here. The gold painted ceiling with the motifs of jewels in the ground floor is very unique and is also heritage listed. This decoration was created at the beginning of the 20th century when a prestigious jeweler come into the building. The repair of the crown jewels of Czech Monarchs was one of his many commissions. Therefore the name – Jewel (U Klenotníka). The whole building was reconstructed and turned into a hotel in 1994. The house kept it’s historical look, but at the same time it is elegantly furnished with modern interior and some art pieces of contemporary artist were installed.

They also offer special packages, like a Wine Appreciaition package, Girls Getaway package,  and  a Romance gift basket. Jewel Café Bar and Restaurant is connected to the hotel. It  will absorb you with its uniqueness and ambient atmosphere. More than 10,000 crystals will attract your eyes. Sense of smell and taste will be satisfied with our fine modern cuisine. Every two months  a new menu is created  by the chefs. Amazing food – reasonably priced. Check availability and book online!



December 24 is the most gratifying day of the Christmas Holidays in Prague.  Its Czech name when translated means ‘Generous Day’ which can be attributed to the food being served for dinner at Christmas.  The eve of Christmas for many Czechs usually has connections with their superstitious beliefs that have something to do with destiny, love, and life.  One Czech tradition at Christmas believes that fasting in that particular day will make them see the ‘golden piglet’ when night falls.

Christmas Holidays in Prague will truly be one great experience to enjoy.  Czechs have many exciting and peculiar things to offer and all are treasures worth experiencing.

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Gay Jazz blossoms in Europe – GALLAVIN is Mad About The Boy


Pully  Switerland….
Pully
is a municipality in Switzerland in the canton of Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron.

It is one of the eastern suburbs of the city of Lausanne, located on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and at the foot of the vineyards of Lavaux on the road to Vevey and Montreux.

While it may not be the gayest place on earth, you can find Gallavin there! 

Gallavin swings with the boundaries of genders. Independent jazz singer, Gallavin releases his first music video of “Mad about the Boy”, Noël Coward most famous song.

JAZZ AND GAY…With the participation of the artists-travesties of the Cabaret-Bar “Chez Maman” in Brussels, the Anglo-Swiss jazz singer plays with the social norms, and offers a music video rich of identities but also sexual diversities.

In the velvet world of vocal jazz, no one was expecting that the song of Noël Coward Mad about the Boy, mostly known for Dinah Washington’s interpretation, could be once sung by a man.

And yet, it seems that Noël Coward had in fact written that song for his long term partner Graham Payn, a South-African actor. Gallavin intends, through his interpretation, to give the song its original essence back, and places himself beyond the traditional values of vocal jazz where one is either a “Crooner” or a “Diva”.

Willing to question the social norms of a musical world rather conservative, Gallavin casts the artists-travesties of the legendary Cabaret-Bar “Chez Maman” in Brussels. They become the time of the song the main characters blurring the lines between genders and sexual attraction, and opening a world where girls, who are actually boys, are mad about a boy who is in love with a girl, who was once a boy…

The music video of Mad about the Boy can be seen on Gallavin’s Internet website Gallavin.com or on Gallavin’s Youtube page Youtube.com/user/MrGallavin.


Steven William Derendinger (- Gallavin) was born on the 27th September 1975 in Sierre. Swiss and British, he grew up in Lausanne where he studied at the University of Lausanne and was graduated
with a Master of Arts (MA).

He began to sing as an autodidact and took part in different local musical productions. He formed the jazz band “Late Nights” in 1999, with which he performed in different
venues such as the Cully Jazz Festival. He recorded previously in 1996 a demo album with seven original songs with his band “Mind the Sun.”

In parallel, Steven committed as a volunteer for the LGBT rights where he worked from August 2004 until March 2010 as president of the Association VoGay in the canton Vaud. He appeared formerly in
2000 in the publication of Stéphane Riethauser, “A visage découvert”. In 2003, Steven worked for his final academic paper on “the linguistic insecurity of gay men in western Switzerland”. This paper was
published twice. (Michael Groneberg, « L’homme – créature sexuelle », 2006, et Christophe Bareille, « Homosexualité : révélateur social ? », 2010).

Beside his associative commitments, Steven worked on the promotion of gay men’s health. In April
2005, he began his career as a scientist collaborator in the AIDS unit of the Federal Office of Public Health in Bern, where he became quickly project manager for HIV prevention among gay men and male prostitution in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Steven never left his musical activities and defined in 2008 the project Mad about the Boy, which he produced independently in 2009, and released in 2010.

For Steven, this debut album articulates one decade of involvement in the LGBT rights and the promotion of gay men’s health with his solo career as an independent jazz singer under the name of  Gallavin.

With the album Mad about the Boy, Gallavin places himself beyond the stereotypes of “Crooner or
Diva” in jazz. Through his interpretation, Gallavin gives to some of the greatest jazz songs their
original essence back. Noël Coward’s song Mad about the Boy – mostly known for Dinah
Washington’s interpretation – was written, for instance, for his long term lover, Graham Payn, a South African actor. Cole Porter – authors of the most known American vocal jazz songs – was also homosexual. The consideration of his homosexuality opens then infinite new fields of interpretation of his work. Gallavin offers with Mad about the Boy, an intimate and sometimes fragile album. Orchestrated by Pierre Sottas, the album is open to all vocal jazz lovers regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.


HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!  BUY  OR  DOWNLAOD  AT   iTUNES

Catch  Gallavin LIVE!


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First Gay Pride Celebration in Prague a Big Success






Several thousand people marched in the first LGBT Pride parade in the Czech capital Saturday as riot police contained antigay protesters assembled to decry the event.

 


As Saturday’s march went ahead in light drizzle, riot police held back dozens of far-right extremists who had gathered to shout abusive slogans. But the abuse and moist conditions did not dampen the party atmosphere, as marchers danced to music played from loudspeakers mounted on vans.



The BBC reports on the inaugural Pride march and five-day festival, which took place despite claims from Deputy Chancellor Petr Hajek that Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda should not support “deviant fellow citizens.” Conservative president Vaclav Klaus backed his aide, but 13 countries, including the United States, issued a statement in support of the celebration.







The BBC reports that Some 300 police officers worked the scene to prevent the kind of clashes between participants and counterprotesters that occurred at a Pride march in Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, in 2008.

The march was to culminate in a series of concerts on an island in the Vltava river, as part of a five-day festival comprising some 80 events — concerts, films, seminars, exhibitions and parties — in 30 venues around the capital.

More photos online at  BLESK



 

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Gay Budapest Pride June 11 – 19, 2011

Budapest is unique, it has its own distinctive character and attractions. 

The  Danube river flows gracefully and the two city parts, Buda and Pest welcome it with a warm embrace. Rather than dividing the city the Danube is in full harmony with the two parts, presenting Budapest with striking vistas. 

The Hungarian capital is not too large and not too small. It has just the right size that makes it a pleasant place to live in and to discover. 2 million citizens it is the largest city in the country.

The city is often referred to as the Paris of the east, and deserves this name. It bears some resemblance to Prague, but is larger and friendlier.

Budapest has become a gay mecca in this part of Europe with many gay places. By day, you can visit museums, take a coffee in one of the cafes or visit gay sauna Magnum. By night you can have a dinner at either a cheap or a fancy restaurant and after go to the gay discos or bars.





Since the fall of the communist regime, a commercial gay infrastructure has grown up, though there is less of a sense of community than in other European countries. Nevertheless the very first gay youth group was founded recently and a Gay Pride Day in Budapest has been organized every year since 1997.

It is very exciting we will be there next month, covering the 16th Annual Budapest Gay Pride!  11-19 June @2011.  Earlier this year there were some legal problems that arose when the activities and routes had to be expanded – but everything has been worked out and things are moving along full speed ahead!



If you plan to visit, Budapest Pride site has a lot of information for visitors.

While gay life may not be quite the same as in Western Europe and North America, we may assure you that once you understand life the Magyar way, there is no limit to expressing who you are and can be in a tolerant, open and accepting Hungary.


So what exactly IS the Magyar way? Well…just as in the Hungarian language SZIA is hello and HELO can mean goodbye, things work in slightly different ways semantically in Hungary. So although in recent years new exclusively gay and lesbian venues have opened all over the city, there are places that have traditionally always attracted an alternative following, although they have never openly been advertised as such.




 Take the Turkish baths, for instance, on “men-only” days. While not officially gay, they have for decades attracted a huge following of admirers of men-only nudist culture, the homo-eroticism of which may be tangible even for casual outside observers. And in the traditional Magyar scheme of things, such places may be far more enjoyable and relaxing than the crude meat market cruising rituals at Western-style gay saunas. The same applies to mixed nightclubs and cafes, almost all of which in Budapest are known to be highly tolerant, accepting and easygoing. Thus Hungary is radically different from the gay circuit party scene of Western Europe and North America, which is precisely its greatest charm and attraction.

GAY PRIDE HISTORY –

The idea of organizing the first gay festival came in the years following the political transition. However, the announcement of Hungary’s first Gay Pride in 1992 was in vain: the event was canceled because of lack of interest.


But the organizers didn’t give up. They started thinking about other kinds of gatherings, and they invited lesbians and gays to a picnic! Over the years the events have grown. In 1993 they had a film festival. BY the 2008 the film festival had become HUGE!  Never before had so many non-LGBT individuals and organizations participated in the march, which strongly signified their support for rights. Public figures and organizations reacted to the situation as well, and in the aftermath of the attacks several civil initiatives were launched, whose slogan became: “We’ve had enough of violence against minorities!”











 


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Gay Pride in Slovakia is Ruined By Skinheads

 

GAY PRIDE
Festivities have started in recent weeks around the world. I think many of us forget how good we have it. Big cities like  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, have pride celebrations where thousands and even millions of us come out to celebrate the day and have no real danger or hate to deal with.

Police cancelled Slovakia’s first-ever gay pride parade after a gang of around 80 neo-Nazis threw stones, eggs and smoke bombs into the crowd of LGBT marchers.

“Instead of the parade of pride, Slovakia has experienced a day of shame,” reported local media. The organizers of the march in Bratislava city centre blame the police for not having enough officers out in force to protect the 1,000-plus participants of the event.

More than 70  hateful  skin heads threw stones, smoke bombs, and eggs at the crowd. Eight skinhead protestors were arrested.

Organizers are pointing the finger at police, who they say had been informed of the event far in advance, yet had still sent an insufficient number of officers to keep order. One organizer says that the police “were clearly unprepared to face such a situation, despite our warnings.”

 The Slovak Spectator is reporting that others are also blaming the police in their failure to protect the participants:

“Instead of the parade of pride, Slovakia has experienced a day of shame,” wrote Sme’s deputy editor-in-chief Lukáš Fila in his commentary suggesting that the attack by the neo-Nazis against the participants shows a failure by the state. Fila states that if the state was unable to secure order at an event which had been announced months in advance and about which all media had been reporting and to which foreign diplomats had confirmed their presence, then in what other areas are the police incapable of securing public order?”

 The grim scene in Slovakia comes just a week after a gay pride parade was similarly marred by violence in the Eastern European country of Belarus. Riot police abruptly ended the colourful parade after eggs were thrown into the marching throng.

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Anish Kapoor Unveils London’s Version of the Eiffel Tower for 2012 Olympics

Anish Kapoor  is an Indian sculptor. Born in Bombay. Kapoor has lived and worked in London since the early 1970s, so it only makes sense he is designing a magnificent new work for the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London!

Kapoor’s pieces are frequently simple, curved forms, usually monochromatic and brightly coloured. Most often, the intention is to engage the viewer, producing awe through their size and simple beauty, evoking mystery through the works’ dark cavities, tactility through their inviting surfaces, and fascination through their reflective facades.

A spiralling sculpture, 115m tall piece, named the ArcelorMittal Orbit, will be placed in the Olympic Park and will be 22m higher than New York’s Statue of Liberty.

The £19.1m design incorporates the five Olympic rings and will offer visitors panoramic views of London.

London Mayor Boris Johnson revealed plans for the tower on Wednesday.

“I am deeply honoured to be invited to undertake this challenging commission,” Kapoor said.

“I am particularly attracted to it because of the opportunity to involve members of the public in a particularly close and personal way. It is the commission of a lifetime.”

The artist will work with leading structural designer, Cecil Balmond of engineering firm Arup.

WATCH  THE  VIDEO  AT  BBC.

Best Gay Cities

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