With the exception of the Historic Baths in Istanbul (which aren't really gay anyway) I find male saunas a touch drab. Not the 945. Set in a colonial style town-house, a touch of jazz coupled with sweet smelling lemons in the salsa decorated spaces is to be found. The shady outdoor poolside terrace is where you can escape the oven temperatures of the city. It's a bliss. If you're a Spanish speaker then the locals are more than willing to have a chat and a beer, below the stars. The house actively promotes safe sex.
Tte. Fariña 945, Asunción, Paraguay
Google map: bit.ly/ZK2epm
Happy Pride Month! The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, often parked around Union Square, serves sweet concoctions with names like the Bea Arthur and The Salty Pimp. This month the founders will open a brick-and-mortar store on East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. They'll also serve brownies and non-ice cream treats from other local vendors. Until the store opens, you can get your scoop on at the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.
The Transpraia railway is a narrow-gauge tourist train which starts in Costa da Caparica, a slightly shabby beach resort on the southern side of the Tagus estuary near Lisbon. It has operated since 1960 and has remained virtually unchanged since then. The train links the town with several remote beaches, each with a numbered stop and several with their own beach bars nestled among the dunes. Even at the height of summer the beaches between Costa da Caparica and Fonte da Telha, the terminus of the 9km railway and one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, remain pleasantly deserted. At present beach 19 serves as Lisbon's gay beach, and nudity prevails along this particular stretch of coast. Other beaches are popular with families and surfers.
Take bus 153 from the Praça da Espanha in Lisbon to Costa da Caparica. Walk along the main road to the beachfront, then follow the boardwalk south until you come across a small railway. Buy a return ticket and alight at any of the 20 stops.
Google map: bit.ly/dZ0ESR
Trúnó is a friendly, laid-back café with tiny library of queer literature, easy listening background music, and lilac walls. Apparently the word ‘trúnó’ translates as ‘when you sit down and have a heart to heart with somebody and tell your deepest secrets….’ (according to the friendly Norwegian waitress).
The fabulous nightclub, Barbara, is next door, you can't miss it with its bright pink walls and rainbow flags everywhere. Start the evening with a cocktail at Trúnó then party late into the next morning with Barbara.
A very friendly gay/lesbian hostal just few steps from the city center, with a beautiful terrace and pool. It has also a garage. The operators know the gay scene very well and can give you many tips.
Calle Maximo Gomez, 270, e/Frexes y Aguilera. Holguín
+53 52 469 402,
This small and intimate gay bar in Sapporo's Susukino district has a friendly and welcoming master and clientele. The master speaks English but a little bit of Japanese will go a very long way.
The patrons were all Japanese and of all ages. Most of the patrons attempted to talk to us however limited their English was and encouraged us to speak Japanese.
If you want to speak to local Japanese guys (rather than fellow travellers) then this is your place.
Oh and of course there's a Karaoke machine with an English and Japanese song selection. Have a go, this is not an intimidating place and you will be cheered on and encouraged no matter how off key you sing.
011 562 4005
2/F S.A. Bld, South 6 West 6, Chuo-ku, 562-4005
(From Sapporo central take the Nanboku line to Susukino, the SA building ( SA ゼル) is a 5 min walk at the junction of South 6 and West 6, Dan bar is on the 1st floor, the sign is in English)
Google map: bit.ly/dCTr9B
If you're wanting to check out Prague's gay scene, then this fun and funky dance club in the Vinohrady district is where to start. The first thing you see on entering the long underground bar is a full size Communist Skoda car hanging from the wall. Underneath it is a dancefloor pulsating to the sounds of club hits and Czech songs mashed up. Imagine Madonnas 'Like a Virgin' sung in Czech language, and you get the picture. Wednesday nights are the best, as many locals are in then. Well worth checking out.
Bronx has been in existence for eight years and is the best known gay landmark in South Africa.
The only boutique hotel in Sacramento.
Totally remodeled in 2008 and design by Dan Friedlander (limn.com), this 50's era motel has been tranformed into a unique lodging with European furnishings, private pool, internet and personal service.
Great value: rooms start at $100.
1700 del paso blvd. Sacramento 95815
It is a gay-friendly guest house in the centre of Havana. Jorge, the landlord of the place, is a wonderful gay man who will give you plenty of tips during your trip. He has also a great sense of humour and speak many languages.
The rooms are nicely decorated and very comfy with private bathrooms and air conditioning. He can cook breakfast, lunch and dinner if you wish.
Security: this place is very safe as Jorge takes all necessary measures. Nothing will ever happen to your wallet!
I will definitely go back to Jorge very soon as all gay travellers who have been to his place do.
Another great gay hostel in Madrid - this cool modernist building is in the Chueca area - great for gay nightlife and parties.
The staff are extremely welcoming and will give out any advice on things to see, gay/lesbian advice, free vouchers for clubs, saunas etc...
The rooms have ensuite and have great facilities - tvs, free internet, safety deposit boxes, linen and towels.
Calle Pizarro 14 -1,Madrid, Spain, 28004
This is a great gay hostel with really friendly staff - who are always willing to offer you advice on where to go and what to see - they even hand out free club passes!
The rooms are more like a hotel than a hostel, with TVs, comfortable beds and balconies overlooking Puerta del Sol square. There's also free internet and a free breakfast of freshly baked buns.
The location is excellent, you are right in the center of town, so we could walk everywhere.
Puerta del Sol Square, Madrid
Great selection of over 80 Gay and Lesbian Spanish and International films that are shown in cinemas across the city. The films celebrate diversity in all its many forms and the public can vote for their favourite - well worth a visit!
29th Oct - 8th Nov
Score is the best gay bar/club in Miami, situated on Lincoln Road. If you are lucky enough to be heading to Miami I highly recommend you check it out. The staff are adorable (especially Jonathan) and they serve a good range of drinks. The music is also very good.
727 Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami
Geisha Bar is a new cocktail bar in Soho. It has an excellent cocktail menu, good DJs and sound system, and a stylish interior. Its clientele is mostly gay, though I don't think a straight customer would feel uncomfortable.
75 Charing Cross Road,
Finally, a gay bar in Florence that doesn't hide behind closed doors. Located just around the corner from the famous and lively Piazza Santa Croce, this is a nice, open and straight-friendly place for having a drink with your friend(s) after sightseeing or after dinner.
For a gay guide and map of Florence see: www.patroc.com/florence/
Borgo Santa Croce 23/r
Slightly off the tourist trail situated just off the 'Plaza Trinidad' below the Cathedral (so no snappers on the doorstep).
Yes, the decor a is a little OTT including the large basket of faux fruit, (check the web link) but it made for an amusing start to the holiday.
We only stayed for two days (late Feb 2008) so didn't spend much time in or around the hostel but the location was perfectly within walking distance of the Cathedral (2mins), the Albaicin quarter (3/4mins) and the Alhambra (10/15mins to the ticket office); however, if your holiday party includes people not as fit as most then something a little closer to or in the Albaicin might be better as the city is sited on a gradiant with the hostel at the bottom.
Some of the rooms (and the one we stayed in) are situated in a building two doors from the main hostel with the reception.
We had the apartment, but looking back this was perhaps a waste of 20 euros per night as the only things (I imagine) we gained was a flight of stairs to reach our room on the top floor, a tiny 'kitchen' food prep area and tiny terrace with no view.
The kitchen wasn't much use due to the lack of pans (for the two-plate hob) or kettle so no night-time cocoa or early morning tea. Only coffee drinkers were catered for with a stove top coffee pot, but all they provided was clean etc.
Everything in the apartment was clean, tidy and hygenic however the notice in the bathroom reading 'Please do not flush towels, use the bin provided'; with a rather dubious looking open-topped wastepaper bin beside the toilet was a little offputting...
Overall, I'd recommend a stay because the owners are so nice and friendly, making no fuss over the fact we were a gay male couple... but perhaps not in the apartment as it wasn't much use in the end. Save those additional euros for some tapas or drinks in the bustling bar on the plaza instead or the fantastic veggie restaurant Botanico on C/Malaga round the corner.
If you want to see how confident the new gay generation is in Cuba, check
It's a gay tour guide service for gay travelers in Cuba! Nice college kids,
openly gay and they seem to feel that the government isn't against gays.
Meeting these people was the highlight of our trip. They really opened our eyes to a Cuba we could never have discovered on our own.
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