Category Archives: Europe

A Queens’ Museum in Great Britain

QueenEngland

There is more than one Queen in England.

And soon their histories will find national representation.

Queer Britain is working to establish the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum.  With an anticipated opening in 2021, the brick- and-mortar museum will host permanent and temporary exhibits, with an innovative digital presence.  It will feature objects and records from the worlds of art, fashion, film, literature, TV, theatre, news, music, diaries, letters, photographs and legal records.

According to London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, “As Mayor, it’s so important to me that London is seen as a city where LGBTQ+ people feel valued, happy and safe – this sends a clear message to the world that London is a beacon of diversity.”

Queer Britain hopes its museum extends beyond celebrating  modern-day gay London and creates historical context.   As its website further explains, “Many young people now have a strong sense of freedom about identity, but not how these were formed or the lives of those who came before them. A healthy plant needs deep roots.”

For more information, visit QueerBritain.org.uk.

QueerBritainIMAGES COURTESY OF BISHOPSGATE INSTITUTE / (CC) LSE / NAPOLEON SARONY / JANE MCCORMICK SMITH / BEX WADE / ROBERT TAYLOR (via Queer Britain)
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A Nightlight at the Top of the World

Aurora Wilderness Camp 6 190318A new hotel concept in Finland features the Northern Lights as the ultimate nightlight.

Three private cabins on skis have been stationed deep in the Arctic Circle, for a glamping experience like no other. The glass-roofed cabins for two include a bed on which to lie back and enjoy the night sky, a table, dry toilet, and gas heater and stove.  Together, the mobile rooms create the Aurora Wilderness Camp, near the Finnish Lapland town of Kilpisjärvi.  Now available to book through Off the Map Travel, the camp is welcoming guests through mid-April of this year and will reopen in January 2019.

According to Arctic travel expert and Off the Map Travel founder Jonny Cooper, “The wilderness surrounding Kilpisjärvi is known for its remote and uninterrupted Arctic tundra… giving guests the best possible opportunity to experience the Northern Lights and simply enjoy the silence of the Arctic plains.” Statistically, the Kilpisjärvi area boasts more clear nights than any other place in Finland, with more than a 70 percent chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

Your adventure starts at 6pm when an experienced guide transports you by snowmobile to your private cabin.  After your guide teaches you how to make a campfire and grill local meats, you will have the camp–and the Northern Lights–to yourself.  Evening drinks, snacks and next-day breakfast are included in the experience, along with use of the cabin’s snowshoes and kick-sleds for exploring the icy tundra.

This hotel concept delivers a distinct new brand of adventurous comfort:  the opportunity to tour the Arctic wilderness and hunt for the Northern Lights from the peacefulness of your warm bed.

For more information and tailor-made itineraries, visit offthemap.travelAurora Wilderness Camp190318Photo credit: Kilpissafarit

 

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Top Travel Tops for 2018

It’s the season of resolutions–the time to plan this year’s travel, uncover new destinations and fantasize about exotic trips you may or may not ever take.  But with so many “top travel lists” how do you focus your exploration?  Fear not. Traveling IQ has combed the pages, clicked the links and collated the suggestions from the most trusted travel publications, to find the ultimate destinations for IQ’s 2018 Travel Top Trilogy.

New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS – Photo courtesy of NewOrleans.com

New Orleans leads the pack as the American city most recommended by travel publications.  Celebrating its tricentennial in 2018, the Big Easy promises to make its 300th birthday party a year-long event.  And you’re invited! Whether you chomp on po’boys or savor fine Creole cuisine, guzzle Hurricanes down Bourbon Street or sip craft cocktails in hotel lounges, saunter through historical walking tours or dance along with extravagant parades, New Orleans requests the honor of your presence.

Malta

MALTA

MALTA – Photo courtesy of Flickr/DRAS

Malta is stepping into the spotlight in 2018.    The small island country off the coast of Sicily has a “vibe that is Mediterranean with a North African twist,” says Travel & Leisure.  Already a popular European beach getaway, this year, the world’s artists will descend on Valetta, Malta’s capital, named a 2018 European Capital of Culture.  Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Valetta boasts Baroque architecture, prehistoric temples and the enviable characterization as “Europe’s sunniest city,” with more than 300 days of sunshine each year.

South Korea

Winter Olympics PYEONGCHANG

PYEONGCHANG, KOREA – Photo courtesy of Flickr/Korea

South Korea will be on full display as PyeongChang hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics next month.  Now an easy commute with the launch of a high-speed rail connecting the resort town to Seoul in 70 minutes, you can tour the Olympic village, attempt your own Triple Axel, and still make your dinner reservation in Seoul’s trendy Hannam neighborhood.  After dinner, don’t forget to stroll through Seoullo 7017, the city’s new high-line park, lined with 24,000 plants atop an elevated former highway.

(These destinations were chosen from the top lists of the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, CNN, Frommers, US News & World Report, Lonely Planet, Afar, the Guardian, Rough Guide, LA Times and National Geographic.) 

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Germany: Lock Your Love in Cologne

Open your heart to me, baby
I hold the lock and you hold the key
Open your heart to me, darlin’
I’ll give you love if you, you turn the key

This Valentine’s Day, let Cologne hold the lock and the Rhine hold the key.

Join the Köln tradition by engraving both your names on a padlock and locking your love along the pedestrian pathway of the Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge.  Then throw the key in the Rhine River.

In addition to connecting east and west Cologne, the Hohenzollernbrücke also symbolically links thousands of lovers.

(To learn more about Cologne, Germany… read my article on Travel Squire or listen to my radio segment on Proud FM)

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Let’s Get Visual: East London

The Traveling IQ vault is packed with travel photos that have never seen the light of day. They’re lonely and want to say hello.

Here’s a little photo tour of East London, from my November 2011 visit.

East London has undergone a dramatic change over the last decade. The once isolated area beyond the Tower of London, is now home to trendy shops, cafes, art galleries and open-air markets.

During my visit last year, I explored the area with my trusted “insider” Urban Gentry guide and stayed for the grand opening of the Aloft London Excel Hotel–all as the city was prepping to host the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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Let’s Get Visual: Valencia, Spain

The Traveling IQ vault is packed with travel photos that have never seen the light of day.  They’re lonely and want to say hello.

Here’s a little photo tour of Valencia, Spain, from my summer 2011 visit.

Spain’s third largest city beautifully blends the old and the new.  On a short walk you can easily encounter 2,000 years of history and architecture.

To learn a bit more, read my article in the Washington Post or listen to the radio interview on Portland’s KPAM.

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IQ on Proud FM: Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Ivan Quintanilla is the featured travel expert on Toronto’s Proud FM Radio “Your Morning With Richard & Chris.”

Click on the link below to hear IQ and the boys talk about gay travel to Cologne, Germany:

Ivan Quintanilla on Proud FM-Cologne  (6 min.)

To learn more about Germany’s fourth largest city, and one of the its most popular gay destinations, read the IQ articles published on Travel Squire and Out Traveler.

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The Week in Travel (7/20/12)

The world of travel moves fast!   Let’s keep up–together.   This week, Traveling IQ curates recent travel stories on London, which you may have heard is hosting a sporting event of some kind, starting July 27.

London 2012

*Fasten your seat belt, it’s going to be a taxing night.  One enterprising London cabbie has transformed his black cab into a hotel for one, with a “memory foam” mattress, pillow, duvet, bedside lamp and a Paddington teddy bear.  Available during the Olympics for £50 (about $78) a night. (via CNN)

*The London Olympics will travel to you.  For the first time fans will have live access to every event–at least every event with a camera on the scene–by streaming to their computers or mobile devices.  Here’s a guide to the joys and complications.  (via Consumer Search)

*London is busy on its slowest day.  With as many as 5.5 million day-trippers and 450,000 visitors expected for the Games, plan to cozy up with strangers and follow these tips for navigating  public transportation.  (via LA Times)

*Enjoy the stylish life with advice toward the shops, restaurants, hotels and sights that will fit you to a T. (via NY Times T Magazine)

*Coming to London for the Olympics but don’t want to stay in the city? Commute from villages and rural retreats, most within an hour by train, and skip the inflated prices and crazed city fever.  (via The Guardian)

*Take IQ’s suggestion and steer your own sightseeing course with Urban Gentry’s personalized tours of London’s art, fashion, design, food or architecture scenes. (via Traveling IQ)

*Celebrate the Olympic spirit and London’s new craft beer renaissance over a tasty pint. (via NY Times)

*And check out some of IQ’s recent articles on the Aloft London Excel Hotel, London cabbies, and the Soho neighborhood.

What did I miss?  Share your favorite travel news in the comments below or by posting on the Traveling IQ Facebook page.

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Amsterdam’s Milkshake Festival

Amsterdam’s Milkshake is bringing all the boys and girls to the Westerpark yard on Sunday, July 22.

Under the tag line, “For boys who love girls who love girls who love boys who love boys…” the inaugural Milkshake Festival will present five stages, featuring music, dancing, performance art, and an all-out celebration of Amsterdam’s liberal character.

As stated on their website, the outdoor festival will promote a strict “Free Love & Tolerance” policy, inviting everyone to be themselves:  “Life is a party thanks to the great diversity of skin colors, religions, sexual preferences and male and female forms… Thick, thin, small, large, gay, straight, trans, travo, black or white: people are the salt of the earth and this is what we celebrate!”

So check your attitude at the gate, and take a big gulp of Amsterdam’s thick, frothy, all-welcoming blend.  Confused?  Don’t worry, they can teach you, but they’ll have to charge… an entrance fee of 32.50 euros (about $40).

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A Lisbon Beach Day

…he’s waiting just outside of Lisbon

With summer temperatures rising, visitors to Lisbon are finding it a little easier to enjoy a day on the beach. Though accessible by public transportation, planning the journey—especially for a tourist—can be daunting. Relax. Forget the bus to the train to the tram to the… With prices starting at 35 euros (about $43), your personal, gay tour guide from Lisbon Beach will pick you up at your hotel in a private car, drive you to the beach of your choice (from family-friendly to “We-are-family” friendly), and pick you up when you’re done. He can also coordinate a picnic, beach umbrellas and help you sort through the nightlife options available later.

The most popular gay beach, known as Beach 19 or Praia 19, sits on the Costa da Caparica, about a 30-minute drive out of the city center, and a world away from the bustling capital.  Part of a nature reserve, the area contains an expansive, sandy beach  along the ocean and more remote sand dunes sometimes used to cruise for new acquaintances.   As it is a nudist beach, your suit is optional.

Should you choose to make a fashionable impression, the new men’s boutique UP! town Lisboa has you covered. Opened this Spring in the trendy Bairro Alto neighborhood,  life/business partners Jacob and Bruno have turned an old bookstore into a shopping destination. With a combination of local, European and American brands such as ES Collection, Havana & Co., Ganesh and Ajaxx63, UP! town Lisboa carries  sexy bathing suits and stylish casual wear for fashion-minded gentlemen.

So enjoy all the sights, culture and history of Portugal’s capital… and then enjoy a beautiful beach break from it all.

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