Pride LGBTQ Travel-safety Twitter Chat 🌈 Tues., Jun 5 2pm ET! Set your ⏰! #PrideGuide

31 05 2018
ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine; twitter chat on LGBTQ travel safety
Join our annual Pride LGBTQ travel-safety Twitter chat happening Tuesday, June 5. It’s hosted by Ed Salvato at ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine with our partners at the U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs via TravelGov.
We’ll discuss how to stay safe during the busy summer travel and LGBTQ pride season. Join this important conversation Tuesday, June 5 2pm-2:45pm ET by following #PrideGuide on Twitter.
PRIDE LGBTQ TRAVEL-SAFETY TWITTER CHAT PARTICIPANTS USUALLY INCLUDE:
Below are the topics we’ll discuss so you can think about your contributions and questions or feel free to pre-program your replies.
See you on Twitter Tuesday, June 5 at 2pm ET. And remember to set your  !
PRIDE LGBTQ TRAVEL-SAFETY TWITTER CHAT; TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2PM, #PRIDEGUIDE
2:00 pm ET
Q1: Before we get into #travelsafety, tell us … What is your next big trip this summer? And where are you traveling for LGBTQ Pride 2018? #PrideGuide 
 
2:05 pm ET
Q2: Do you feel it’s safe to travel overseas for LGBTQ Pride celebrations, gay or lesbian cruises or parties in Europe? How about in Eastern Europe? Russia? Israel? What precautions is it best to take? #prideguide
 
2:10 pm ET 
Q3: Today 74 countries criminalize same-sex relations. How do you get information in advance of a trip to help ensure your safety? #prideguide 
 
2:15 pm ET
Q4: Which travel agents, tour operators and content providers do you use for information on LGBTQ issues, destinations and events — especially in more exotic destinations? #prideguide
 
2:20 pm ET
Q5: What resources do you use from the U.S. State Department, TSA, CDC, HRW and other organizations committed to LGBTQ travel/safety in destinations around the world? #prideguide 
 
2:25 pm ET
Q6: What are the biggest concerns for lesbian travelers (especially when going to destinations with anti-LGBT attitudes or laws)? #prideguide  
 
2:30 pm ET
Q7: What are the greatest concerns for transgender travelers heading to airports and to destinations around the world? #prideguide 
 
2:35 pm ET
Q8: How concerned should LGBTQ travelers be about health issues and what can we do to prepare? #prideguide
 
2:40 pm ET
Q9. Anything can go wrong when we travel. What’s the best way to prepare for the unexpected? #prideguide
ED SALVATO
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Paris Update: Is the Marais Still Gay? Oui et Non … Read on!

21 03 2018
What happened to the Gay Marais in Paris?

Has the charming Gay Marais gone? If your last visit to Paris goes back to the mid-’80s or the ’90s, Is the Marais still gay? Read all about it in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinechances are you may not recognize the neighborhood. The days of first ever created gay-bars like Le-Village and L’Amnésia seem really far.

Things have changed but to understand what’s really happening now we may need to board the time-machine.

A little history

Le-Marais (marsh, swamp in English) goes back to the Middle-Age and was developed right after the Renaissance when the rich and famous started to build elegant mansions also known as “Hôtels-particuliers” to remain rather close to the king’s palace, The Louvre. When the Court moved to Versailles, the area started to lose its wealthy patrons. In the 19th century the rich inhabitants moved further West and the old Marais started to host a new population: the many Jews who had escaped cruel persecutions, frequent in the ancient Russian empire.

Gay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAfter WW2 Le Marais was sentenced to death, in other words: to be demolished. Too old and the bearer of tragic war memories. Thanks to a clever minister of cultural affairs, it survived the bulldozers but wont see its renaissance until the arrival of the gay community in the early 80s following the first solid renovations of historic mansions and inauguration of the Pompidou Center which will bring international light to the older part of the capital city. As often with the gay community, the street started to become prettier, flower pots popped-up in front of design stores and friendly cafés and restaurants.

The best years indeed!

Le-Marais was back, it was fashionable – luxury brands could not miss this opportunity and over the past 5 years we have seen high-end stores coming-in, replacing traditional and convenient businesses. L’Amnésia closed and so did many other gayGay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine “institutions” often replaced by luxury boutiques. Rue des Archives a whole series of top boutiques have been created by a single investor. The facades all look alike and are truly magnificent but the Givenchy, Prada, Moncler boutiques seem a bit lost and too often quite empty. They are not terribly inviting as a security guy stands right at the door and this is never a way to say “bienvenue!”. Cox, Open-Café, Raid, Free DJ are still here to welcome their gay patrons.

Plus ça change

Change everything so nothing changes (The Leopard, Visconti): in reality Le-Marais has never so Gay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinebeautiful and charming. All restaurants, cafés, wine-bars, bakeries, boutiques, art galleries – not to forget the legendary department BHV, totally revamped, all are truly gay-friendly and all know what they owe to the Gay Community. We only hope this mind set will remain but further closure would not help and may simply sign the end of Le Gay-Maris!

In the meantime, it’s never been a better time to visit. So don’t wait!

ParisMarais.com

One fantastic resource for the Marais is ParisMarais.com. Created by Pascal Fonquernie, the site — which is available in seven languages — is among the world’s most visited guides on le Marais, including a large gay community section. Not a gay guide, it’s the best of le Marais, including booking hotels; information about the Jewish quarter; recommended tour guides; restaurants; history; and interviews with famous people. Download a copy of the Marais map here.

Story by ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, Jean-Pierre Soutric, Paris, 18-March 2018, 





Out on Tour: Aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Peruvian Amazon

16 02 2018

Ed Salvato aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Amazon and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineWhen you hear river cruise you probably think, Europe, which is where the vast majority take place. And that the passengers are all much older. And white. And it’s lovely but perhaps a tad too genteel.

Well, think again! That’s not the experience you’ll find on this river cruise. I was invited to experience a three-day journey in Peru’s lush Amazon basin aboard the modern Aqua Expeditions Aria, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls wrapping all three customer decks which virtually blends into the jungle as it smoothly plies the inky river ways. The common areas are casually elegant: understated but sumptuous like Ralph Lauren’s flagship-store on Madison Avenue (minus piles of Polo shirts). But the most dissimilar aspect from other mainstream river cruises we’ve taken: your fellow passengers.

Out on Tour aboard the Aqua Expeditions Ara in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Amazon sunsets. Better than YouTube!

Besides our small group of lesbian and gay media and travel agents, the 26 remaining guests (all couples including two gay men) ranged in age from their late 20s to early 60s, with passengers from Japan, Australia, the U.K., Germany, Italy and American coastal states. What everyone had in common was an interest in the Amazon, one of the world’s last great unexplored regions perched high atop many the bucket list, and an open-mindedness that comes with frequent long-distance travel. No one batted an eye at our big group of homos nor at the quiet but romantic gay couple, warmly welcomed into all groups. Read on to discover a unique and enriching experience that you may not have even thought possible.

Story by Ed Salvato pictured above and below (here with a fellow traveler, Lynda Gregory)
Ed Salvato on an Aqua Expeditions cruise of the Amazon River in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

MEMORIES AND MOMENTS ABOARD THE AQUA EXPEDITIONS ARIA

Swimming in the Amazon

The three skiffs — each filled with 8 passengers, a pilot in the back and a guide up front — motored quickly away from the Aria as the sun began its punctual descent in a blaze of glory. Sunset and sunrise times don’t vary much near the Equator. Our skiff found a remote location; the pilot cut the engine so nothing manmade drowned out the ever-present jungle sounds. Unseen birds cawed while a Black-collared Hawk swooped to the river to pluck out an unlucky fish; a troop of barely seen Titi monkeys rustled through the trees in streaks of red; the eyes of an alligator-like caiman silently broke the surface to investigate this bulky intruder.

On a skiff heading to the jungle“Ok, if anyone wants to jump in the river, now’s the time.” Crickets. Not the insects but the lack of response from my skiff-mates. We are told this is a deep part of the river, and our guide ensures us there aren’t any piranhas. Right?… right?! Ok, no one is going in. What the heck! It’s been on my life list since, well, forever. Without allowing myself more time to think, I strip down to my shorts and jump in. After a few minutes two others join me. We swim around for about a half hour. Was that a little nibble at my foot? Hmmm, maybe the piranhas were curious but realized I was just too big to eat. We get back into the skiff — an ice cold local beer as reward.

Fishing for piranhas

Each day the staff of th Aqua Expeditions Aria organized excursions, included in the price, which are mostly waterborne experiences when the rivers are at their highest levels (generally November through May) but with many land-based excursions during the drier season (generally June through October). This morning we are going to fish for … wait for it … piranhas! We’d watched local villagers grilling them for dinner, dinner-plate-size specimens with razor-sharp teeth jutting out in menacing (and obviously this time anyway futile) defense. But wouldn’t they just bite through the line? We skiff to a likely section of the river — not too deep where this carnivorous fish likes to cavort. The fishing gear is comprised of a strip of bamboo, a nylon string, hook and a little piece of chicken gristle. Very Huck Finn. Agitate the water with the tip of the pole then let the baited hook sink into the water a couple of feet. Feel a little tug? Pull sharply up and behold a piranha! Of course it’s catch and release, and we’re assured the fish feels no pain.Ed Salvato aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Amazon and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

French toast and maple syrup in the jungle

The onboard cuisine never included piranha but everything was as fresh as possible, all locally sourced from villages we visited during our journey or the farthest shipped in from Lima, a couple hours by plane and boat. The TripAdvisor reviews and magazine coverage all rave about the incredible cuisine on the Aria but how could that be true on this small boat with one chef and two assistants working in a galley kitchen no bigger than what you’d find in most New York City apartments? Well, after three sit-down dinners and our buffet-style breakfasts and lunches, I can verify, that yes, this is some of the best cruise cuisine I’ve ever eaten, all prepared by a team that came from the nearby jungle villages with a passion for cooking and a lot of training at schools in Lima.

Ok, I was hoping for and expecting all the incredibly fresh and exotic fruit several of which I had never heard of but everything else was a revelation. Some of the best Italian style fresh pasta I’ve ever tried. A variety of vegan options, including colors of quinoa I had never seen. Delicate sauces. Homemade bonbons. Espresso. Fresh-baked croissants. In the Amazon! Delicious. One day the manager asked if we wanted anything else. I half-jokingly said French toast and maple syrup. The next morning: voila, my breakfast choice along with syrup they prepared overnight from a local fruit.Out on Tour aboard the Aqua Expeditions Ara in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Exploring the Amazon jungle and local communities

In the drier season, the Aria team leads overland excursions. Just as on an African safari, our guides, all from local villages, are highly trained naturalists, making jaunts up and down the diluvian trails highly informative. Their eagle eyes spotted creatures who otherwise blended into their surroundings, including poisonous frogs, elusive macaws, ever-smiling sloths, countless birds and a variety of plants including rubber trees (which was the source of incalculable wealth in this part of the world for a brief period a century ago). At one point our guide’s lightning-fast reflexes allowed him to snatch a baby caiman from the shallows at the river’s edge.

The highlight of our exploration was meeting local villagers whose tiny communities dot the banks of the Amazon and its many tributaries. The main river branches are pretty busy with passenger and cargo boats and you can see puffs of smoke from villages along the banks and further inland. Some have electricity but most don’t. Their homes and community buildings (schools, clinics, administrative buildings) are perched on stilts, a hint of just how high the river gets in rainy season. A number of villages are truly remote, and there remain uncontacted peoples in the deepest most inaccessible parts of the jungle. Most villagers speak the local dialect as well as Spanish though many only speak the dialect. We didn’t meet any openly LGBT locals however our guides told us that in the jungle bisexuality especially among men is common.

Out on Tour aboard the Aqua Expeditions Ara in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Super cute school children in an Amazon village

The Aqua Expeditions Aria randomize visits to local communities so none become dependent on the gifts that passengers are encouraged to bring (mostly basic medical and school supplies). Each visit had a feeling of mutual, respectful curiosity. A highlight was our visit to a “large” community with a half dozen homes for extended families and a schoolhouse, where the children prepared several songs. Family life remains traditional with the men leaving early in the morning to hunt or fish and the women mostly remaining at home to cook and look after children. There is some agricultural cultivation by villagers who tend small plots of land. The community lives in the jungle so it was no surprise to see many animals traipsing through town, including a 10-foot long anaconda, a pair of adorable three-toed sloths, and a furry Spectacled Owl.

Ed Salvato aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Amazon and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Sloth

Sustainability

Aqua Expeditions, which operates in Amazonia and the Mekong Delta, takes sustainability seriously. You can Ed Salvato aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Amazon and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineread the details of their various programs herebut we appreciated several efforts in particular. Aqua Expeditions participates in Pack with a Purpose, a global initiative, encouraging all passengers to leave some space in their luggage to bring recommended supplies (from an online list) for area schools or medical clinics in need. Aqua Expedition supports local environmental conservation and wildlife protection including work in Peru restoring the taricaya turtle population. Finally, we felt the positive impact of the emphasis Aqua places on training and hiring locals from nearby Amazonian towns and villages: from cabin stewards right on up to the captain himself. Our guides, all locals, spoke multiple languages fluently including local dialects, Spanish and English. Several of them were also studying French at the Alliance Française in the Amazonian gateway city of Iquitos. Without companies like Aqua Expeditions, there would be very few such well-paid opportunities in the region.

Gay factor

Ok, you’re in the Amazon jungle, one of the most remote parts of the world. While the local villagers are known to practice bisexuality, it’s not really possible to meet them one on one. And of course not recommendable. If you follow our advice and spend a good two to three days in Lima (see our What’s Hot: Lima piece in this issue), you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet gay locals.

Know before you go

  • There is very little cell service (except occasionally when the Aria pulls near a big village or town); and no WiFi on board. It’s ok people; it’s only for a few days! You can borrow movies from the (lovely) social director Jhuliana or do what I did; just pull back your curtains and enjoy “live TV” through your floor-to-ceiling glass walls as the Amazon in all its raw verdant glory drifts slowly by while the heavens produce a kaleidoscope of clouds and colors.
  • This is random, but note that Aqua Expeditions’ Italian founder and CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro is incredibly handsome. You may or may not see him on a cruise, but … you’re welcome.

    Ed Salvato aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Amazon and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

    Francesco Galli Zugaro

  • There is also a one week itinerary available which visits different ports and offers different experiences than the half-week itinerary.
  • There’s a lot of talk about mosquitos. They’re definitely there and it may depend in part on how susceptible you are but I didn’t find them to be a problem in the least. The Aria offers DEET-based repellant.
  • There is a closet-size gym tucked away on the third floor with room for two machines. You’ll have to get exercise of the outdoor variety.
  • There is a wetter season from around October/November – May/June with April being the wettest month. A drier season occurs from May/June – October/November with September being the driest month. I personally loved the “dry month” visit since we were able to hike a lot overland and go into the villages to meet locals. Those opportunities are more limited during wet months; however the mighty Amazon is all that much more powerful and truly awesome in the high-water season and there are plenty of waterborne activities including canoeing, swimming and exploration deeper into otherwise inaccessible parts of the jungle by skiff.
  • Invest in AIG Travel Guard travel insurance. They’re a client of ours but we’ve grown to believe in the importance of such insurance especially when you’re going to a place whose nearest quality medical care may be hundreds of miles away … by helicopter!

Packing guide

  • Less is more, girl. You don’t want to be journeying from home to Lima to Iquitos to the ship with a set of your finest Louis Vuitton luggage. Aqua Expeditions outlines key items to pack. But just think casual and comfortable breathable layers. It’s hot in the jungle but you don’t want to expose arms and legs at dawn or dusk or when hiking in overgrown areas.
  • Don’t forget sunglasses. The light, often directly overhead (remember, the Equator), can be bright and reflects off the river and other wet surfaces.
  • Bring an iPad preloaded with books, movies and shows to catch up on. Or not. And just watch the scenery pass by so mesmerizingly. Change your dollars in Lima for lots of small bills so you can purchase village-made arts and crafts, which are beautifully done!
  • If traveling at high water times (November through June), your list will include more watertight options, naturally.
  • Also if you love to shoot (photos) birds and small animals, you’ll want to invest in a decent SLR camera. If you want to see these critters, you’ll definitely want to invest in decent binoculars.
Ed Salvato aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria in the Amazon and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Yep, that’s your bedroom. And view

Is it for you?

Yes
  • You want to do something very few others in your Facebook newsfeed have done.
  • The Amazon is on your must-go list.
  • You love adventure and the wilderness, but really enjoy a little pampering.
  • You love great food. Multiple times a day.
  • You’re interested in meeting local people who live satisfying lives that largely forego modern conveniences (electricity, plumbing, modern tools, etc)
No
ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine goes to Peru aboard the Aqua Expeditions Aria

Grilled piranha.

  • You really need a gay experience.
  • You’re traveling solo. The cabin pricing is per person double occupancy so best to bunk up with someone if you go. (The rooms are actually large enough for two friends.)
  • You can’t be disconnected from WiFi or cell for this long because of work. Or you suffer from Internet addiction. It’s a thing.

TRIP PLANNING

  • There are a number of options for flying into Lima and onto Iquitos to meet your ship. We flew on JetBlue which has convenient non-stop direct flights once a day from their Ft. Lauderdale hub to Lima. 
  • You can book this trip directly but if you wish to combine it with additional travels in Peru, we highly recommend experts at COLTUR Peru, a gay-managed company which organized every minute of a rapid-paced, six-day tour, flawlessly. Contact awesome (gay) manager Ylan Chem:  mailto:Ylan.chrem@colturperu.com

Disclosure

The article above is editorial based on a press trip. ManAboutWorld highlights tours and cruises we’ve personally participated in, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.





Meet ManAboutWorld’s Ed Salvato at the Boston Globe Travel Show, Saturday 1:30pm

7 02 2018

Meet Ed Salvato at the Boston Globe Travel Show Sat Feb 10Meet ManAboutWorld’s Ed Salvato at the Boston Globe Travel Show, Saturday 1:30pm at his presentation entitled LGBTQ Travel: Hot Destinations, Cool Events & Unforgettable Experiences. Get a FREE ticket to the show here.

ManAboutWorld’s chief content officer, Ed Salvato, the world’s leading LGBTQ travel expert, will highlight new cruises and tours, not-to-miss events and up-and-coming hot spots around the world. Ed has visited six continents and over 75 countries as an out gay traveler. He’s also written for all the leading LGBTQ travel publications and is the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs’ LGBTQ travel expert, so bring your travel questions!

Meet Ed Salvato at the Boston Globe Travel Show Sat Feb 10





Meet us at the LGBTQ Travel Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show, Jan 27-28. Free Tickets Here

23 01 2018

ManAboutWorld at the LGBTQ Travel Pavilion at the New York Times Travel ShowMingle with 10 LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly travel businesses at the LGBTQ Travel Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show this weekend, January 25-26. Get FREE tickets here with code LGBTQ. You’ll meet the ManAboutWorld team (pictured above) along with the following awesome businesses all of which offer tours, cruises and experiences tailored by and for LGBTQ travelers.

LGBTQ Travel Pavilion

All are welcome at The New York Times Travel Show first-ever LGBTQ travel pavilion! Learn about hot destinations and events as well as tours, cruises and experiences the world over — from right here in New York City to the farthest corners of all seven continents and on the high seas — for gay, lesbian, transgender and queer travelers and their straight friends and family. At the LGBTQ travel pavilion, proudly organized by Ed Salvato, editor in chief of gay travel magazine ManAboutWorld, you’ll meet a wide range of L.G.B.T.Q. travel experts, including:

Ask questions. Gather information. Book travel.

Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you are welcome here. Find travel information tailored for you and those you love.

Meet LGBTQ Travel Expert Ed Salvato 1P.M. EST on Saturday, January 27

  • Topic: “L.G.B.T.Q. Travel: Tours, Cruises, Events and Destinations for 2018”
  • Saturday, January 27, 2018 from 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM
  • Location: Booth #933
  • Meet the Experts complete schedule
Facebook Live Sunday, January 28 at 1 P.M. EST

If you can’t join us at the LGBTQ Travel Pavilion tune into our Facebook Live Q&A Sunday, January 28 at 1 P.M. EST. Meet the travel experts at the booth and ask your travel questions!

Follow the Rainbow

Find us under the rainbow in booth numbers 120, 122, 124 and 126.





Crossing the Equator on the Radiance of The Seas with John & Gavin

7 11 2017

ManAboutWorld correspondents John Walker and Gavin Patterson are constantly crisscrossing the globe to update our readers on gay-friendly travel opportunities all over the world … on land and on sea, including a recent experience crossing the equator. They recently sailed on the Radiance of the Seas. Here are a few of their highlights from their experience. You can read more of their adventures on their blog, GayMenOnHoliday.com.

Crossing the equator in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

King Neptune summons the crew who need to be punished when crossing the Equator.

Evening Sail Out, Sydney Harbour
There are few better sights in the world than an evening sail out from Sydney Harbour on a luxury cruise liner with the brilliantly lit sails of the Opera House as a cruise curtain raiser. The shimmering waters of the harbour reflected a million dazzling lights of Australia’s biggest city adding to the spectacle of this fairytale farewell.

Sydney Harbor in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Spectacular views of Sydney Opera House on sailout

Marlborough Wineries, New Zealand
Close to Picton, the Marlborough region is a rich, fertile landscape dotted with over 100 wineries producing premium Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay varietals. World famous Cloudy Bay is the best known winery but we enjoyed the clear, crisp selections from Spy Valley and a smoky, dry Riesling from Framingham Wines. Delicious!

Marlborough wine region in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The crisp, classic tastes of the Marlborough wine region, New Zealand

A Mystery Dinner At Sea
During days at sea there’s sometimes a murder mystery to be solved at dinnertime. The scene is set with multiple villains, screaming slapstick and a gunshot. Guests piece together the clues while enjoying gourmet food and wine pairing. Of course it is the wife, but the whole experience is a tantalising specialty theatre restaurant on the high seas.

Radiance of the Seas performers in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Hilarious and delicious Mystery Dinner Theatre at sea

Tahiti
The jewel of all the destinations included stops in Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora. We were greeted at every port with crystal, fluorescent waters, succulent seafood lunches, wide, beaming smiles and exotic, island culture with a French twist. This charming Polynesian cocktail is worth sipping slowly but unfortunately our ship had to sail.

Crossing The Equator
Crossing the Equator by ship means rituals are performed. King Neptune and his entourage held court on the pool deck pardoning lowly ship hands for dastardly deeds to ensure a safe passage into the northern hemisphere. Punishment was a spectacular shower of raw eggs, flour and spaghetti sauce followed by kissing the dead fish.

Download ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine here.





Basque Country Foodie Road Trip by Paul Bachant

18 04 2017

Basque Country Foodie road trip by Paul BachantA Basque country foodie road trip is not the first think people think of when planning a trip to Spain. This autonomous region in the north of Spain contains a dramatic scenery of rugged coastlines, interior mountains and rolling vineyards, with strong culinary and cultural traditions existing alongside avant-garde art and architecture, all of which is well-worth a visit. 

But let’s get right to heart of the matter: the food. We’ve sampled tapas, or pintxos as they are called here, in many parts of Spain, but nothing compares to what you find in Basque Country. The attention to eating well is part of the culture, from the simplest of snack bars to the more formal restaurants. It is said that the revolution in Spanish cuisine witnessed over the past few decades originated here and then spread to the rest of the country and beyond.

So if you don’t like great food and wine, then the essence of Basque Country will escape you. If you doPaul Bachant, ManAboutWorld gay travel correspondent, then dive in with us! Story and photos by Paul Bachant.

DAY 1 – BILBAO TO VITORIA-GASTEIZ

After landing in Bilbao, we immediately noticed that we were in what is called the “Green Belt” of Spain. As the car whisked us to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the regional capital just one hour away, we were welcomed by the lushness of the green, forested hills. And while the rest of Spain was baking, we enjoyed the mild temperatures and a refreshing breeze.

Our first lunch in Vitoria-Gasteiz was at the intimate Taberna Tximiso where we were treated to an exquisite assembly of pintxos, each one more toothsome than the last, washed down with a crisp, local white wine. The owner explained each one with passion and even treated us to an off-menu item. The bill? A mere 23 euros for two. The evening meal consisted of a sampling of the many pintxo bars lining the streets of the medieval quarter, where the strolling and chatting and eating and drinking crowds contributed to a festive atmosphere. Read the rest of this entry »








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