Berlin, Germany By Bike

9 06 2017

Berlin bike tour by Dennis HensleyOne of my favorite ways to get to know a new city is to take a bike tour. You get a lay of the land, are able to cross off some major tourist attractions of your to-do list and are able to justify any and all tasty treats you eat before, during and after, because hey, you’ve been pedaling all day. On a gorgeous spring day in late March, I took the 3 and a half hour, 15-kilometer “Berlin’s Best Bike Tour,” one of several tours offered by the company Berlin on Bike. Annd I’m so glad I did. Story and photo by ManAboutWorld correspondent Dennis Hensley.

The bike tour set off from the Kulturbrauerei, a charming complex of red brick buildings that during the Industrial Era was home to a beer factory but now houses restaurants, beer gardens and theaters. The sites we saw and learned about on the tour included a preserved section of the Berlin Wall complete with watchtower, the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, the Spree River, Tiergarten Park, the Victory Column, the hauntingly powerful Holocaust Memorial and the oh-so posh Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson dangled his baby Blanket out the window. Along the way, we took a rest stop at a currywurst stand where I sampled Berlin’s most popular street foods, the currywurst, and a bottle of Club Mate, a trendy cold tea-like drink that packs quite punch.

The facts our guide Sebastian Becker shared about the city were fascinating and surprising, like that Chancellor Angela Merkel just lives in a regular apartment with neighbors above and below her, not a fancy government building. But what really made the tour special were the personal stories he shared. When he was a child, Sebastian’s parents were taking the family into the GDR (communist East Germany) to visit relatives, which you were allowed to do on special occasions and they snuck in a Monopoly game as a gift. When they got to the checkpoint, the GDR guards searched their car and found the game. Not only was it confiscated, but Sebastian’s parents had to be interrogated and body searched for hours in a private office while the children waited outside. I guess when you consider how Monopoly is all about American-style capitalism, it’s so surprise the GDR authorities didn’t want their citizens exposed to it. But you can bet the enjoyed playing it themselves.

The tour I took costs 21 Euros, 17 with the tourism board’s Welcome Card, which I highly recommend as it allows you to take public transportation and has many discounts for museums and so forth.

After the tour, Sebastian agreed to let me interview him for my Dennis Anyone podcast over lunch at a nearby sidewalk café, Pane e Vino, where you can get a delicious pizza or pasta dish for under 4 Euros.

You can listen to the podcast here. Dennis, Anyone in Berlin

 





Listen to Some Really Good Gay Travel Storytelling with Dennis Hensley and Ed Salvato

24 02 2017

Ed Salvato on Dennis Hensley's podcast, Dennis Anyone?

Here’s what one listener said after my recent interview with Dennis Hensley on his podcast, Dennis Anyone?

I booked a gay cruise (Atlantis) last week and knew I made the right decision after hearing you on the podcast. You were so good on Dennis’ show, so upbeat and positive, and such and good storyteller. 

— Robert 

Check it out here and let me know what you think. Dennis Anyone? Podcast





Dennis Hensley’s Los Angeles

11 01 2016
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The times I most often find myself thinking, ‘This could only happen in LA,’ are the special film screenings that happen all year-round all over town. I’ve seen Flashdance in the company of Jennifer Beals; Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta; Singing in the Rain with Debbie Reynolds; and earlier this year, Showgirls with Nomi Malone herself. That’s right, kids; freaking Elizabeth Berkley was in the house — well, the cemetery — and touchingly thanked the gay community for embracing the movie when the rest of the world turned against it. What a moment! It was like my Stonewall.

A well-traveled friend of mine once remarked, “Truly great cities don’t have to constantly tell you how great they are.” That observation comes to mind when I think about Los Angeles, the city I’ve called home for the last 29 years. L.A. is fine if you show up thinking we’re all about shallowness and smog and silicone because then we get to blow you away with our ever-evolving array of sights, smells, tastes, sounds and yes, guy candy.

Dennis Hensley is a writer and host of the podcast Dennis Anyone? with Dennis Hensley, available on iTunes and at

Dennis Hensley writers about Los Angeles in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

http://www.dennisanyone.net. He’s also a ManAboutWorld global correspondent. This piece was originally published in the December 2016 issue ofManAboutWorld.

Brunch: Hedley’s
Though this intimate charmer is right in the heart of West Hollywood, it’s rarely crowded, the food is delicious (I alternate between the salmon scramble and the breakfast quesadilla) and the star-spotting ain’t bad either. There are only like 10 tables in the whole place, and there’s usually a famous face like Drew Barrymore, Jason Gould or Greg Berlanti at one of them.

Cocktails: Casita Del Campo
Delicious Mexican food, strong drinks and a sexy Silver Lake crowd make Casita Del Campo my pick for the spot tourists don’t know and locals love. After dinner, venture downstairs to the Cavern Club Theater, where irreverent gay favorites like Jackie Beat, Nadya Ginsburg, the Nellie Olesons and Chico’s Angels have been delighting crowds since the ‘90s.

Workout: GROOV3
For me, this deejay-accompanied, hip-hop workout is a cross between a dance party and church because I always leave sweaty, spent and totally uplifted. Whether you’re an experienced dancer or a beginner, you’ll feel right at home thanks to the no-attitude crowd and infectious spirit of GROOV3 founder Benjamin Allen whose motto is Dance Sweat Live.

Outdoors: Runyon Canyon
For a challenging hike and breathtaking photo ops of the Hollywood sign, downtown and on a clear day, the ocean, it’s hard to beat Runyon Canyon. It’s right in the middle of the city but you feel like you’re in the boonies and the shirtless hottie parade will have you repeatedly asking the time-honored L.A. question, ‘Is that dude a gay guy, soap star or both?’

Hidden gem: NOHO Arts District 
I’m thrilled to report that North Hollywood, my neighborhood since 1989, has gone from ‘How can you live there?’ to ‘How fabulous!’ in the last few years. Casual coffee hangouts like Tea Pop and the Republic of Pie have popped up alongside hip eateries like the barrel-shaped Idle Hour, which was restored to its 1940’s splendor earlier this year after decades of disrepair and endangerment.

Hotel: The Redbury  
Conveniently located near the Pantages Theater and the Red Line subway, this 57-room, Boho-styled boutique hotel houses my favorite restaurant in the city, the Middle-Eastern shared-plate paradise Cleo (order the brussels sprouts and thank me later). The Redbury also happens to be where they shot several scenes for the award-winning 2012 gay film “I Do.” (See photo below.)

The Redbury in Los Angeles

The Redbury





Dennis Hensley: Harboring Secrets in Long Beach

20 10 2014

darkharborOur correspondent Dennis Hensley is back with another hilarious story, this time chronicling his adventures getting lost inside a maze aboard a creepy old boat.

As amusement park Halloween scare-fests go, Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, has something that its competitors don’t: one really old, seriously creepy boat.  Two of the attraction’s new-this-year mazes actually happen on the famed luxury and the historic and by all accounts haunted atmosphere just adds to the frightful fun.

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What Happens When You Mix Tiramisu and Grindr…

22 09 2014

pompi

ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent Dennis Hensley experienced a classic Rome dessert spot and a classic American hook-up app in the same day. Take it away, Dennis… Read the rest of this entry »





Biking In Budapest … with a Twist

18 09 2014

budapest

Our correspondent Dennis Hensley let us in on this amazing little bike tour in Budapest:

Want to get to know Budapest and burn off last night’s goulash at the same time? Then check out the 4.5-hour Wheels & Meals Bike Tour from Budapest Bike Breeze tours. As Euro capitals go, Budapest is very bike-friendly and the route on this tour is just challenging enough to keep you on your toes, without feeling like you’re in a video game trying not to get killed. There’s one major hill to climb but when you get to the top, you’re rewarded with spectacular views and a phallic-shaped fountain to quench your thirst. Along the way, you’ll learn lots of fun facts about the city, like why Hungarian students rub a horse’s balls every spring and what is the significance of the shoes left along the Danube. A tasty outdoor Hungarian lunch is also included in the 22 Euro fee but what really made our tour special was the guide, a beautiful brown-eyed spitfire named Suzie. Her pride in her city, coupled with a wicked sense of humor made every tale she spun sound like an episode of Scandal. We were on the edge of our bicycle seats.

We recently covered Budapest in May 2014. Click here to subscribe and receive ALL of our coverage, past and present, full of insider tips for the best destinations on Earth!





Saints Alive! The Friendliest Gay Bar in Prague

12 07 2014


SaintsPaulDennis
ManAboutWorld Correspondent Dennis Hensley (above right) was in Prague during a sweep through Central Europe. He stopped in at the Saints Bar and discovered the “Cheers” of the Czech Republic. If you’re heading here for their raucous politically charged and fun Gay Pride (August 11-17), be sure to have some devilish fun at Saints.

When Paul Coggles opened up the Saints Bar in Prague in 2005, he didn’t spent a lot of time thinking about where the TVs were going to go … because there weren’t going to be TVs. “I deliberately set out to make Saints a talking bar,” stresses Coggles who moved to Prague from his native England seventeen years ago. “TVs distract you from any conversation you might be having and I wanted a place where people could come and make new friends and meet the friends they already have.”

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