Although it seems like a long shot, last week The Boston Globe reported JetBlue asked the US Department of Transportation to reject a request by Alaska Airlines to give them until January to begin their flights between L.A. and Havana, and instead award JetBlue a Boston – Havana route in its place.
Sergio and I were fortunate enough to visit Havana, and I hope Boston soon gets one of the coveted routes so more people from the area can visit Cuba. If you missed my previous posts you can read all about that amazing trip and see the crazy, cool photos of the cars, architecture, food and of course the people.
Post 1: An American in Havana
Post 2: An American in Havana: The Cuban people
Post 3: An American in Havana: The architecture
Post 4: An American in Havana: Old Havana
Post 5: An American in Havana: The food
Post 6: An American in Havana: The cars
Sergio and I just returned from spending a weekend in New York City. We had a great time seeing friends, paying respect to others (at the 9/11 Memorial) and strolling around some of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan.
The photo above is of me at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery which is located on West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue just under the High Line Park. The exhibit featured the Brazilian street artists and twin brothers known as Osgemeos (The Geminis). Bostonians may remember them from their amazing temporary public art display in Dewey Square in 2012, which was 7-stories tall by nearly 80 feet wide. Below are photos from our time wandering around.
A former colleague of mine works at a cool tech company in Cambridge called hopper has an app called GTFO – Get The Flight Out, that helps travelers book last minute trips leaving the same day or first thing the next morning.
Although I’ve yet to use the app the interface seems easy to use. I’m curious if anyone has already downloaded the app or has used it.
Want to check it out for yourself? Download here: GTFO.
PORTO: Sergio and I were lucky to meet a native in Porto who showed us around his hometown and pointed us to two gay bars which we enjoyed getting visiting. The first gay bar, Conceição, is located not far from where we had dinner at Flow on Rua da Conceição. I would describe the place as a dive bar but it has a friendly crowd, the bartenders pour great drinks and it gets busy a bit earlier than the larger gay club, Lusitano (shown above), that was mostly empty when we arrived at 11:30PM, but started to fill up after Midnight.
LISBON: Lisbon is a much larger city than Porto and has many more options with most located in Bairro Alto and neighboring Principe Real. A pamphlet called “Lisbon Gay Circuit” is available at many clubs and show fifty different destinations that include clubs, saunas, food, services and accommodations.
Lisbon also has a wonderful all male guest house called The Late Birds that we stayed at and which I would encourage gay travelers to consider.
Upon arriving, the staff encourage you to download their own app called “The Late Birds Lisbon” (shown above), which makes getting around the city very easy. I’m amazed that larger hotel chains have not done this already, but that forward thinking, concierge-like service really defined the experience we enjoyed while staying there. Below are a few photos of our room and the property.If you have any questions about gay life in Portugal or would like to know more about The Late Birds, feel free to reach out to me. I’m happy to provide more details about places to check out when you visit.
If you have the opportunity to visit Libson, it makes sense to take a few day trips if time permits and after a lot of discussion Sergio and I spent time visiting Cascais and Sintra. The two locations could not be more different but both were easily accessible by the Lisbon metro (30-40 minute rides) that cost about 5 €.
Praia da Rainha – Cascais, Portugal
Cascais is a coastal town about 20 miles west of Lisbon that became a favorite destination of Portugal’s royal family in the late 1800s but is now an affluent suburb of Lisbon that is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and tourists. We spent our time walking through the small town and along the running / bike paths that hug the coastline and extend out from the town.
Sintra is another beautiful day trip from Lisbon probably best known for its many 19th-century romantic architectural monuments. We spent a day here when the temperature in Lisbon was close to 100°. Fortunately Sintra’s microclimate meant that we enjoyed a breeze and temperatures in the low to mid 80s, which was important because visiting Sintra = a leg workout.
After clearing customs in Lisbon we immediately flew up to Porto, Portugal which is an easy 45-minute flight north. We were lucky enough to befriend a local who was returning home and waiting for the same flight. His warm hospitality was an unexpected welcome to Portugal and he proved to be a wonderful tour guide for his hometown of Porto.
I had initially hesitated at the thought of visiting Porto, thinking it would be smarter to stay based in Lisbon and use the extra time to explore the capital or take more day trips, but I’m really glad I was persuaded to make the trip.
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city but it is easy to navigate and see in just a couple days. In addition to being incredibly picturesque, the city had a great vibe with some delicious restaurants like Flow and perhaps our favorite place was the outdoor bar, Base, which is located in Praca dos Clérigos also referred to as the Jardim das Oliveiras – Garden of Olives (shown in photograph below).