Berlin’s Annual Festivals and Celebrations in 2010

Taking a hot bath in "Soap"

Photo courtesy Berlin Tourism

German’s undivided capital presents an extensive schedule of yearly festivities, highlighted by festivals, parades, and special events. Alongside the annual mainstream events, Berlin’s tourism officials proudly promote festivities for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual visitors. Check out a few highlights here. For more information and to access the entire calendar of events, visit Berlin Tourism Marketing’s homepage.

Long Night of Museums

January 30, 2010 / August 28, 2010

The “Long Night of Museums” has become a favorite among Berliners and tourists alike. Around 100 museums, large and small, featuring established and new collections, open their doors from 6 pm Saturday evening until 2 am Sunday morning. ( ).

The 60th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)

February 2-21, 2010

The annual Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) is not only the city’s largest cultural event, but also one of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar. More than 19,000 film professionals from 120 countries, including 4,000 journalists, are accredited for the Berlin International Film Festival every year. (

Lesbian and Gay Street Festival

June 19/20, 2010

Berlin’s Lesbian and Gay Street Festival has enjoyed growing popularity among gays and lesbians and with the public at large. In 2010, Berlin’s Rainbow Fund will present its seventeenth annual Lesbian and Gay Festival, which is the largest festival of its kind in Europe. Expecting some 35,000 visitors, the festival will again take place around Nollendorf Platz in Schöneberg district, one of Berlin’s traditional gay stomping grounds. ( ).

Christopher Street Day

June 25-27, 2010

Berlin’s Christopher Street Day will celebrate its 32nd anniversary in 2010. The popular event promises to attract hundreds of thousands of people to the German capital to celebrate equality and tolerance for gays and lesbians around the world. LGBT residents and visitors can again expect to see some 50+ floats, and look forward to partying with half a million in the streets between Kurfürstendamm and the Victory Column ( ).

Classic Open Air Berlin Gendarmenmarkt

July 15-20, 2010

Classic Open Air Berlin, held annually al fresco at Gendarmenmarkt, the city’s most beautiful square, features all-time favorites in operetta, opera, classical and contemporary music. (

14th Berlin International Beer Festival

August 6 – 8, 2010

Like Beer? During the 14th annual Berlin International Beer Festival, Karl-Marx-Allee will again turn into the world’s longest beer garden and bar. (

Christmas Fairs and WinterMagic


The Yuletide season offers a wide variety of events and celebrations for visitors and Berliners. Beginning at the end of November, Berlin is home to about 60 Christmas markets, including Germany’s largest fair in Spandau’s Old Town, the historic market at Gendarmenmarkt square, and the nostalgic fair at the Opernpalais Unter den Linden. More information and a calendar of events at ( .

Gay Cruise Companies Raise Money for Earthquake Relief in Haiti

From our friends at Atlantis Events, RSVP Vacations, and Olivia:

With everyone’s eyes on the unimaginable tragedy that took place in Haiti, we’re happy to be able to share a bit of positive news showing the LGBT community reaching out in a very tangible way to help those suffering from the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti.

The owners of gay and lesbian cruise companies Atlantis, Olivia and RSVP Vacations have just announced that they will join forces with others in the community to raise disaster relief funds from their current and past guests. As part of that effort, Atlantis/RSVP has pledged $15,000 in matching contributions and Olivia has pledged an additional $7,500, for a total of $22,500 in matching contributions.

Additionally, an Atlantis cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, which departs from Miami on January 17, will make a scheduled stop in Labadee, on the north coast of Haiti – an area not directly damaged by the quake – on Tuesday, January 19. During the port call, Royal Caribbean will deliver additional supplies, which will be distributed to areas in need within the country.

Anyone who wants to contribute to this dedicated site to collect donations from the LGBT community should visit the website: All the money collected through this appeal will be managed by the American Red Cross.

Marriott Hotels Launches Gay Microsite

Check out You’ll get 20% off weekend stays (Thursday-Sunday) at participating hotels around the world now through Jan 22. (Select resorts in the Caribbean, Latin America and Hawaii are offering up to 40% off. See for details.

According to contact person, Bob Witeck of Witeck-Combs Communications, Marriott today is truly committed to communicate value and a broad welcome to all LGBT travelers at all price points and all locations – but with some special emphasis on specific markets that have most appeal to LGBT travelers including Hawaii but also popular urban destinations like NYC, DC and Philly.   They have earned and maintained a 100% HRC CEI to demonstrate their consistent strong reputation, and finally – they are likely the first major hotel company in the world that will express their welcome and outreach to gay consumers soon in 5 global languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and French).

So, if you have some budget and vacation to burn and are looking for someplace different, check out this promotion.

Ed Answers your Travel Questions on Derek & Romaine

Photo courtesy of Derek and Romaine

Travel editor, writer, and expert Ed Salvato was on Derek & Romaine on Sirius/XM OutQ answering listener questions. Callers threw all sorts of questions on the gay-friendliness of Cozumel, to the beauty and aloha spirit of Hawaii (and the new outreach by Marriott Resorts Hawaii to the gay and lesbian community), to planning a trip to New York for a weekend of theater…and much more.

His interview lasted almost 45 minutes and is available below by clicking on each of the three links below.

Click below to listen to part 1 of 3 of Ed on Sirius OutQ Dec 21, 2009

Click below to listen to part 2 of 3.

Click below to listen to part 3 of 3.

Ed Salvato has over a dozen years of experience in the world of travel, with a special focus on the needs and interests of gay and lesbian travelers.

Hunky President. George Washington Like You’ve Never Seen Him

Image courtesy of NCC.

This image of a handsome, bare-chested George Washington is part of a new exhibit coming to the National Constitution Center (NCC) called, Ancient Rome and America (Februar 10-August 1, 2010).

The statue in the photo is by Horatio Greenough, 1840. It’s paired with a similar, bear-chested, seated image of the Emperor Augustus from the 1st century BCE. I’ll update this post later when that image is available.

Breakfast and Bed with Ed on Sirius/XM

Be sure to listen in to the Derek and Romaine Show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio on OutQ channel 109 Tuesday December 22 from 7pm-8pm ET when I’m a guest of their show. We’ll be talking about holiday travel, new products offered by R Family Vacations, and other exciting news.

I’ll be heading to Park City, UT in January. To mark this upcoming trip, the Canyons Resort is offering Sirius listeners (and anyone else who calls in and mentions it) a very sweet deal indeed.

Here’s the deal in their own words:

  • We’re offering a “Breakfast and Bed with Ed” package, featuring The Canyons’ traditional Bed and Breakfast package AND an additional 15% discount on lift tickets. Offer expires 4-15-10.
  • The details on the traditional Bed and Breakfast package is listed below. Visit for resort information. It’s recommended to call the resort to book this package directly rather than book it online

Bed and Breakfast package
There’s no better way to start a full day on the mountain than with a hearty breakfast. Choose The Canyons Winter Bed & Breakfast Package available at all of our official mountainside lodging properties and you’ll receive two breakfast vouchers each night of your stay that can be used at a number of restaurants throughout the resort. This package is available all season long and prices start at just $98.00* per person per night.

Note: Guest selecting 2-bedroom or larger suites will receive four breakfast vouchers each night of their stay. To book this package, call (866) 604-4171.

Making Waves with Sweet

Story and photos by Aefa Mulholland

Things get raunchy at the pool party on Sweet’s Caribbean cruise to Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan and Cozumel.

Despite a fast approaching hurricane, my friend Maggie and I practically galloped up the gangplank to get on board the very first Sweet Caribbean cruise — the inaugural voyage by eco-conscious, lesbian travel company Sweet. Sailing out of New Orleans with 1,200 women on board, we raced down the Mississippi, our sights set on avoiding Hurricane Ida and making it to Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize and Roatan for sun, sand, tequila… and a slew of groundbreaking voluntourism projects.

Marybeth and Belinda from Phoenix and Maggie from Toronto cavort in New Orleans with actor Jill Bennett (star of Dante’s Cove, And Then Came Lola, and We Have To Stop Now), the night before eco-conscious, lesbian travel company Sweet’s inaugural Caribbean cruise.

Sweet is decidedly different from other cruise companies in that, as well as traditional beach and shopping port calls, there are voluntourism options offered before and during the cruise, from painting and stocking a kids’ library in Belize to planting trees in wetlands outside New Orleans with a Katrina relief organisation. Voluntourism isn’t something that’s taken off in the cruise world, so it’s really interesting that it’s such a major component of a lesbian cruise.

As well as some incredible voluntourism initiatives, including painting and stocking a school library in Belize and cleaning up beaches in Mexico, the 1200-woman cruise had a hot party schedule – from 80s night to a formal party.

It wasn’t all saving the world, one book, tree or beach cleanup at a time, though, the cruise had a fabulous array of parties, events and mixers. We practically had to be dragged off the boat when we docked back in New Orleans one week later.

Aefa with Beth from Boston at the pyjama party the last night on board Sweet’s inaugural cruise, everybody made plans to meet up again on the next Sweet voyage (April 16-21, 2011, Miami to Key West and Belize.)

India: Challenging and Oh, So Rewarding


Story and photos by Ed Salvato

Leave your preconceptions at home. Yes, it’s chaotic and crowded, but India’s also sublimely beautiful, rich in culture and history and rewards all visitors with life changing experiences.

India is a country renowned for its sights, sounds, colors and aromas. It’s also known to be challenging and difficult — a chaotic environment with snarled traffic jams, endless noise, dust and smog, impossibly crowded trains, cows wondering the roads and many more obstacles to an easy vacation.

But these difficulties shouldn’t prevent you from exploring this amazing country, where almost all visitors come away a different, more aware person than when they arrived. It’s worth pausing and considering this phenomenon. How many vacations actually help you become more self aware? How many trips have you taken that challenge or reaffirm your innermost beliefs?

It’s a special place that can accomplish that. India should be a must on your list of dream trips. Here’s one way to discover the best of India in a way that minimizes the stresses of journeying here. First, book your air on Jet Airways, which offers an economical business class option Called Premiere Class, with private sleeping pods at surprisingly low prices. This class of service includes delicious meals (frequently with both Indian and Western-style options) and, when available, an attendant who meets you at the plane door, whisks you through customs and immigration and onto your transfer or awaiting transportation. Jet Airways works with Jet Lite for domestic connections. Jet Lite is incredibly inexpensive.

Economy travelers fear not: Coach class offers amenities that nearly rival business class in other airlines, with seating considered the most comfortable economy class seat in the world. When the back is reclined, the seat moves forward and up to cradle the passenger at a 130 degree recline, and a foot net appears beneath the seat in front to provide support for feet and ankles. Each seat also comes with a nifty Panasonic eX2 entertainment system (with more than 200 movies and many more musical choices) as well as Bose noice-canceling headphones. You’ll appreciate all this since the Brussels to India segment of your trip can be at least nine hours.

Aman Resorts, which boasts three stunning hotel properties in varied locales in India, offers a specially priced deal which is a india3perfect way to discover India in pampered style with all transfers included. Dubbed, Aman India Journey, the special ($3,650 double occupancy through April 30, 2010; $3,840 Oct 1, 2010 through April 30, 2011) includes a minimum of two nights in each of the following properties. Also included is breakfast and transfers between the properties and one activity per stay. And let’s not forget the addictive lemon-scented cold towel compress that meets you at every juncture both cooling and sweetening your stay.

Aman New Delhi is Aman’s newest property. It’s also it’s first true urban hotel and the largest in terms of number of rooms. The india2sleek, modern lines, masculine subdued palette and abundant green spots are a truly welcome oasis of peace in the heart of India’s bustling capital city. Each spacious unit comes with its own butler and a plunge pool. The gym is gigantic and modern and is maintained by fitness trainers who are happy to help you burn off the calories you’ll acquire at the hotel’s fine restaurants.

Top excursion(s):
• Visit the colorful cacophony of Old Delhi
• Marvel at Humayan Tomb, precursor of the majestic Taj Mahal
• Bend your plastic at Khan Market
• Watch elephant polo at Dera AMer in Village Khurad

Amanbagh is one of Aman’s true jewels. Located in a remote valley in Rajasthan surrounded by palm trees and lost-in-time villages and monumental ruins, the property is almost entirely self sufficient with its own water treatment facility, organic garden, restaurant and bakery. It also boasts a 150-foot long pool as its dramatic centerpiece. Surrounding it are the accommodations which are huge and private and elegantly appointed with locally-quarried marble as well as a small but serviceable gym and a spa.

Top excursions:
• Visit the beautifully restored 17th-century Bhangargh abandoned village
• See the cows come home during the ‘cow dust’ tour of local villages
• Day trip to Jaipur, India’s Pink City.

Aman-i-Khas is Aman’s tented resort, also located in the state of Rajasthan but in an even more remote location along side the Ranthambore National Park. This is where you’ll enjoy open-top vehicle safaris in search of India’s elusive tigers and other wildlife by day and luxurious tented accommodations at night.

Top excursion:
• Safari in Ranthambore National Park
• Shoot (with a camera!) a tiger.

Ed in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka was a revelation. So much to do and see. This is a snapshot of the town fishmonger who sells fresh-caught fish to locals from his motor scooter. The local cats love him!


Friend, Phil, on breakwater in Ptown
Friend, Phil, on breakwater in Ptown

Had a fantastic visit to Provincetown, Massachusetts, one of the world’s great gay meccas. This is my friend Phil posing along the breakwater, my favorite place for a morning walk in town.

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