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Travel queeries: ask us anything about travel.

q. I'm 63, and my partner's 64. We're fit, active, and don't like to sit in our hotel room at night. Are there any European destinations with gay life open to sexy seniors like us?

Frank X. Colletti, Providence, R.I.

a. You bet! In fact, Europeans are generally much more advanced in this regard. Madrid beckons with bars, cafes, and bathhouses that cater to older guys; and in any Munich kneipe (traditional German bar) you'll see men of all ages lifting a stein. The very best? Amsterdam's vast array of bars and clubs includes many catering to mature men; you could easily spend several engaging evenings exploring these. But if nightlife's your niche, we recommend saying non to Paris, where youth culture reigns supreme.

q. I'm a city slicker, but my girlfriend's a cowpoke. Are separate vacations (sigh) in our future, or is there a destination that can fit us both?

Deenah Solomon, Washington, D.C.

a. Go west, young woman! Denver is diverse enough to satisfy even the most urbane tastes while also offering outdoor treats galore. GayRockyMountains.com is a super site that will clue you in to local goings-on; if you're a rough rider, mosey on over to www.igra.com, where the International Gay Rodeo Association (yes! it exists) tells all. Extra added bonus: Denver lets gay and lesbian couples register as domestic partners. Happy trails!

q. I've been to Copenhagen, and now I want to see more of Scandinavia. But I only have the time and money to visit one city right now. Which has the best gay scene?

Patrick O'Shea, San Francisco

a. For funn, the Finns rule. They've really put the hell back into Helsinki--especially in the red-hot gay scene. Our laves: DTM for hot younguns (www.dtm.fi) and Hercules (www.herculesgayclub.com) for an all-ages dance palace. How wired is Finland? Consider this: Both Con Hombres, a bodacious backroom bar (www.conhombres.fi/hombres.html), and Vogue, the country's only gay sauna (www.conhombres.fi/vogue.html), have their own Web sites.

q. Are there any lesbian bars In Kinshasa, In the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Jodie McPharland, Albuquerque, N.M.

a. Sorry to say, no, but there are lots of women who look like the basketball star Lisa Leslie, if that's any consolation.

q. I'm planning a major trip before I start my new Job, but I'm confused. When the AIDS epidemic first hit, there were lots of reports about countries that barred people with HIV from even visiting. What's the status now?

D. R. P., Tallahassee, Fla.

a. Many countries have relaxed their policies regarding visitors with HIV or AIDS, but it's still a case-by-case affair. We recommend you visit www.aegis.com/topics/travel.html and www.travel.state.gov/foreignentryreqs.html; the latter lets you check entry news for virtually every country on the globe. And for future reference, most of the feature stories in The Out Traveler will include information in the Ratings Box about HIV care. In the meantime, we wish you happy travels and excellent health.

q. My "best friend with benefits" and I are planning a major mad trip when we graduate this December. Call me a scaredycat, bat the recent news about conservative legislators wanting to reinstate sodomy laws gives me the heebie-jeebies. Are there certain American states we'd be best to avoid?

Josh Triccoli, Independence, Mo.

a. We make it our general rule to avoid all states in which marrying your sister is legal but performing fellatio is not. Seriously, dude: We're not yet living in a police state, so no single place is off-limits per se. But do remember that Slug Hollow, Ark., is not West Hollywood or Chelsea; strongly resisting the urge to ape Barbra or Cher at a truck stop might not be a bad idea. Otherwise, Woody Guthrie had it right: "This land is your land."

q. I'm psyched for my upcoming junior-year semester in New York City. But I live in--and go to college In--a small town in Oregon and am used to the great outdoors. Where can I go for some peace and quiet In the Big Apple?

Aaron B.

a. Start with Central Park, all 843 acres of it. Perhaps the quietest spot in it is also the gayest, the "Rambles," a densely forested patch as famous for bird-watching as for, well, just be careful. As for tamer locales, we suggest you go to the garden at St. Luke's in the Village, perhaps the most gay-friendly congregation in town; the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (open May to October) where you can see the city glowing all around you; and a pocket park on East 51st Street (between Second and Third avenues) with a roaring waterfall that sends visitors into a Zen-like trance.

q. I finally saved enough money to visit Mykonos, but now I have cold feet. My friend told me about high winds called meltemis that can cause ferries and flights to and from Mykonos to be canceled. I'm on a strict budget, so how can I prevent getting stranded and having to buy a new ticket home?

Lee Caputo, Jackson Heights, N.Y.

a. Good question, and we've got the answer. Have the Port Authority stamp your airline or ferry ticket or provide other written proof that you couldn't get off Mykonos. That way, you won't be charged for the flight from Athens to home.

q. Some people might call me shallow. When it comes to restaurants, I don't necessarily need a gay scene, but what I am after is the trendiest, hottest, most fashionista place in town. What's your top pick for Dublin, Ireland?

Leslie Terrell, Coral Gables, Fla.

a. Be an angel and visit Halo in the Morrison Hotel at Ormond Quai. It's Dublin's sexiest spot. Fabulous fusion cooking and au courant decor make this the place to be.

q. Leather is my life, and I plan to take my gear along on a trip to Palm Springs. is there anywhere to stay where I'll feel comfortable?

Joseph Anlauf, Cleveland

a. At the Chaps Inn (760-327-8222), you can have design (mid-century cool) and decadence in one clean, centrally located place.
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Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Sep 30, 2003
Words:1036
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