Category Archives: Paul Bachant

By @ 04/13/17 in Gay travel, Paul Bachant, Spain

Basque Country Foodie Road Trip by gay travel magazine ManAboutWorld's 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.Paul Bachant explored Basque Country for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazin

Day 2 – Vitoria-Gasteiz

We spent the second day casually exploring the medieval quarter alternatively known as the “Casco Viejo” or the “Almendra”, almond in Spanish and a reference to the shape of the streets that radiate from the center. The tour of the Santa Maria Cathedral is a must-do while here. The church has been under restoration for many years since nearly collapsing and the tour takes you on a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the work being done.

Dinner was at El Portalon: the food here is more traditional and relatively pricey, but the setting of this 15th century inn is mesmerizing and well worth a visit.

Paul Bachant explored Basque Country for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazin

Day 3 – Vitoria-Gasteiz To Rioja Alava

After a quick breakfast, we hopped into the car and hit the road to our next stop in the Rioja Alava wine region. As we climbed the mountain range that separates the region from the rest of Basque country the forest grew thicker and the clouds heavier. But just after going through the Herrera Pass things changed dramatically. The clouds and fog dispersed and before us was a landscape more typical of Spain: rolling hills the color of honey punctuated by green bursts of scrub trees. It took about an hour to arrive at our destination, the small village of Villabuena de Alava. There is not much to see or do here; the purpose of our visit was a stay at the Hotel Viura. The hotel is tucked into the hillside at the bottom of the village and is a strikingly modern juxtaposition to the surroundings. It is one of many examples in the area of contemporary architecture, most notably seen in the hotels and wineries, some designed by internationally renowned “starchitects” (more on that later).Paul Bachant explored Basque Country for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazin

For lunch, we headed to the mountain top village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (a lengthy name in dramatic Spanish flair) just over the border in Rioja proper and only 10 minutes away. Casa Toni is on an unassuming street at the end of the village, not a place where you would expect to find some of the most inventive cooking of the region. Soon after ordering we were presented with an amuse bouche of goat cheese and truffle between thin pastry crust, accompanied by beet sorbet presented in a lipstick tube. Amusing and delicious. And delicious and original were the appetizer – sardines with mackerel roe, garlic ice cream and olive oil – and the main dish, shredded pigeon with mushrooms, thyme and hazelnut vinegar.

More Spain on ManAboutWorld

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By @ 09/30/16 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Bachant, Thailand, Travel

Paul Bachant, ManAboutWorld gay Thailand travel expert

This is a great time to book a trip to gay Thailand. You can make your own arrangements easily enough but you’d be surprised at how many opportunities you may miss out on. And who doesn’t want their travel dollar to go further? The best Thailand travel booking agents will find you great deals and also get you perks and upgrades.

Book your next trip to Thailand with ManAboutWorld-recommended travel booking expert Paul Bachant, who offers special deals and authentic experiences for the Land of Smiles. (The image above is from our Thailand guide.)

Use your miles to get to Thailand

ManAboutWorld published this ‘points whisperer’-style piece recently packed with tips for how to use your frequent flyer miles (on Delta, American, United and other airlines as well as via Starwood, American Express and other loyalty affiliations) to fly in unbelievable comfort (think apartments and suites in the air!), Start planning your (nearly) free getaway to Thailand.

Paul Bachant

Paul, pictured above, founded and runs Insider Voyagers, a gay-owned travel agency.

More Thailand

ManAboutWorld published a free guide to Thailand available via their app (on App Store or in Google Play) or via this PDF.

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By @ 05/13/16 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Bachant, Travel
Amsterdam in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Amsterdam

ManAboutWorld global correspondent Paul Bachant (below) visited Amsterdam, exploring beyond the Netherlands’ most visited city to bring you these easy-to-get-to but off-the-radar Amsterdam day trips.

If you are in Amsterdam and want to take a deeper dive into Dutch culture, a day trip is the perfect way to see more of the delights that Holland has to offer. There are a variety of destinations less than two hours away by train or car. We recently ventured out for a self-guided tour of the surrounding countryside where we saw windmills, quaint villages, tulip gardens and eclectic museums. This is the Holland of everyone’s imagination.

The first stop on our journey was Zaanse Schans, located just 30 minutes north of the city. The region of Zaandam was an important industrial center during the 18th and 19th centuries which led to the construction of the iconic windmills that dot the landscape. The well-preserved warehouses and workshops recall another era. You can easily get there by train from Amsterdam Central Station and a convenient ferry service runs during the summer.

Amsterdam in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Moving on and ready for lunch, we headed further north to the charming village of De Rijp. Here, colorful cottages line languid canals, which are crossed by wooden drawbridges traditional to the area. The village boasts several brick buildings from the Golden Age, a towering church with famous stained-glass windows, plus some great restaurants and shops.

Next, we headed south to the Keukenhof Gardens, where for a few weeks in the spring you can ogle the ornate flower beds in their multi-hued splendor. Surrounding the structured gardens are the vast fields of vivid tulips for which Holland is so famous. Don’t be alarmed by the overwhelming crowds at the entrance. Once inside you will be able to stroll along pathways and soak in the beauty in relative peace.

Amsterdam in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

If you are not here during flower season, a stop in Haarlem is an excellent alternative to Keuekenhof. Aside from the historic center, this beautiful city has two fascinating museums worth visiting: the Frans Hals Museum which houses the works of one of the greatest painters of the Golden Age and the Teylers Museum, one of the oldest in Europe, which showcases art, natural history and science in its collection of books, scientific instruments, drawings, painting and fossils. Haarlem is only 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.

For more information about Amsterdam day trips and dozens of other must-go gay-popular destinations around the world, download ManAboutWorld for your iPhone, iPad or Android device.

Paul Bachant, Amsterdam in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Paul Bachant

Paul Bachant founded Insider Voyages to share his passion and expertise with those on a journey of discovery. Connect with Paul on Facebook, Instagram or at www.insidervoyages.com. He also took the three Amsterdam photos above.

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