Gaycation Baltimore

Why John Waters’ zany Baltimore is an overlooked East Coast LGBTI gem

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Ahead of Baltimore Pride this weekend (Saturday 16 – Sunday 17 June 2018) I spoke to some prominent LGBTI figures from the East Coast city to find out why the Maryland seaport needs to be next on your gaycation bucket list.

Often overlooked as a tourist destination, the city that gave the world John Waters – and ‘Hairspray’! – is certainly making up for lost time in the welcoming stakes.  Recently dubbed the ‘Coolest City on the East Coast’ and one of the most exciting food cities by ‘Zagat’, Baltimore has experienced one of the largest millennial booms in the nation. Charm City has certainly been doing just that with the ‘New York Times’ too, having been placed 15 on its ‘52 Places to Go in 2018’ list. So long Rust Belt!

Baltimore Skyline
Baltimore Skyline

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Odessan odyssey

From the world’s largest labyrinth to the world’s the world’s first monument to Darth Vader, Odessa makes for an unusual yet captivating city break.

I know the phrase ‘Paris of the…’ gets bandied around all too often, but Odessa may well be worthy of that statement. It’s like the best bits of Paris, Milan and Istanbul have all been mixed in a Slavic hotpot. Plus, just like Barcelona, it boasts stunning beaches mere minutes from the city centre.

Odessa might not seem like the obvious city break destination, but there is plenty to see and do for a short trip, with countless eateries to suit all taste buds and green spaces that are simply captivating.

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Yo! Tokyo

Bizarre and dignified in equal proportions, Tokyo is an endless city that never fails to surprise at every corner.

Nothing can prepare you for Tokyo. From the moment you step off the plane, you enter a colourful and ultramodern world full of bizarre gadgets and cute cartoonish mascots, but one that is steeped in tradition and precision.

Everything you’ve read about Tokyo is true; from the ultrarealistic plastic models of food outside restaurants enticing in diners, to the futuristic toilets that play sound effects to hide your bodily functions. It’s a bonkers city, but one that’s easy to fall in love with.

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Remembering the Merry Hill Monorail

Celebrating a unique Black Country icon

25 years since it first carried passengers around one of the UK’s largest shopping centres, a new exhibition is celebrating the anniversary of the much-missed Merry Hill Monorail.

I try not to have regrets, but one that I do have is that I never got the chance to ride on the Merry Hill Monorail. Opened in June 1991 and closed in 1996, its UK lifespan ended several years before I moved from Yorkshire to live in the West Midlands.

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