My 7 Wonders of the World, Part I

The origin of the Seven Wonders of the World dates back to antiquity. Initially they comprised only man-made structures. Meanwhile also seven natural phenomena are considered a wonder of the world and a recognised as such internationally.

In addition to the internationally recognised 7 (or 14) Wonders of the World, I think every backpacker or traveller has their own personal seven wonders of the world. Places or / and structures that are either associated with unique memories of a journey or that cause a great wanderlust when they come to mind. Today I am going tell you which personal seven wonders are on my list. In Part I of this blog, I will introduce you to the following three wonders of the world:

Stonewall Inn

Although I’ve never been there – Sorry – StoneWall Inn is on top of my list of my own seven wonders of the world. The reason for this is clearly the Stonewall Riots, which were “instigated” by courageous LGBTs in and around Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. Without this milestone of lesbian and gay movement, we would not have achieved as much in the fight for equal treatment and recognition as we have done so far. The StoneWall Inn is a queer place of worship for me. I’m going to visit it next year – Yeah!

La Tour Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower is closely linked to one of my most beautiful trips. This beautiful work of art always invites you to the city of love. I’ll never forget the day I visited it with my partner. We stayed up there for several hours until sunset. The view in all directions, the wind caressing our noses, the impressive sunset and the swaying of the spire – all lasting impressions for us.

Berlin TV tower

The Berlin TV Tower is completely different to the Eiffel Tower, which is why it is one of my seven wonders of the world. If only because it impressed me by its history. It was built in a record time of only a few years. The highlight of the TV tower for me is the restaurant one floor up from the visitor platform. Not because the food is particularly amazing, no. But because I love to be in the revolving restaurant without having to get up to catch the 360 ​​degree panorama of my city.

In Part II of my blog, I will report why, for example, the Maldives are among my personal wonders of the world.

Steven

Steven has been part of ebab.com since 2013. He is the man for social media and the ebab gay travel blog. As you can see, he also likes to write a blog article himself.

German version: Steven gehört seit 2013 zum Team von ebab.com. Er ist der Mann für Social Media und unseren ebab Gay Travel Blog. Wie ihr seht, schreibt auch er gern einmal einen Blogartikel selbst.

Meine Sieben Weltwunder

Der Ursprung der Sieben Weltwunder reicht bis in die Antike zurück. Anfänglich umfassten sie von Menschen erschaffene architektonische Bauwerke. Mittlerweile gibt es auch sieben Naturerscheinungen, die international als Weltwunder gelten.

Neben den international angesehenen 7 (bzw. 14) Weltwundern, denke ich, hat jeder Backpacker oder Reisefan seine ganz persönlichen sieben Weltwunder: Orte oder/ und Bauwerke, die entweder mit einzigartigen Erinnerungen an eine Reise verbunden sind oder die beim bloßen Gedanken an sie spontan eine großes Fernweh hervorrufen. Heute berichte ich euch, welche persönlichen sieben Weltwunder auf meiner Liste stehen.

Stonewall Inn

Obwohl ich bisher – LEIDER – noch nie dort war, steht das StoneWall Inn an erster Stelle auf der Liste meiner eigenen sieben Weltwunder. Der Grund dafür liegt ganz klar in den Stonewall Riots, die in der Christopher Street im und vor dem Stonewall Inn von mutigen LGBTs “angezettelt” wurden. Ohne diesen Meilenstein der Lesben- und Schwulenbewegung hätten wir im Kampf für Gleichbehandlung und Anerkennung nicht so viel erreicht wie wir bisher schon geschafft haben. Das StoneWall Inn gilt für mich als queere Kultstätte. Im nächsten Jahr werden ich sie endlich besuchen – Yeah!

La Tour Eiffel

Den Eiffelturm verbinde ich mit einer meiner schönsten Reisen. Dieses anmutende Kunstwerk lädt immer wieder ein in die Stadt der Liebe. Den Tag, an dem ich ihn gemeinsam mit meinem Partner besuchte, werde ich nie vergessen. Wir verweilten dort oben mehrere Stunden bis zum Sonnenuntergang. Der Blick in alle Himmelsrichtungen, den Wind um die Nase, das beeindruckende Abendrot und das Schwanken der Turmspitze – alles bleibende Eindrücke für uns.

Berliner Fernsehturm

Der Berliner Fernsehturm ist völlig anders als der Eiffelturm und genau deshalb zählt er auch zu meinen sieben Weltwundern. Schon allein deshalb, weil mich seine Entstehungsgeschichte beeindruckt. Er wurde in einer Rekordzeit von nur wenigen Jahren errichtet. Das Highlight des Fernsehturms ist für mich das Restaurant über der Besucherplattform. Nicht, weil die Speisen besonders gut zubereitet werden, nein. Sondern weil ich es liebe, im Drehrestaurant ohne aufstehen zu müssen das 360-Grad-Panorama meiner Stadt zu betrachten.

Malediven

Auf die Inselgruppe bzw. -kette reiste ich vor einigen Jahren. Ich war überwältigt von dem türkisfarbenen Wasser. Ein derartig “tropisch eingefärbtes” Wasser real zu erleben, flashte mich extrem. Vom Schnorcheln ganz zu schweigen, bei dem ich Bekanntschaft mit einem Baby-Hai schloss. *Wow* Nicht zuletzt zählen die Malediven zu meinen Weltwundern, weil deren Existenz durch den Meerespiegelanstieg bedroht bzw. ungewiss ist.

U-Bahn

Die meisten meiner Reiseziel waren bisher Großstädte. Seit jeher liebe ich es, mich dort mit den Öffis fortzubewegen, da ich währenddessen in das Leben vor Ort eintauche. Am liebsten nutze ich die U-Bahn, falls es in der jeweiligen Stadt eine gibt. Klar, das System U-Bahn ist jetzt kein klassischer Ort oder klassisches Bauwerk. Stattdessen fasziniert mich das U-Bahn-Fahren selbst. Und ohne die Ingenieure von “damals”, welche das U-Bahn-System entwickelten, wäre dieses Erlebnis nicht möglich. Damit gilt für mich das System U-Bahn zu meinen sieben Weltwundern. Ein cooler Titel über die U-Bahn in meiner Stadt Berlin: Oliver Koletzki – U-Bahn.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Ebenso wenig wie ich bisher in NYC im Stonewall Inn war, besuchte ich das MoMa. Allerdings hatte ich das groooooße Glück, wie andere Kunstliebhaber auch, im Jahr 2004 das MoMa in Berlin in der Neuen Nationalgalerie zu besuchen. Meine Wartezeit von knapp vier Stunden nahm ich dafür ohne Weiteres in Kauf. Endlich das Ticket bekommen, verbrachte ich Stunden in der einzigartigen Ausstellung. Ich konnte mein Lieblingswerk – Persistance de la mémoire von Salvador Dalí (1931) – live und im Original betrachten (für Stunden). Ein absoluter Höhepunkt für mich, weswegen das MoMa einen sicheren Platz auf der Liste meiner sieben Weltwunder hat.

Kölner Dom

Obwohl ich Atheist bin, gibt es dennoch einige wenige kirchliche Bauwerke, dessen Anmut auch ich mich nicht entziehen kann: der Kölner Dom ist eines dieser Bauwerke. Nicht nur das Bauwerk an sich, sondern vielmehr die andächtige und erhabene Atmosphäre im Innern, welche von seinen “Mauern” ausgeht, machen ihn für mich so besonders. Besonders zur Geltung kam für mich diese Stimmung zu einer Mitternachtsmesse.

Steven

Steven has been part of ebab.com since 2013. He is the man for social media and the ebab gay travel blog. As you can see, he also likes to write a blog article himself.

German version: Steven gehört seit 2013 zum Team von ebab.com. Er ist der Mann für Social Media und unseren ebab Gay Travel Blog. Wie ihr seht, schreibt auch er gern einmal einen Blogartikel selbst.

Internet and the Gay Rights Movement

Internet has been a boon to mankind in many ways. Its effects on the lives of humans have been, in some cases, revolutionary. It has not only connected the world and brought all information on our fingertips, but it has also been a refuge for many to find like-minded people. This has specially been true for movements and communities which have traditionally been shunned by the larger society.

For the LGBT community, the internet has certainly been a boon in many ways. The pre-internet days, for the LGBT community, meant cruising in parks, bars, toilets, or other joints to meet like-minded people. But this also meant that they could be easy targets for homophobic violence by police or others. There was little safety in meeting the way they did, and many indeed had horrible experiences as well. The best example of it remains the Stonewall Inn, a bar popular among the gay and trans community, but also targeted by the police regularly.

The internet suddenly provided the safe space that people craved for. There was now no need to go anywhere to meet or find other gay/bi/lesbian/trans individuals. There were a number of sites you could just log in and start a conversation with people. You could be in the privacy and safety of your room, and still ‘feel’ connected. What you chose to reveal, depended entirely on your comfort level. There was no fear of being ‘outed’ or being seen visiting a gay bar/club. A young gay kid could gather all the information and (virtual) support needed to come to terms with his/her sexuality.

The early days of internet had yahoo chat rooms and email lists. These also acted as forums for discussions of various kinds, on matters related to LGBT community. But soon, as the internet matured, there were “gay dating sites”. What these sites eventually turned out to be were hook-up sites. Conversations mostly began with “Hi”, followed by “ASL”. Attempts to connect with the person were restricted mostly to knowing the preferences on bed. The sudden access to a large pool of men also meant one was always looking to meet more men. The advent of mobile applications like Grindr have brought about further changes. A simple ‘Hi’ can be greeted by instant blocking. Everything increasingly became more self-centered.

sex positionOn the other hand, for queer organisations, reaching out to the LGBT population became easier. This is especially true for countries where homosexuality is still either criminalised, illegal, or is socially frowned upon, and most people prefer the privacy of the internet. In such countries, internet becomes the primary tool for dispensing information related to LGBT events (parties, film festival, pride march) to a larger queer audience. The advent of social networking sites like Facebook and their widespread use has further helped to mobilise the queer community, hold discussions on various topics, things that the gay dating sites lack. Features like “secret group” have ensured that people can be part of such groups and discussions without others in their network being aware of it, and that only trusted contacts get added to such groups.

Despite all this, what is also true is that the internet has stripped  people of the warmth and closeness, and to some extent, the feeling of a close-knit community. The bars and other spots in the pre-internet days were not just cruising spots, but also a place where “real” relationships and bondings happened. You cared about these people, because you knew them somehow, or would have seen them hanging out at the same place. This also gave a greater sense of community to people. This is also a reason why a police “raid” at Stonewall soon turned into a riot. Is such a Stonewall possible today?

gay hugThose who have experienced the pre-internet days rue about the lack of warmth in internet conversations now. Some still prefer to visit the old spots. Contrast this with the chats you have on Grindr or any other such service. Probably what we need is to complement our online activities with bonding with people over community events in the real world.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”