Balabanova All Over

Monthly Archives: December 2012

[Istanbul, Turkey] What a better way to send off 2012 than exploring Istanbul all day? Our first stop for the day was Topkapi Palace, which served as the imperial residence for the Ottoman household for 380 years. It was built in the 15th century by Mehmed II and was abandoned in the 19th century, when the family relocated to the Dolmabahce palace, across the Galata bridge but still on the European side… Read More


[Istanbul, Turkey] Once Chris and I decided on Turkey as our NYE destination, it seemed as if somehow everyone we knew or met accidentally had been to Istanbul, or knew someone who’d lived there, or knew a lot about it from somewhere. I couldn’t wait to see this city that Bulgaria’s history is so intimately intertwined with, and that holds the charms and perils of many centuries of turbulent and violent history…. Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get my old high school classmates together the last few times I’ve been home, and this time was no exception. With the majority of us living abroad, mostly in Germany, the opportunity to see each other is very rare anyway. On this occasion, I picked a restaurant called Manastirska Magernitsa (meaning a monastery/church kitchen). It’s decorated in a traditional Bulgarian style and,… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] Today I spent the day in Sofia mall hanging out with my friend Ina and her daughter Monika. The new shiny mall was the new way to shop. On the way back I strolled Vitosha boulevard, a pedestrian street lined with shops – the old way to shop.

[Sofia, Bulgaria] With my late arrival and running errands with my parents for a couple of days, it wasn’t until today that I got to finally venture out more and start visiting with all my friends. My first visit with my friend Slavy, whom I’ve known since 1998. Since I last saw her, she got married and had twins. I went to her house in the early afternoon and although we thought… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] After running errands with my parents for most of the day I finally got to visit my brother in the late afternoon! Last time I visited in 2009, I met his girlfriend Yulia and my niece Zariya, who was only 15 months old at the time. Zari is now almost 5 and has a little brother, Sami, who is 3 and whom Yulia was pregnant with last time I was… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] I woke up this morning to see the rooftops of the neighboring buildings dusted with snow! I couldn’t wait to get outside and see what had changes since I’d last been here in 2009. After a quick breakfast of banitza – a traditional Bulgarian food prepared with filo dough, feta cheese and eggs – mom and I left the house to run some errands. First, I had to go file… Read More

[Paris, France] When I booked my flights to go back to Bulgaria for the holidays, the little voice in my head did keep telling me that my one-hour layover in Paris was too short. Even if everything went smoothly and flights were on time, I would have had to make a run for it. In the end, I had to run only from my arrival gate to the transfer desk at Charles… Read More