Balabanova All Over

Monthly Archives: May 2013

[San Francisco, CA] It is hard to believe it is our last day in SF! How quickly it all went by, yet how long ago some of our experiences seem! It feels as if my graduation was ages ago! We still had a lot to see, so we got started just after breakfast. Our first stop were the famous Painted Ladies – a row of Victorian houses in different colors just by… Read More


San Francisco, CA We didn’t get too many attractions in today, but the ones we did see were quintessential San Francisco – Alcatraz and Coit Tower. We started our day with a tour of the infamous former federal prison just off the shore of the city. The boat ride there took 10 minutes at most. As soon a we got off, we saw an Alcatraz sign that had “Indians welcome” written on… Read More

[San Francisco, CA] The castle winery that captured our imagination the day before did not disappoint. It was a bona-fide 13th century Tuscan castle complete with drawbridges, towers and a moat! 14 years in the making, it was a dream come true from a 4-th generation wine maker from the Sattui family, whose original vineyard we visited the day before. We toured the lovely courtyard, passed by a gigantic dining room with… Read More

[Napa, CA] Our destination for today was the famous winemaking region of Napa valley. Those of you who watched Sex and the City back in the day also know that Napa is where Mr. Big moved to. An exasperated Carrie, trying to understand how her big-shot on-and-off lover could have gotten tired of living in New York City, exclaimed, “Well, when you’re tired, you take a napa, you don’t move to Napa!”… Read More

[Yosemite National Park, CA] We entered the park from a different entrance today, from the West at Highway 140. Immediately we were greeted by massive granite rocks towering above us. Weaving through the valley, we passed several of the falls Yosemite is famous for – the 620-ft Bridalveil Fall and the 2500-ft Yosemite Falls, 5th highest in the world. On the agenda today was a tour to Glacier Point via bus. The… Read More

[Yosemite National Park, CA] Today was mostly driving. We left LA early in the morning so that we can get to Yosemite in time to do one of their shortest tours – the 75-minute tour of the largest grove of sequoias in the park, Mariposa Grove. The grove contains several hundred mature sequoias, but some of the most distinct ones have been named and are part of the tour. Our first stop… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA] After a few super long days sightseeing and graduating and sightseeing again, it was finally time to take it easy – the California way. I was super excited to wake up to see the sun, which meant that the marine layer that usually covers the coastline in May and June, had either burnt off or hadn’t even made an appearance. The sunny weather was an integral part of the… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA] What a wonderful day yesterday was! I got to see most of my closest people all in one place – that happens so rarely that, at one point, I was just about in full blown tears! It all started very early with Commencement breakfast at school. It was nice to be there early and have some time to catch my breadth – I had been playing tour guide from… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA] This morning, we had the perfect excuse to succumb to American consumerism – American Airlines managed to lose my mom’s suitcase on a non-stop domestic flight from Chicago to Las Vegas, so we had to go get her some basics.So where do we go? Old Navy! Odd choice, I know! But mom remembered it from her last visit to US ten years ago, and she was not disappointed! I… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA] My parents have only spent one full day in LA, and they already are amazed by how huge this city is, and how different it is from all the other US cities they have already visited. We started off our day at Manhattan Beach Pier. I tried to give my parents the initial lay of the land, pointing out Santa Monica, which was barely visible through the haze to… Read More