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Balabanova All Over

Monthly Archives: September 2015

[Vienna, Austria] I had murky memories of Vienna from a high school trip in 1995. It was late December, and the city was decorated to the nines for the holidays. I remember the Christmas market in front of city hall; the main cathedral, Stephansdom; Schönbrunn with its gardens; and an evening outing on the metro during which I’m amazed we didn’t get lost – we were only 15, after all, and this… Read More

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[Venice, Italy] Built 1500 years ago as an escape from the barbarians after Rome fell, Venice became a medieval powerhouse when clever middlemen turned it into a trading empire between East and West. Venice was a uniquely diverse city at the time, welcoming every race and religion, as long as they carried cash. The discovery of the Americas and new trade routes spelled trouble for Venice, but as the city declined, it became… Read More

[Pisa, Italy] I remember seeing pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I was growing up, and thought it’d be so fascinating to see this leaning building up close. Today, I got my wish. Pisa is an easy 75-minute train ride away from Florence. The only hard part for me was finding my train, which was not clearly marked! I ran around a bit and got really vague directions from train… Read More

[Monterosso, Italy] Today’s entry will be very short – I’ll let the views do all the talking. The Cinque Terre (meaning the Five Lands) is a remote section of the Italian Riviera. There isn’t a museum or a Vespa in sight – just sunshine, sea, beach (pebbles, not sand, but still) and wine. The five villages comprising the Cinque Terre are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso Al Mare. They are all… Read More

[Florence, Italy] Today was my last full day in Florence –  I am staying here through Tuesday of next week, but I am taking side trips for the rest of my stay here. I checked out the last few attractions I had not been to but I also did a couple of things today that were distinctly Florentine – and those were much more enjoyable; may I even say, divine. I first… Read More