Balabanova All Over

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[Brussels, Belgium, Dec 19, 2019] Visiting the European Parliament and the area around Grand Place took up most of my morning. I decided to spend the second half of the day in the upper part of town following a 90-minute walk described in my guidebook. It started at Royal Place, a square just a 15-minute walk uphill from the Maneken Pis statue, where I had ended my lower town sightseeing. I had… Read More

[Brussels, Belgium, Dec 19, 2019] Armed with Rick Steves’ Belgium guidebook, I left my hotel shortly after 8 am. It was still dark – sunrise wasn’t until 8:43 am. I stopped for a coffee at the cafe right next to my hotel and headed for the European Parliament on the east side of the city, about 25 minutes away from the city center by bus. The European Union as you know it… Read More

[Portland, OR, Jul 6, 2019] On the last day of my trip, I finally had a chance to hang out in Portland proper. First order of the day was a visit to an ex-coworker of mine who moved here in 2015. Her house is perched up on a hill next to Pittock mansion, so after catching up with her, I headed there. The Pittock Mansion was built in 1914 by the Pittock… Read More

[Istanbul, Turkey, May 25, 2019] And just like that, it was the last day of our trip! It’s always hard to believe when that day comes. Time seems to fly by while at the same time my normal every-day life seems so far away! It rained again overnight but we decided to leave the umbrellas at home – it was a pain to carry them around all day yesterday, and the weather… Read More

[Istanbul, Turkey, May 23, 2019] Ahhh, Istanbul! This magical city, which straddles Europe and Asia, has gone through many transformative changes in its history. Founded under the name of Byzantion around 660 BC, the city grew in size and influence. Roman Emperor Constantine, having just converted to Christianity, made it the new capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD and began its transformation as a major Christian center. A thousand years… Read More