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Balabanova All Over

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f[Schwerin, Germany] Hamburg presented an interesting challenge – one could day-trip very easily to Bremen, Luebeck or Schwerin from here. Bremen and Luebeck, both being Hanseatic towns, were tempting because their town centres are both on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Hanseatic towns were part of the Hanseatic league, a confederation of merchant guilds that dominated Baltic maritime trade in the middle ages. Schwerin, however, was interesting because it boasted a… Read More

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[Bratislava, Slovakia] Today’s detour took us into Slavic territory. Just 60 km (37 miles) away from Vienna is the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. This city of 430,000 (of which 60,000 are students) is going through a post-communist era revival that holds the potential for making it the next up-and-coming European capital.

[Salzburg, Austria] Today’s adventure entailed another day trip – this time to Salzburg, Austria. The fourth-largest city in Austria, with a population of 150,000, is famous as the birthplace of Mozart, one of the largest music festivals in Europe and one of the continent’s largest intact medieval fortresses. Its city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I made the 2.5-hour trip by train. I’m still amazed and how convenient, fast, clean… Read More

[London, United Kingdom] I woke up on Sunday fully expecting the cooler, cloudy, misty weather that had been forecast for that day. Instead, I saw rays of sunshine peeking through the blinds. I was very excited – that meant warmer temps, and awesome photos of London from the London Eye, which I planned on riding that day. Before that though, I had a few other London must-sees on my list. I started… Read More

[Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria] The river Yantra begins high up on the slopes of the Balkans, and winds its way down to the Danube. On the way, Yantra carves up gorges around the hills of present-day Veliko Tarnovo where the medieval Bulgarian Khans decided to build the stronghold of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Named Tsarevets, after one of the three hills in the area, the stronghold became the most important political, economic, religious… Read More