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Balabanova All Over

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[Santa Fe, NM, Aug 31, 2018] Our trip to New Mexico over Labor Day weekend was inspired by B. He’s always wanted to see it thanks to the 1994 movie Speechless. If you haven’t heard about if before, don’t worry – I hadn’t either before B introduced me to it. The movie is about two speech writers, played by Geena Davis and Michael Keaton, who work for opposing candidates for the governorship… Read More

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[Kalabaka, Greece, Sept 20, 2017] Mom and I saw four of the six Meteora monasteries yesterday. Today, we headed for the other two. We took dad with us, as one of the monasteries involved no stairs. The monastery of St. Stephen was first on the list. It was built in the 16th century. It was bombed by the Nazis in WWII because they believed rebels were hiding there. In 1961, the monastery… Read More

[Sedona, AZ] Our Saturday morning, we got up early to take a pink jeep tour of the red rocks around Sedona. We got a combo tour, so that meant we were going to spend about 3 hours driving around. Thankfully, these custom jeeps came with blankets, as it was a chilly morning! We stopped multiple times for photo ops, and the interesting rock formations around us seemed to be never ending! The… Read More

[Berlin, Germany] In typical Nadya fashion, I spent the ENTIRE day walking around Berlin, save for a short break around dinner. I racked up 30,000 steps on my step counter, I went into four museums and I watched on amazing sunset from the dome of the Reichstag, to sum it up. I started my day with a coffee at the coffee spot just across from my AirBnB. I sat outisde and people… Read More

[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

[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

[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

[Rome, Italy] Besides going to Galleria Borghese, I had no grand plans for today. There were many other things I wanted to see but I wasn’t sure how much energy or enthusiasm I’d have, nor where the day would take me after the gallery, so I played it by ear and it couldn’t have turned out any better! For a planner like myself, it was nice to have a less structured day…. 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