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Balabanova All Over

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[Hamburg, Germany] When we woke up on Saturday, it was pouring rain. Luckily, the rain stopped by midday and the sun was trying to poke out from behind the clouds. On weekends, there are always festivals and markets in Hamburg, so we headed to the city center to check them out. We parked close to city hall and walked over the Hafencity from there. Hafencity (Hafen means port, so this translates into… Read More

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[Hamburg, Germany] Situated on the river Elbe, Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and its own province with 1.5 million people. 2,000 bridges all over the city have earned it the nickname Venice of the North. Hamburg has the biggest number of millionaires per capita and the second largest port in Europe (Rotterdam is the largest). Two devastating fires 100 years apart – one in 1842 and one in 1943 – have… Read More

[Berlin, Germany] I got a hint of Germany’s tumultuous 20th century history yesterday at the German History Museum, but today I got hit in the face with it. I started with Dutch and German painters in the Gemaeldegallerie (“Painting Gallery” in German), but the day turned somber as I visited memorials dedicated to Hitler’s victims and the Berlin Wall. To get to the Gemaeldegallerie, I traveled to Potsdamer Platz. Previously a wasteland… 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 shot just across from my AirBnB. I sat outisde and people… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] I love my hometown in the summer. The weather is warm, the parks are green, and the streets are lined with outdoor cafes. Many people leave the city to go to beach resorts in the Eastern part of the country, along the Black sea, and the city is not as crowded as it normally is. There is nothing better than strolling through the city center, then sitting down for a… Read More

[Toronto, Canada] The 2016 Higher Education Data Warehousing (HEDW) conference was in Rochester, NY, hosted by the University of Rochester. As usual, the conference starts on Sunday evening, so I decided to fly out from LA with the red-eye on Friday in order to explore the surroundings on Saturday and Sunday. Upon landing in Rochester, I rented car and checked into my hotel downtown. Rochester is no bigger than Augusta, GA, where… Read More

[Vienna, Austria] Here it is, before you know it – the last day of my trip! How did this day come so quickly! I am by no means ready to go home yet!!! Honestly, I have so quickly gotten used to the public transport and the amazing food and the architecture and real coffee (espresso) and al fresco dining and castles and high speed trains and such. Alas, I had one more… Read More

[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.

[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

[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