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Balabanova All Over

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[Nis & Pirot, Serbia, Sept 19, 2018] I’ve been adding side trips to my Bulgaria visits since 2014. Since then. I’ve visited London, Hamburg, Berlin, and Greece on the heels of a trip home. This year, I wanted something super close that we could do as a day trip, and the city of Nis in our western neighbor Serbia fit the bill. Serbia is not in the European Union but luckily, I… Read More

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[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sep 16, 2018] I slept like a log for 12 hours straight after the big hike I did yesterday in the Rila mountains. I woke up at 9:30 am, feeling like a new person! After a leisurely morning reading the newspaper and catching up on my blog, mom and I headed out to attend the finals of the rhythmic gymnastics world cup, which Sofia was hosting. Rhythmic gymnastics is one… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sep 13/14, 2018] My trip to Bulgaria this year was somewhat last minute. I was hoping to be able to go in September, but it wasn’t until only 2.5 weeks before my trip that I fixed the dates and booked the tickets. I am used to planning and booking my trips months in advance, so in a way it was nice not to have to spend months in anticipation of… Read More

[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

[Seattle, WA, July 23, 2018] When I get into a good travel rhythm, it seems that I could easily extend my trip to last much longer. I’ve made it with just the clothes I’ve packed this far, I can just keep going, right? When it came time to come home to Los Angeles, I wasn’t ready for our Washington trip to be over at all! Luckily, our flight was not until 2… Read More

[Seattle, WA, July 22, 2018] And there it was, our last full day on this trip! It’s hard to believe we have come full circle in such a short time. We reluctantly left our cabin in the forest and headed to Seattle, WA, also known as the Emerald City.┬áThe term Emerald City came from a contest held by the Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1981. The name was selected in 1982 and… Read More

[Victoria, BC, July 18, 2018] When I realized we can take a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC, I jumped on it. I’d heard great things about Victoria. The major sights were right at the harbor, so we didn’t need to take our rental car – I figured this would give us a nice break from all the driving. Exploring different cities also appeals to the city girl I have always… Read More

[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

[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