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Balabanova All Over

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[Athens, Greece, May 20, 2019] After our marathon through Athens and its outskirts yesterday, we were looking forward to a less busy day. The only things on our agenda were a visit to the National Archaeological Museum and returning the rental car we used to go see the sunset at Cape Sounion. The National Archaeological Museum houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from… Read More

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[Sounion, Greece, May 19, 2019] After spending more than half the day touring the ancient sites of Athens, we went back to our AirBnB to relax. This was much needed downtime before our evening adventure. In the late afternoon, we picked up our rental car from a small Hertz rental office just a 5-minute walk from our AirBnB. Our destination was about an hour and a half south of Athens. We were… Read More

[Athens, Greece, May 19 ,2019] We began our first full day in Athens with a visit to its most famous landmark, the Acropolis. We knew it would get busy, so we figured we’d avoid the crowds by getting there at 8 am, when it opened. Even though we were staying in the center of Athens, the neighborhood looked like a ghost town on our walk to the Acropolis! Even though the Acropolis… Read More

[Santorini / Athens, Greece, May 18, 2019] Our flight back to Athens wasn’t until late afternoon, which left us with some time to explore the other parts of Santorini. There is so much to this island other than Oia and its gorgeous sunsets! First, though, we made the most of our stay at Aqua luxury suites. We enjoyed our breakfast and took one last dip in the hot tub before we said… Read More

[Santorini, Greece, May 16-17, 2019] There are over 6000 islands and islets in Greece, of which only 227 are inhabited. The Greek islands account for almost half of the country’s 16,000 km/10,000 miles of coastline. They are split into six groups based on their georgaphic location. Offbeat Greece has a great guide to the different groups. The most popular group is by far the Cyclades, which includes Mykonos and Santorini, as well… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, May 15-16, 2019] The weather, which had been getting worse even since I got here, deteriorated even further the next day. It’s a good thing B and I already saw some of the major sights in the city. For this second day in Sofia, I decided to focus more on museums to avoid the rain in the forecast. Temperatures were also cooler, so I had to borrow a thicker jacket… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, May 13-14, 2019] I spent the next few days showing my hometown to B, who arrived in Sofia three days after me. It was his first trip to Europe since 1992, so he was little anxious about the long flight. But everything went smoothly and he popped out of customs smiling and ready to spend the next 2 weeks on the Balkans. I had a whole day free before his… Read More

[Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 12, 2019] In 1985, the Greek minister of culture Melina Mercouri came up with the idea of designating an annual capital of culture to bring Europeans closer together and to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures. Athens, Greece, served as the inaugural European Capital of Culture that year. More than 40 cities have held the designation since. Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, earned the designation… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, May 10/11 2019] This first half of the year has been such a whirlwind of trips! I’ve already been to Death Valley, Ohio/Michigan and Napa Valley! But the crown jewel this year is clearly going to be my 2.5 week trip to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, in large part with my boyfriend. We had been making plans for him to come see my hometown and meet my parents in May…. Read More

[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