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Balabanova All Over

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[Northfield, OH, Apr 12, 2019] I’ve been going to the Higher Education Data Warehousing conference since 2011. It’s an annual conference that typically takes place in April and different universities take turns hosting it. Other than my very first trip, I have always added a few days on the front and/or backend of this conference to sight-see. Thanks to this, I’ve seen Chicago, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Saguaro National Park in Tucson,… Read More

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[Oahu, HI, Dec 30, 2018] On our last full day in Hawaii, we ended up all over the island – from the southeastern shore to the westernmost tip. Our first stop was Hanauma Bay, one of the most popular snorkeling spots on the island. Hanauma Bay was created by a crater explosion along the eastern shore of Oahu. Wave erosion along one of the walls of the crater gradually created the bay…. Read More

[Waikiki, HI, Dec 28/29, 2018] For the next few days, we went into major relaxation mode. On our first day in Waikiki, (Fri, Dec 28), the forecast called for rain most of the day. The morning was cloudy but it hadn’t started raining yet, so B and I decided to do a hike Vanya recommended. Makapu’u Lighthouse trail is one of the most popular on the island. We were a little leery… Read More

[Haleiwa, HI, Dec 26, 2018] My friend’s home in Wahiawa made it easy to explore Hawaii’s North Shore. World famous for its surf breaks and awesome beaches, the North Shore is a must when visiting Oahu. But first, we couldn’t help but fall for the tourist trap that is Dole Plantation. It was less than 10 minutes from Vanya’s house and it welcomes more than 1 million visitors a year, so we… Read More

[NYC, Nov 4, 2018] And just like that, our last day in New York was here! Our flight was in the evening, so we still had a whole day to explore. The New York marathon was that day, and we knew lots of streets in the upper part of Manhattan as well as Central Park would be off limits. I had friends running the marathon but it was unlikely I’d get to… Read More

[NYC, Nov 3, 2018] After an amazing Friday visiting the One World Trade Center and a delicious dinner at Daniel, our Saturday was much more chill. I still didn’t know what B had in store for the evening, but we had the day free and he let me choose what I wanted to do. But first, we had breakfast in the form of left-over cronuts. High on my list was a return… Read More

[LA/NYC, Nov 1/2, 2018] Unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend had been planning a surprise weekend trip to New York City for my birthday since February. I did not find out that our destination was NYC until the morning of my birthday, when he gave me a card featuring the Brooklyn bridge on the front and a boarding pass for a flight to NYC later that night inside! I was so surprised and… Read More

[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

[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

[Taos, NM, Sep 2/3, 2018] After two days exploring around Taos, we finally had time to stay in town. After a great breakfast at our B&B, we headed out to visit two of its major sights. Our first stop was the Rio Grande Gorge bridge, just north of town. The bridge is roughly 600 ft (182 m) above the river and it is a quarter-mile long (388 m). It was built in… Read More