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Balabanova All Over

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[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

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[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

[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

[Detroit, MI, Apr 17, 2019] My conference ended on Wednesday, but I was staying through Thursday. This year, I finally got on the board of HEDW, the all-volunteer board that organizes the conference. The first of their two board meetings of the year is held on the day after the conference. This left me with a free half-day on Wednesday. I planned on exploring Detroit, and I was super happy that my… Read More

[Ann Arbor, MI, Apr 15/16, 2019] Luckily, the evenings provided opportunities to get out of our hotel and explore of Ann Arbor. Spending a few days at a conference hotel can bring on cabin fever pretty quickly for me, so I relish these opportunities! Monday nights of this conference are typically reserved for the networking dinners. The conference organizers make reservations at a half-dozen or so restaurants in the area and provide… Read More

[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

[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