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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 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

[Ojo Caliente / Abiquiu / Taos, Sep 1, 2018] We got up early the next day to travel about an hour to Ojo Caliente, where we’d made arrangements to tour the Ra Paulette cave at the Origin resort. This was a very unique experience I have to thank B for finding and arranging. I wasn’t familiar with Ra Paulette, but this 39-minute documentary describes his work pretty well. He started hand-carving caves… Read More

[Olympic National Park, July 17, 2018] The Olympic peninsula is on the Western edge of Washington state, across Puget sound from Seattle. Its home to the northwestern most point in the United States, Cape Flattery. At about 3600 square miles, the peninsula remained largely unmapped until the late 19th century. The Olympic mountain range sits in the center. It blocks the passage of rain-producing systems and casts a dry “shadow” in the… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 26, 2017] If you read the previous blog post, you already know that this was our second attempt at getting to Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the most remote ones in the US. Unlike last year though, we headed straight for the keys. Without a detour to Miami and the lack traffic this early in the morning (we left Boynton at 5:30 am), we hit the upper keys… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 27, 2016] Even though our trip to the Dry Tortugas in 2016 got cancelled, we still did a day trip to Key West. B knew how much I’d looked forward to the trip and he felt bad that it fell apart. He suggested that we get up early one day, explore Miami and its environs and, if we still felt like it, head to Key West and come back… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA / Boynton Beach, FL, Dec 22-24, 2017] Last year’s holiday trip to Florida did not start as planned. We were supposed to take a red-eye on Dec 21 and make a beeline for Key West and Dry Tortugas National Park before returning to the Palm Beach area on Dec 23, in time to spend the Christmas holidays with family. Unfortunately, our flight was one of over 200 canceled (many… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Sun, Nov 26, 2017] I think I speak for all three of us when I say that we did not want to leave Phantom Ranch. I could have easily spent a week here hiking around and relaxing. Alas, we had an 11 mile trek back up to the top, so we had an early breakfast (5:30 am!!!), then packed our bags and headed out at dawn. We took… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Nov 23, 2017] Laura and I arrived at Olivia’s house bright and early today, Thanksgiving day. We briefly compared pack sizes. Olivia is using the smallest pack  (18-liter) and Laura and I are both wondering how she managed to get everything she needs in there. Laura is bringing her 28-liter Gregory pack weighing about 13 lbs before water, and I’m bringing my 34-liter Osprey pack weighing in at… Read More