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Balabanova All Over

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[Pisa, Italy] I remember seeing pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I was growing up, and thought it’d be so fascinating to see this leaning building up close. Today, I got my wish. Pisa is an easy 75-minute train ride away from Florence. The only hard part for me was finding my train, which was not clearly marked! I ran around a bit and got really vague directions from train… Read More

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[Monterosso, Italy] Today’s entry will be very short – I’ll let the views do all the talking. The Cinque Terre (meaning the Five Lands) is a remote section of the Italian Riviera. There isn’t a museum or a Vespa in sight – just sunshine, sea, beach (pebbles, not sand, but still) and wine. The five villages comprising the Cinque Terre are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso Al Mare. They are all… Read More

[Florence, Italy] I fit in a lot more than I thought I would today, even by my standards, and that says a lot! I am looking forward to a more relaxing Friday in Firenze ahead of a couple of side trips Sarah and I are taking this weekend. At 8:30 am, I left the house and stopped in for a coffee at a place just a couple of corners away called Caffe… Read More

[Florence, Italy] Today is not my day to┬áride on┬ábuses. I got on the wrong one going from my AirBnB in Rome to the train station – luckily I realized it in time. And in Florence, I got on the right bus but missed my stop. Luckily, stops here are close together so neither one of these were too big of a faux pas, but it’s still pretty stressful! I caught the express… Read More

[Rome, Italy] Besides going to Galleria Borghese, I had no grand plans for today. There were many other things I wanted to see but I wasn’t sure how much energy or enthusiasm I’d have, nor where the day would take me after the gallery, so I played it by ear and it couldn’t have turned out any better! For a planner like myself, it was nice to have a less structured day…. Read More

[Vatican City, Italy] No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. If you have only one day in Rome and have to pick between this and the Coliseum/Forum, I’d pick this (although with some planning, they are both doable in one long, exhausting day). To get to the Vatican, I took Bus 64 across the Tiber river. It was about… Read More

[Rome, Italy] Arriving in Rome was a breeze. I set off from LA on an early flight to Washington, DC, where I connected on a direct flight to Rome. I slept for the majority of the second flight and when I landed in Rome at 8:30 in the morning local time, I was ready to go! My Bulgarian passport gave me access to the EU customs line, which is not actually a… Read More